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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Free Five Paragraph Essay Instruction

Many students struggle with writing and find the required steps both confusing and overwhelming. However, learning the "formula" behind an excellent essay can make the process of writing a relative breeze!

Engage Your Students in the Creative Process:
I often help my students to develop metacognitive skills by asking them to create their own graphic organizers or manuals that can guide them through the sequence of steps required to complete an activity.  What's more, when they are apart of the creative process, I find that they are more engaged as well as apt to use and share the resources.

Prezi Makes Learning Fun and Memorable:
Many of our students are masters on computers, and they love to learn about new technologies that can make learning both memorable and fun.  Prezi is an online site that allows anyone to create engaging and dynamic presentations!  They have some wonderful templates, or you can just create your own.  It's easy to learn and whenever I need help, there is a quick and simple video to answer my questions.  Just this week, I've had fun creating some presentations that I have made free to the public.

Here is a link to my Free Five Paragraph Essay on Prezi.  Just click on the image below to view it:

I hope you enjoy it and I would love to hear your thoughts!!
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 Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

10 Ways to Release Worries in the Classroom


With stringent common core demands, burdensome homework, and competition for high test grades, many students spend a lot of time worrying about school performance.  However, many of these children do not know how to manage stress, and it can lead to sleepless nights, panic attacks, temper tantrums, health concerns, a case of learned helplessness, and even clinical levels of anxiety and depression.  So, what can we do to help children manage the academic load while keeping a level head?

Help your Students Understand the Negative Side Effects of Worrying:

1)   Worrying Interferes with Learning and Makes it Hard to Concentrate:  
If students are worrying, they are easily distracted and will likely miss important directions and academic content. Here is a great NY Times article on this: Click Here
2)   Worrying has a Negative Impact on Memory:
Research suggests that stress and worries make it difficult for the brain to access memories.  In fact, prolonged stress can cause an excessive amount of cortisol production in the brain which can even shrink the hippocampus - the memory center of the brain. To learn more about this go to: Click Here
3)   Worrying also Makes us Stressed, Unhappy and Unhealthy: 
Negative emotions can harm the body and lead to illnesses and diseases.  Harvard News and WebMD offers more on this.

Help your Students Manage their Worries:

1)   Integrate Movement into the Classroom:  When your students' attention wanes, offer short kinesthetic brain breaks.  Also, encourage your students to get involved in sports and other physical activities.  Exercise has been shown to reduce stress.  In fact, children that exercise regularly are better able to cope with stress.  Come read more in this NY Times article.  
2)   Manage the Homework Load Across Classes:  Be sure to communicate with other teachers so, each day, homework loads are manageable for your students.
3)   Give your Students “Personal Days” with No Homework: Once a week, offer your students a day with no homework.  Brainstorm with them how they can best use this free time.
4)   Create a Worry Box: Many students are not able to share their worries because they are embarrassed or they are afraid that their fears will be criticized.  If you offer your students a worry box, where they can write down and submit their concerns, it will allow you to address the issues individually or as a class.
5)   Teach Time Management Skills:  Break long assignments into manageable chunks with clear expectations and deadlines.  Also, discuss time management with your students and brainstorm with them ways to prepare for assignments, projects and test in advance.
6)   Offer Short Mindful Meditations: Before tests and other stressful events, offer your students the option of participating in a short mindful meditation.  Here are two free meditations offered on YouTube that focus on stress relief: Meditation 1  Meditation 2.  
7)   Offer an Organized System for Catch-up:  When a student misses a day or more of school, it can be difficult for them to manage the work load when they return.  As a result, create a system where missed content, handouts, class notes and homework can be available on the internet, through email or attainable from a peer or advisor. 
8)   Return Assignments and Tests ASAP:  After your students turn in homework, classwork and completed tests, be sure to return the graded material as soon as possible.  Also, offer them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes by providing comprehensive comments or setting up a one-on-one session with you or support staff.
9)   Provide Extra Credit for Test Corrections:  Encourage your students to learn from their mistakes by offering extra credit or additional points on their test grade for completing comprehensive test corrections.
10) Set an Example:  Students can learn how to let go of their worries if you too exhibit this behavior.  Think aloud and let them hear how you can take a stressful situation and manage your own worries. 

Share the Following Statistics with your Class and Discuss Them:


If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear your thoughts!
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 Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Free, Multisensory, Learning Center Activity: How Many?

Making activities both game-like and multisensory helps to entice and engage young learners. There are simple facts that every student should commit to memory, and integrating color, tactile manipulatives and puzzle-like instructions can take these mundane tasks fabulously fun. 

Free, Multisensory, Learning Center Activity: How Many?

I created this free activity to help my students learn some important facts. Each piece can be printed and laminated, and then students can put the image together and fill in the “blanks” using a dry erase marker with the correct information. The free attachment offers all the materials for you to do this yourself. What’s more, this activity offers a great project or learning center idea that can be used time and time again.

For a free copy of this activity, CLICK HERE.

I would love to hear your thoughts.
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 Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fun Clothespin Orton Gillingham Remediation Ideas and More



Incorporating the fun factor can help to make any difficult lesson enjoyable.  I found these cute, little, painted clothespins on Ebay, and I think it will take my lessons to a whole new level.  I have color coded the vowels and consonants as well as the digraphs. There are so many ways I can use these clothespins to enhance my lessons!

It will enhance my lessons for a number of reasons:
  • Using these cute, colorful, mini clothespins that measure only 1 1/2 inches by 1/2 an inch will surely engage my learners.
  • Opening and closing clothespins also helps to develop fine motor skills.
  • Color-coding the letters can help the children differentiate between vowels and consonants.
  • Color-coding the letters can also help students discriminate between the different types of syllables.  If you look at the image above, the first two words are closed syllables, the third word is an open syllable, and the final word is a silent-e syllable.
  • Placing digraphs on a single clothespin helps the kids to remember that the two letters only make one sound. 
What are some other possibilities?
  • You can store them in color-coded, up-cycled pill containers. 
  • You can also bring in additional colored clothespins to represent diphthongs (vowel combinations) as well as digraphs.
  • You can use large clothespins too.  If you can’t find colored ones, the easiest thing to do would be to make your own.  I have a number of suggestions linked under the next heading.
  • You can also use clothespins with whole numbers and integers to help students understand the sequence of the number line and when adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  
  • You can even use clothespins for grammar.  Students can sort nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs etc. onto the correct clothing hanger.  
Other clothespin ideas found on Pinterest:
  • Other Clothespin Ideas:
        http://www.pinterest.com/pin/156500155774780549/ 
  • Dying Clothespins:
        http://www.pinterest.com/pin/283304632782361405/
  • Painting Clothespins:

I will be getting bigger clothespins too as they are better at accommodating more than one letter.  This way I can also create activities for prefixes, roots and suffixes.

If you have any comments or some other cool ideas to do with clothespins, please share them below.

If you are looking for other ways to make your Orton-Gillinghman or phonics based program fun and enjoyable, you can review all my reading remediation materials 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 Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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