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Offer Visual Reminders to Stay on Task


Study Skills & Tools Universal Design for Learning Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset All Ages Strategy


Working Memory Attention

Offer Visual Reminders to Stay on Task

The soul never thinks without a picture
— Aristotle

Visual aides, pictures and color-coding on instructions or planners provide added reinforcement, especially for students with weaker executive functions.

How To Apply It!

  1. For younger students, provide pictures along with written instructions for multi-step tasks. A visual instruction card that a student can keep at the desk and check off after each step is ideal.
  2. Provide individual cards for a student's desk, including commonly used words, math formulas, or process steps. Don't require the student to scan the wall or the board to find this information. As appropriate, allow students to reference these cards during a test.
  3. Help students use the same reminders at home as in the classroom so using them becomes habit.
  4. Have students use color-coded agendas or checklists by subject so they can easily scan for what they need. When folders or notebooks are used for each subject, have these colors correspond. If blue signals math, the student is more likely to have what is needed when and where it is needed.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Visual or written reminders helps reduce the amount of information they need to remember while they are focusing on analyzing information and solving problems. Knowing they have these visuals to reference as they need them will also help the student work more comfortably and can lessen anxiety that is caused by not being able to remember.