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Thursday, March 27, 2014

7 Great Free Homework Help Sites



The internet offers a growing number of wonderful resources for students, and there are quite a few free websites that can help to make the learning process both fun and memorable.  Here is a list of my favorite resources:

Quizlet:  

Quizlet allows students to browse through and use millions of study materials created by other users, or they can also generate their own.  Once information is entered into a set, students can use this content in many ways.  Electronic flashcards can be viewed or printed or students can also learn the material through questioning activities.  In addition, a variety of games can be generated from the information entered.  Finally, students can create tests in a number of formats and take them online for an immediate score.  Testing options include multiple choice, true and false, and fill-ins.  There are even visuals and a feature that reads information aloud.  Students can save their content, share them with others, and even merge them for midterms or finals.


Instead of placing your questions into Google and other search engines, Wolfram Alpha offers its own engine that computes answers in many subject areas.  The content and resources on this website are growing daily, and it already has a huge collection of knowledge.  Go to Wolfram Alpha and ask a question.  You will be amazed.  It’s fabulous for calculating difficult math problems, and is a great way to check homework.


BookShare

Bookshare is supported by the Department of Education and offers audio books at no cost for school aged students with print-based disabilities.  Others can use it too for a nominal fee.


Shepard Software:   


This website offers hundreds of educational, interactive activities and games to help students learn math, geography, science and more. It's great for all ages.


The Khan Academy  

This is a wonderful not-for-profit organization that provides a free, quality education to students around the globe. They offer an ever growing collection of thousands of videos covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to chemistry, programming, history, SAT prep and more.  They also have a practice/lesson component that is terrific.  This allows students to test their new knowledge, and if they get stuck, the website walks them through the process and even offers the needed video tutorial!  They have built into this site motivational tools such as avatars as well as feedback and progress summaries for parents and teachers.


Prezi:  

If you want to take your presentations to a whole new level, create a Prezi!  Like PowerPoint, you can generate a presentation, but a Prezi offers a different experience.  Present your ideas on a large canvas, and show relationships through scale and placement. 

Google Docs:    
Google Docs is Googles version of a word processing program.   You can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, surveys and more.  In addition, they offer a growing selection of add-on apps that provide templates, bibliography assistance, table of contents help, a thesaurus and more. What makes this extra special is that documents are saved in cyberspace so they can be accessed from any location.  In addition, you can invite others to view or even work on the same document. 

Google accounts are free and they can be accessed from any computer.  Google also offers free email (gmail), an excellent personal calendar (google calendar), and a translator (google translate).  


To learn about some more great resources on the internet that I share with my students, 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 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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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Over 120 of the Best, Free, Online, Educational Games


Many parents and teachers limit computer time as many young learners get addicted to mindless computer games that reinforce all the wrong behaviors such as impulsivity and guessing.  However, there is a huge selection of wonderful educational and cognitive games available to young learners that can both strengthen areas of weakness and also teach difficult concepts. Over the past decade, I have created descriptions and links to some of my favorite games for my students on my Learning to Learn website.  In addition, I have organized them under the following categories: Cognitive Games, General Education Games, Writing and Language Games, Social Studies Games, Science Games, Spelling Games, Reading Games, Digital Story Telling, Math Games, Grammar Games, Typing Games, Social Skills, and Sequencing.  In an effort to "spread the word," I'm providing a link to my page so others can benefit from these beneficial games too.

To view all these games CLICK HERE

If you know of other free games that improve cognition or learning, please leave them in the comments below.  I will be sure to check them out and add them to this growing resource.

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, March 15, 2014

Free Visualization Game: For Improved Reading, Writing, and Memory



Developing your student’s ability to visualize can provide them a “secret weapon” that can enhance learning capacity, improve memory and spark creativity.  In fact, the research shows that visualization improves reading comprehension, creative writing abilities and the encoding and retrieval of math, history and science concepts.

Free Visualization Game:
I recently finished a book that reviews the history and research behind visualization and then provides teachers everything they need to assess and teach this complex skill.  In celebration, I wanted to share one of my favorite games, Picture This and Draw. The best part about this particular game is it not only develops the capacity to visualize, but works on verbal reasoning, expressive language, visual memory, fine motor integration, spatial skills, attention to details, and the ability to follow directions.  This game is one that I enjoy playing with my own students.  In fact, I played it this past week.  

You can also download the game Here

Jenna and I went to opposite sides of the room with two pieces of paper and some colored markers. We each drew images on one piece of paper and then described our pictures in detail on the other piece of paper.  We hid our illustrations and then shared our descriptions with one another.  Our next task was to recreate the images by generating our own visualizations from the words and then drawing it on a blank piece of paper.  Once we finished, we compared the new drawings to the originals and analyzed the results.  

Jenna's image is depicted to the right.  Please note that it is important to keep images very simple.  Below you will find a full description of the game.

Picture This and Draw:

Materials:
·      Paper
·      Colored pencils or magic markers

Group Administration:
·          Draw a simple image, with no more than 3 - 6 very simple elements. 
·          Have one student or the teacher describe the image to the other students verbally or in writing.  Use as many details as possible. 
·          Describe the size, color, number, shape and the location of the objects on the page. 
·          Next, have each student produce a drawing of his or her visualization based on the description presented. 
·          Make sure each student can not see what the other students are drawing. 
·          When all the students have finished, share the drawings with the group and discuss which student’s drawing is closest to the description. 
·          Discuss ways the presenter could have done a better job describing the image. 
·          Review each drawing and discuss what each student could do to improve his or her visualizations. 

Individual Administration:
·           You can also play this game one-on-one.   
·           Begin by going to opposite sides of the room so that each player can not see each other’s work (each player should have a set of colored pencils or magic markers as well as two blank pieces of paper). 
·           On one page, both players should make very simple drawings with no more than 3 - 6 elements, as in Jenna's image pictured above. 
·           Then, on the other page, each player should describe, in words, the image they drew with as much detail as possible. 
·           Next, the players should share with each other the description of the image they drew, while still concealing the drawing. 
·           Each player reads the other player’s description and completes a drawing based upon it. 
·           Finally, the players compare their images and discuss in what ways improvements could be made to the written descriptions, as well as the drawings.

You can also download the game Here

If you would like to learn more about the history of visualization and also access assessment materials and many other fun activities and games that will teach this needed skill, please come check out my new publication Mindful Visualization for Education as well as my two Teaching Visualization PowerPoints.
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, March 8, 2014

Kinesthetic Reading Remediation


Many students struggle with reading and the learning process can become discouraging and difficult.  However, integrating kinesthetics as well as other ways of learning can make the process both enjoyable and memorable.

Mastering the Vocabulary
One common problem is mastering the vocabulary behind reading. Words like syllable, vowel, and consonant are abstract terms for many young learners and without an understanding of and recognition of these distinctions, students build their knowledge on a weak foundation.

How Can You Teach the Terms in a Multisensory Fashion?
The last two weeks, I video-taped a couple sessions with one of my students and then created a short YouTube video.   In these lessons, we tapped into all 12 ways of learning and as you can she, her enthusiasm is contagious.  The process addressed the following modalities:

  1. Visual
  2. Auditory
  3. Tactile
  4. Kinesthetic
  5. Sequential
  6. Simultaneous
  7. Reflective
  8. Verbal
  9. Interactive
  10. Direct Experience
  11. Indirect Experience
  12. Rhythmic/Melodic

Here is a link to our YouTube video or view is below. I hope you enjoy it and also integrate the ideas into your own lessons.


If you like the bouncy chairs, they are called Zenergy Ball Chairs:
Safco Products Zenergy Ball Chair, Black

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, March 1, 2014

Helping Students Plan Long-Term Assignments and Projects

Figuring out how to manage long-term projects and assignments can be a challenge without a sequenced and structured approach, and teaching students how to manage these skills is a key element in the learning process. Planning and time management involve executive functioning, a portion of the brain that continues to develop until around 20 years of age. As a result, when teachers assign long-term assignments or projects, it is important for them to also instruct students on how to plot a strategy and break the task into manageable chunks.

Planning the Overall Approach:

1. Set and Example: Demonstrate how you plan and manage your own time.
2. Brainstorm: When you announce a new long-term assignment, discuss with the students how they might plan their approach and create deadlines.
3. Group Work: Create opportunities for students to plan their approach in small groups.
4. Offer Incentives: Offer extra credit for students that can make a plan and stick to it.

Planning the Details:
1. Encourage students to estimate and discuss the total time they expect to spend on a project or assignment.
2. Break assignments or projects into manageable tasks with clear expectations.
3. Assign each task a goal, a start date, and a deadline date.
4. Ask students to record goals in a planner and/or on a family calendar.
5. Helps students create checklists and encourage them to check off completed tasks.

Pointers:
· Encourage students to schedule the completion of an assignment a few days early just in case they want teacher feedback, time commitments are underestimated or unexpected priorities arise.
· Allow your students to use my Planning Long-Term Assignments Checklist below as a guide throughout the process.


To learn more about teaching executive functioning skills and acquiring other helpful learning tools, consider purchasing Planning TimeManagement and Organization for Success. This publication offers methods and materials that guide, and support students in the areas of learning strategies, time management, planning and organization (executive functioning skills). It includes agendas, questionnaires, checklists, as well as graphic organizers. You will also find advice and handouts for reading, math, memory, motivation, setting priorities and incentives programs. These materials were created over a ten-year period for my private practice. What’s more, the materials accommodate learners of all ages from elementary to college. Finally, I offer a free sample assessment from the publication too, as well as a free video on executive functioning. To Access this 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 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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