How To Move Towards Mastery Of Skills Through Repetition

Most students with disabilities need a high level of repetition in order to achieve mastery on a given skill. The tricky part... fitting it in, not boring your students and how and where to find enough of the same tasks. Here are some tips on how to conquer those tricky parts!

Most students with disabilities need a high level of repetition in order to achieve mastery on a given skill. The tricky part... fitting it in, not boring your students and how and where to find enough of the same tasks. Here are some tips on how to conquer those tricky parts!


Many traditional curriculum don't have the high level of repetition that our students need. We need to find and add in opportunities for our students to practice skills over and over. In my classroom, my students respond best to hands on practice- worksheets don't work well with most of my students.  Things I look for when searching for tasks to build in repetition...

*Hands on- my students are "doing" something

*Non-consumable- I can laminate it and use it year after year to save myself time

*Visually appealing, but not over stimulating

*Not complicated- staff and students easily understand the directions 


Depending on the skill, I also look for something that is leveled. It saves me time if I can easily switch out a level as the student demonstrates progress. Below is an example from our coin unit. Once students are able to match identical coins, we move towards matching by name and eventually to value of the coins. Having the same structure, but upping the difficulty level is perfect for my students. I don't have to take time to teach them how the task works- they can just get right to work. 






Here is another example from one of the life skills units. We practice the vocabulary associated with the life skill concept. These are tasks from our cooking unit.





Once you have your tasks to practice the skill, add the practice tasks into your student's schedule. I try to find at least 3 opportunities for my students to practice. The activities we most often weave the practice into are centers, task boxes and direct instruction.

Another thing to think about when preparing for high repetitions is if you want the practice to be exactly the same every time the student practices or not. For my students on the spectrum, I like to vary the practice so that it is the same skill, but not always the same task. Varying the types of tasks helps them be more flexible in their thinking.

You can see below that all of these tasks practice number concepts, but the way they practice the concept are different.


All of the tasks in the picture above are from our theme units. One of my favorite things about the theme units is that we are able to practice the skills over and over, but the visuals change to keep it interesting for the students.

Here are the resources I use the most to build in high repetitions for my students. Click the pictures for more details...







Most students with disabilities need a high level of repetition in order to achieve mastery on a given skill. The tricky part... fitting it in, not boring your students and how and where to find enough of the same tasks. Here are some tips on how to conquer those tricky parts!


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