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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How to do a Successful Video Blog Quickly and Easily

As you probably already know, video is the future of online marketing.  New reports suggest that over 70% of Internet traffic comes from videos.  So, if you want to have a successful business working with students, video is the key to growing your practice.


For all the teachers, tutors, learning specialists and educational therapists that follow my work, I have got something super special for you.   I think you’re going to love it...


People often ask me how I’m able to produce so much content each month.  I run my own private practice, write two blogs a week, post on social media, produce 1 to 4 videos or podcasts a month, create content for Good Sensory Learning produce courses for learning specialists and I maintain four websites.  Over the years, I have learned tricks that have streamlined the process, so that I still have free time to enjoy my life.  


Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite new tools that has not only helped me to grow my audience and business, it has enabled me to cut my production time on videos from about 2 days to about an hour. I have used it to create tutorials for my students, demonstrations for my YouTube channel, videos and podcasts from my blog content, and welcome videos for my websites. Because of this, I now have people contacting me from around the globe for my educational products, courses as well as online sessions. What’s more, the process is fun and super easy to learn! To top it off, it allows me to quickly record my audio, integrate images, and incorporate music.  


I use a special online tool, and I have worked with the company to get you an incredible deal. But first, let me share with you the simple process so you can see for yourself.  First, open the online site and select create new video.
  • Second, come up with a catchy name for the video.
  • Third, select a blog, a part of a publication, or a great email discussion and paste it into the empty block.  
  • Fourth, select the button: "Create Slides for your Video" and the program automatically breaks the text into slides.  
  • Fifth, you can keep the text on the slide, add images from their enormous library or upload your own images.  Sixth, record the slides one at a time into your computer and the program pulls the audio chunks together for you. I love this, because if I make a mistake, I just have to re-record a single slide.
  • Seventh, as an added feature, you can add short video clips recorded on your smart-phone, computer or tablet.
  • If you want a professional look, you can add intros and outros that can be commission on Fiverr for about $10.00-$20.00.  
  • Eighth, select preview and, if needed, you can easily adjust the timing.
  • Ninth, select "Download" - and then "Generate Your Video." Your video is done!  


In fact, I even turned this blog into a YouTube video using this product!  See below:



And now for the exciting part!  The company has agreed to let me share a 50% off deal for my audience. What’s more, you can get a free 7-day trial!   


Here is the link that you can use: http://www.contentsamurai.com/c/EWarren-cs-free-trial   


The video presentation contains images that were used under a Creative Commons License. Click here to see the full list of images and attributions:
https://app.contentsamurai.com/cc/56165

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fractions Lesson, Activities and Free Video

Fractions are often a complicated mathematical concept for many young learners to conceptualize. What’s more, understanding how fractions relate to everyday life can be an added challenge.  In my practice, I continually design and redesign my lessons to be concrete, memorable and fun. I love nothing more than to come up with strategies and materials that really work for struggling learners and I strive to use engaging characters, implement animations, and integrate joyful and amusing activities. I regularly ask my students to provide feedback, so that I can tweak and refine my methods.  


In March of 2017, I finally put my fraction ideas and materials together and created 31 PowerPoint slides as well as a 25-page adjoining document with interactive activities.  I got a number of my students involved in the project, and I must say that I’m quite proud of the finished product.  This new publication is available at Good Sensory Learning and it is titled Fractions are Fun: Animated PP Lesson and PDF Activities.


A Free Video Demonstration:
As a fun promotion, I turned the first half of the Power Presentation into a video for my audience. This provides a comprehensive glimpse of the publication, but I also hope that it will inspire teachers and students to have fun making the characters come alive when the lessons are presented in class.  

I hope you loved the video and my new publication!  I would love to hear your feedback.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/, https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Learning to a Beat Can Improve Student Mood, Attention and Stamina


Having to complete homework after a full day of school is really challenging for some learners. The thought of having to pull out books and get back to work after sitting at a desk for most of the day can be an overwhelming and daunting undertaking.  In fact, many students would rather do just about anything then school work.  So what can we do to help them get through their assignments in a focused and mindful manner?
A Consistent Beat Can Help Improve Mood, Attention and Stamina
Metronomes have been used to enhance abilities in sports and music for decades, and but did you know that for some learners, a consistent beat playing in the background can help to improve mood, attention and stamina?  A metronome is a device that produces an audible beat—a click or other sound—at regular and consistent intervals. While a slow beat can be calming, a fast beat can increase one’s energy level.  The trick is to use a device that allows a student to select their own speed and sound preferences. Downloadable apps are one option, but my favorite choice is a free online site: https://www.8notes.com/metronome/.  This site offers a number of free accents as well as drum beats.  By adjusting the Tempo slider, each student can select the beats per minute.  My personal favorite is called Jazz at 120 beats per minute.

What if Students Find Loops Tedious?
Some students will find a repetitive beat annoying. While many learners enjoy creating their own playlist from their favorite tunes, if lyrics are distracting, they can always listen to upbeat tracks that do not have words.  My favorite online site for this is https://focusmusic.fm/.  They play a constant string of free upbeat electronic compilations.

Although background beats do not serve all learners, I think you will be amazed at how it can help improve the mood, attention and stamina of many struggling students.

Test out the various options and let me know what you think!

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/, https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

How Can I Improve my Executive Functioning?

 free executive functioning image
Executive functioning, or what I like to call the conductor of the brain, is the process of the mind gathering together and making sense of all the information we receive from our instruments or senses.  Helping us to create meaning from what we see, hear, touch, taste and experience, executive functioning also allows us to focus our attention, think about new information, and make connections to what we already know.  

Many teachers and parents have trouble understanding how simple tasks such as remembering appointments, using an agenda or turning in assignments can be difficult, but unfortunately these and other similar tasks can be extremely challenging for some individuals.  However, the good news is the part of the brain that manages executive functioning, which is called the frontal lobe, continues to develop through high school and college.  Therefore, many kids that struggle with executive functioning can significantly improve their abilities.

You Might have Executive Functioning if:
Here are 11 common signs of executive functioning disorder:  
  1. You have trouble maintaining a planner or agenda for recording assignments.
  2.  Free executive functioning image
    You have trouble planning long term projects and often complete them at the last minute.
  3. You often forget papers, notebooks and other materials needed for school or homework.
  4. You have a hard time estimating how long a task or project will take.
  5. You have trouble starting your homework independently.
  6. You are easily distracted.
  7. You have a hard time keeping track of your possessions and often lose important materials.
  8. You have trouble listening to and following multistep directions.
  9. You have trouble transitioning from one task to another.
  10. You have trouble keeping appointments.
  11. You have trouble keeping your bedroom and bookbag organized.

What are Some Common Myths and Truths?

Myth: Kids with executive functioning weaknesses are lazy and unmotivated.
Truth: Most of these kids are motivated and hard-working, but they have trouble maintaining attention and stamina. As a result, these students are often misread and misunderstood.  It is important to realize that weak executive functioning skills are NOT the result of laziness, lack of effort, or carelessness. In fact, criticizing these learners and providing negative feedback and pressure often worsens these difficulties and can trigger feelings of helplessness.  

Myth: ADHD and executive functioning issues are the same.
 free executive functioning image
Truth: Attention is only one small piece of the executive functioning skills that the brain performs.  Therefore, some kids with executive functioning challenges do not have ADHD.  Likewise, there are some kids with ADHD that do not struggle with other areas of executive functioning such as planning, time management and organization. What the research is discovering, however, is that there is a positive correlation between those with ADHD and executive functioning disorder.

Myth:  All kids should be able to learn executive functioning skills.
Truth:  Just like some kids are blind or paralyzed, other kids have learning disabilities that make executive functioning extremely difficult. In fact, some individuals have such a difficult time with executive functioning skills, they require support from technology and people (such as personal assistants or secretaries) throughout their life.

Myth:  Kids can't get school accommodations for executive functioning problems.
Truth:  With proper testing, many of these kids are diagnosed with a learning disability or ADHD.  With a diagnosis, students can get an individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan  that can offer reasonable accommodations.

What Can be Done to Assist These Capable Learners?
1.   Maintain a structured, daily routine.
2.   Teach them how to set priorities.
3.   Generate a consistent homework plan.
4.   Break large assignments into manageable tasks.
5.   Make to-do lists.
6.   Demonstrate time management skills by generating self imposed deadlines.
7.   Teach study skills and test taking strategies.
8.   Provide incentives and positive reinforcement.  
9.   Utilize graphic organizers for planning ideas and writing.
10. Teach metacognitive skills by thinking through thought processes aloud.
11. Be patient and supportive.

Where Can I Get Ready Made Materials and Exercises that Help Develop These Skills?
The Executive Functioning Cognitive Remedial Bundle offers a comprehensive approach to improving a student’s planning, time management and organization abilities.  This bundle offers a discounted suite of downloadable activities, games, and handouts that were designed to help learning specialists, educational therapist and even parents assist students in developing executive functioning skills.  To get a free sampling of activities from one of the publications in the bundle, Click Here  

If you would like a free copy of the images in this blog, CLICK HERE

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/, https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Creating the Ultimate Student Planner: Executive Functioning Success

Why is it that more and more students are struggling with the process of recording, completing, and turning in homework assignments?  It used to be that every teacher had a similar process.  They:
  1. Wrote assignments on the blackboard.
  2. Asked students to record this information into their planner.
  3. Collected the student’s daily assignments.
Now that teachers use varying degrees of technology, it seems like each teacher has different expectations as well as different procedures.  As a result, those students with weak executive functioning skills, often struggle with the homework process. Without a consistent, structured routine, planning, time management, and organization can fall by the wayside. Sadly, many of these students are often mislabeled as careless, lazy and unmotivated and they may struggle to get the grades that they deserve.

Is it the Student's Fault when they Fail to Turn in Assignments?
It’s easy to see that it is not a student’s fault if they are paralyzed and need a wheelchair. It’s also easy to understand that if a child can not see the blackboard, that they may require glasses.  But because executive functioning troubles are “invisible,” those that are good at planning, time management and organization tend to have trouble believing that what is a “no brainer” for them, can be extremely challenging for others.  Furthermore, executive functioning is one of the last cognitive processes to fully develop and often continues to improve throughout the college years. Therefore, when elementary, middle school and even high school teachers expect all of their students to manage the homework process, this can lead to problems.


What Can Be Done to Help Students with Weak Executive Functioning Skills Manage Their Homework?
The first step is to help these students find or create a planner or agenda that they are willing to use.  Although apps can be helpful, I find that parents and teachers often have a better time helping and monitoring with printed options.  


What are Some Helpful Features When Creating or Purchasing an Ideal Planner?
What is most important is to consider each student’s needs.  
  1. If a student has difficulty remembering what materials to take to and from school, you might want to include checklists or symbols that can serve as a reminder when they are packing up their book bag.
  2. If a student has a hard time managing his or her time, you can include a place to record the estimated and actual homework time.  You can also help them to establish a structured daily routine.
  3. If a student forgets important details, you might want to include a place for teacher or parent initials as well as check boxes to indicate assignments are finished and filed into the allocated folder or binder.
  4. If a student has trouble with long-term assignments, he or she should have a way of planning a week or a month at a glance.


What are Some Other Important Features to Consider for an Ideal Planner?
  1. Book bag checklists
  2. Reminder checklists
  3. Prioritizing checklists
  4. To-do lists
  5. Grade trackers
  6. Student and teacher contact sheets
  7. After school planning sheets
  8. Academic or personal goals sheets
  9. Mindful options can provide a place to share:
    1. Daily gratitude
    2. A word of the day
    3. A quote of the day
    4. Reflections
    5. Visualizations


The Ultimate, Mindful and Editable Planner/Agenda for Students with Executive Functioning Weaknesses:
If you would like to quickly create and tailor your own student planners, consider purchasing my 73-page customizable planner/agenda.  This editable publication offers
a large selection of planner formats and documents that can be used by learning specialists, therapists, parents, and students.  This publication helps students to:
  • structure time
  • remember important materials and appointments
  • track grades
  • establish goals
  • reflect on the past
  • establish a weekday and weekend routine
  • collect the needed contacts
  • plan for upcoming events and assignments
  • improve communication between parents and teachers
  • juggle responsibilities.
Because the pages were created in PowerPoint, purchasers can easily create a second copy of the publication and then quickly alter the dates, wording, design, colors, fonts, and images.  The publication offers both color and black and white options.  You will also receive both a PDF (non editable version) and a PowerPoint (editable version).
To learn more CLICK HERE.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/, https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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