Modifying Writing Assignments for Special Ed Students

Instructor: Jennifer Carnevale

Jennifer has a dual master's in English literature/teaching and is currently a high school English teacher. She teaches college classes on the side.

Sometimes students need more help with a writing assignment than meets the eye, especially special education students. In this lesson, we'll learn how modifying writing assignments can ensure success in the classroom.

Writing Assignments & IEPs

Not every student learns in the same way, and that statement is especially true for special education students. While there are many ways to modify writing assignments for them, we have to be sure to follow each student's individualized education program (IEP), which includes legally binding modifications and accommodations.

Modifications may not only include scaffolding assignments and graphic organizers, but also call for fewer sources for a research paper, a lower page count, or customized directions. Check with your student's special education liaison or department head if you have any questions or concerns.

Scaffolding Modifications

No matter how big or small an assignment, it is important to break down academic material so students feel confident that they can complete the objective or task and learn the skill. This technique is called scaffolding. Scaffolding is when you break down a larger assignment into smaller, more manageable parts. These parts can be combined over time to complete the overall objective.

When assigning writing work, scaffolding means setting smaller goals for special education students that will help them pull all of the pieces together. Here are some techniques for breaking down the different parts of writing assignments and helping our special education students succeed.

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