4 More Ways To Use Visual Cues In Your Classroom


Are you looking for more ways to decrease students' dependency on prompting and increase their independence levels? Here are 4 more ways to use visual cues in your classroom to get students to a more independent level.

Here are 4 more ways that you can use visuals in your classroom to increase independence and understanding.



We have been talking about different ways to use visuals for both students and staff. You can read the first post about reducing prompt dependency here and the post on using visual cues with staff here. In the meantime, here are 4 more ways that I use visual cues in my classroom.

Color Coding Visual Cues

Color coding is nothing new in special ed. Many classrooms already color code as an organizational tool, but color coding can also be used for teaching! Here is an example of one of the ways I use color coding as an instructional tool. In this picture you can see that as students build the date they are actually matching the colors of the cards. 

Use color coding as a teaching tool. Here students learn the difference between the parts that make up the date.



This has been a great way to get students to really understand the different parts of the date. We hand the cards that students will put up (the bottom row) to different students. When we hand them out, students have to answer a question about the card. For example, if we were handing out the card with May written on it we might say "What month is it?" or "May is the _____." This has really helps students cue into the different components that go into putting the date together. Read more about our morning meeting routines here and here.


Use Photographs

Many of my students prefer not to make sustained eye contact and have limited social skills. This chart is one of the ways that we work on students recognizing their peers' faces and names. Many of my students also struggle with recognizing themselves correctly in photographs. Frequently, students will label the photos with their name without truly understanding that it is them.

Use photographs to help students cue into their peers' faces and names.

This chart is changed and reviewed daily during morning meeting. Students have to identify their picture when asked a who questions. In general, I am looking for the student in the photograph to answer, but if that student isn't in the room then I ask someone else to answer the question. For example, "Who will out the weather up today?" We want student to be flexible in their understanding of language, so we ask these questions in a variety of ways. 

Steps Of A Sequence

Students can become prompt dependent very easily.... especially with ADL skills that require multiple steps to complete. To help decrease reliance on others for cues, we use picture cues to help students remember the order. 

Visual cues help students decrease their reliance on others when completing ADL sequences.

In the example above, we are trying to get the student to complete all of the steps in the bathroom without opening the door. We added door, desk and chocolate pictures because we want him to finish the sequence by opening the door and going to his desk to get his chocolate. This simple picture sequence has increased his independence in the bathroom by 53%!! WIN!!!!


Sign In To Generalize Writing

This is one of my favorite visuals and it doesn't cost anything! Not only does it help students practice writing and filling out sign in sheets (life skill!), but is also gives the therapists that work in my room a quick run down of who is and isn't here. 


Hanging sign in sheets allow students to practice filling out sign in sheets and writing on vertical surfaces.


We also ask a student to write the name of  a peer who isn't in school that day. This is another opportunity to work on students paying attention to their peers and learning their names. 


What are your favorite ways to use visuals in the classroom? Share in the comments so we can all learn!

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