Students with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) may daydream during lectures, stare out the window, or lose focus. It’s not willful disobedience or boredom. ADHD affects the part of the brain that controls sustained attention, and makes it harder to resist wandering thoughts.

If you have kids with unsteady focus in your class, try these tailored learning tricks to help even the most distractible kids stay on task.

5 “Danger Zones” for Distractible Students (and How Teachers Can Help)

Your child gets lost in classroom discussions. She complains that school is “boring.” Her notes are erratic, and her assignments are riddled with errors.

Use tested accommodations to address these common attention problems.

1. Zones out during lectures

Assign a note-taking buddy to share information and fill in gaps.

Teach students to quickly jot down a distracting thought to “put it to rest,” then get back on track.

Create a private signal – like a tap on the shoulder – that cues a student to stay on task.

2. Fails to see the point of “dull” lessons

Regain students’ wandering attention with a clear verbal reminder like, “One, two, three…eyes on me.”

Play a chord on a keyboard or ring a bell before important points.

Offer an immediate reward – like a sticker on a chart – when your student is engaged.

3. Distracts easily

Seat your student front and center, close to the teacher’s desk and away from distractions.

Allow your student to wear sound proof headphones during independent work or tests.

4. Turns in work with careless mistakes

Schedule 5 minutes to check work at the end of every test and study hall, before handing it in.

Allow students to answer each question in a different colored pen to keep things interesting.

5. Loses focus during long assignments

Encourage students to stand up and get the wiggles out during short, scheduled breaks.

Let students use a silent fidget toy – like a clay ball – during long projects.

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