01 09 10

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Back to School Checklist for Parents



Getting prepared for the upcoming school year can be a complicated task that involves gathering school supplies, connecting with new teachers and administrators, establishing individual needs, creating house rules and routines, coordinating nutritious meals and snacks, and arranging any needed accommodations. To help with the process, I have created the following checklist:

Stock Up on School Supplies
  • Check the school website or call to inquire about of list of required supplies. 
  • Find out whether students will store supplies at school or bring them home each day. 
  • See if the school will allow you to get an extra copy of all textbooks for use at home. If not, you can usually find used copies on the internet. 

Plan to be Involved
  • Mark school events on the family calendar. 
  • Attend back-to-school meetings. 
  • Schedule and attend parent-teacher conferences. 
  • Find out the best way to communicate with each teacher – phone, email or note. 
  • Find out from each teacher how he or she communicates homework assignments. 
  • If your child has a 504 designation or IEP, be sure to make arrangements to meet with the teacher so that you can review strategies that have worked in the past.
Create a Scheduled Plan and Routine with Clear Expectations
  • Create a study schedule for each student in the house. 
  • Arrange childcare, tutors and after-school activities. 
  • Avoid over-scheduling. All students need free time. 
  • Create a Family Life Schedule by purchasing a dry erase board with a two-month calendar. Schedule major family plans, activities and appointment for each family member in a different color. 
Establish the Rules and Routines
  • Establish a firm bedtime before school starts. 
  • Determine where and when your child will do their homework. 
  • Figure out a plan for balancing homework and free time, 
  • Set firm rules for television, video games, and computer use for non-school related work. 
Plan for Healthy Meals and Snacks
Arrange healthy breakfasts that avoids sugary cereal, syrup, and processed, prepackaged foods and mixes. Consider options like fresh eggs, yogurt with fruit, and gluten free organic bread.
Have plenty of healthy snacks that are free from sweeteners and preservatives. Consider snacks like fresh fruit, cut veggies, nut butter, and dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
Make what I like to call “brain food.” Go to an organic market and select unsweetened, preservative-free nuts, seeds, dried fruit that your child likes and make snack bags. I love to get all my snack food from Tierra Farm.

Call the School and Make Arrangements for Any Needed Accommodations
  • If your child has a 504 or IEP make sure that all accommodations are updated. 
  • Meet with all teachers to assure that they understand the individual needs of your child. 
  • Provide a summary of your child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as their needed accommodations for the teachers. 
  • Arrange for routine communication with all teachers, tutors, and therapists. 
To learn more about teaching executive functioning skills and acquiring other helpful learning materials, consider purchasing Planning Time Management and Organization for Success. This digital download offers methods and handouts that guide and support students in the areas of learning strategies, time management, planning and organization. It includes questionnaires, agendas, checklists, as well as graphic organizers. You will also find handouts and advice for reading, math, memory, setting priorities, motivation and incentives programs. These tools were created over a ten-year period for my private practice, and the materials accommodate learners of all ages from elementary to college. What's more, on the product page, I offer a free sample assessment from the publication too, as well as a free video on executive functioning.
 
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  
Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Are We Grading or Degrading our Students? Let's Shift Paradigms


Over the 15 years that I have worked as a learning specialist and educational therapist, I have never had a student come into my office with a poor test grade and ask me to help them to learn the material that they clearly did not master.  Instead of nurturing a desire to learn, our current paradigm instills a fear of failure.  As a result, when a student receives what they believe to be a poor grade on a test or assignment, they often feel degraded and ashamed.  Oftentimes, these tests and assignments are hidden or thrown away, and learning takes a nosedive.  In fact, when a student does unexpectedly poorly on a test, they are often so mortified that they learn little to nothing the rest of the day.  Instead they tend to internally ruminate and stress about the grade.  Sadly, it is the high test grades that students love to share and celebrate, as students quickly learn that they are rewarded for perfection.

Traditional Grading Only Points Out the Errors:
When teachers limit feedback to pointing out errors on assignments and tests, this can be both demoralizing and discouraging for learners.  Can you imagine working in an environment that only points out errors?  Too much criticism can be discouraging and can cause kids to dislike school and ultimately learning.

Where Does This Leave the Average Student or Struggling Learners?
Average students and struggling learners are often disempowered and frustrated, as they rarely, if ever, get to experience the grades they desire.  As a result, many of these learners can fall prey to a sense of learned helplessness.  Learned helplessness is a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from persistence failure.  They learn to give up quickly as past efforts have failed.  It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression, acting out in school and even juvenile delinquency.

Learning to Embrace Mistakes Builds Resilience:
Conversely, we should thank our students for sharing their misconceptions and mistakes and offer rewards for learning from them.  We should teach them the value of, "giving it another try" and learning from mishaps.  They should know that most of our greatest inventions were the result of repeated mistakes.  In fact, it was reported that Thomas Edison made 1000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When asked about it, Edison allegedly said, "I have not failed 1000 times.  I have successfully discovered 1000 ways NOT to make a light bulb." 

How Can We Shift Paradigms to an Environment that Helps Students Embrace and Celebrate Learning?
  1. Teach students that you love hearing about their mistakes and misconceptions.  You can even offer a locked box where students can safely and anonymously ask questions or request the review or reteaching of a topic.
  2. When students make a mistake, guide them to the correct answer.  Use words like:
    • "You're getting there."  
    • "Almost."  
    • "You're getting warmer."
    • "Give it another try."
  3. Reward students for effort instead of intelligence. As Winston Churchill professed, "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."
  4. Let go of grades and only make comments.  Begin by telling students what they did right, and then point out a few things they can do to improve their abilities.  Try to offer more feedback on what you liked and limit negative feedback, so students do not get overwhelmed.
  5. Allow students to always earn back partial credit for doing assignment and test corrections.
  6. Share your own past mistakes and misconceptions.  
  7. If you don't know an answer to a question, admit it.  Then demonstrate for your students how to find the answer.
  8. When students make a mistake, do not give them the answer.  Instead, guide them to the correct response.  You can even turn it into a game like, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" - where students can ask for one the following lifelines: 50:50 (give them a choice of two options), ask the class (poll the class), or ask a peer.
I hope you found this blog helpful.  If you have some other suggestions, please make a comment below this posting.
 
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  
Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dyslexia: Understanding and Remediating Auditory Processing Skills

Although there are a number of cognitive processing deficits that can cause a diagnosis of dyslexia or a reading disability, challenges with auditory processing tend to be the prevailing cause for many struggling readers.  However, many of the terms used to describe these core problems can be confusing.  In fact, wading through a comprehensive testing report can be overwhelming, because they are packed with complex cognitive and remedial terminology.  In this blog, I hope to unscramble the tangle of terms associated with auditory processing.

What are Some Key Terms One Should Understand?
  1. Auditory Processing:  Auditory processing is the brain's interpretation of the sounds we hear. A difficulty or delay with auditory processing is not an issue with hearing, but with the understanding of what is heard.  It's a complex operation that involves auditory synthesis, auditory closure, auditory sequencing, auditory discrimination, segmenting and auditory memory.  
  2. Auditory Synthesis or Auditory Blending: The ability to pull together individual sounds to form words.
  3. Auditory Closure: The ability to fill in any missing sounds to decode a word.  For example, this may involve understanding what someone with a foreign accent maybe saying when they delete a sound or two in a word.
  4. Auditory Sequencing: The ability to properly order language sounds in words or sentences.  For example, a child may reverse the units of sound so that when they say the word animal it comes out "aminal."
  5. Auditory Discrimination: The ability to recognize differences between sounds.  For example, some students may struggle hearing the difference between the short "e" and "a" sounds.
  6. Segmenting: The ability to break a word into individual sounds or phonemes.
  7. Auditory Memory: The ability to remember what is heard.
  8. Phonological Processing: The ability to detect and discriminate a broad awareness of sounds including rhyming words, alliterations, syllables, blending sounds into words, as well as deleting or substituting sounds.
  9. Phonemes: The tiny units of sound that make up speech - such as the letter sounds.
  10. Phonemic Awareness: The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds - also known as phonemes.  This, for example, includes the ability to detect the first sound, middle sound and end sound in a word.
  11. Phonics: A method of teaching reading by pairing sounds with letters or groups of letters.  It is the process of mapping speech into print.
  12. Receptive Language:  The ability to understand the language that we input, including both words and gestures. 
How Can These Difficulties be Remediated?
  1. Use an Orton-Gillingham, phonics-based reading program that offers activities that strengthen auditory processing.  One of my favorite programs is Nessy Reading and Spelling.  There are many programs available, and our friends at the Dyslexia Reading Well offer a great review of the different programs.
  2. Build core cognitive skills through games and remedial activities.  Here is a great bundle of cognitive exercises at Good Sensory Learning
  3. Integrate fun activities that help students to practice the needed skills.  Check out the Reading Gamesfollowing Directions Activities and other fun reading publications at Good Sensory Learning.
I hope you found this helpful.  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  
Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Good Sensory Learning Offers Affiliate Marketing Commission Opportunity



Dear friends, fans and loyal customers of Good Sensory Learning: 

I'm happy to announce that I now have a new affiliate program that is available to you.  You can earn commissions simply by referring friends or customers to my website.  Each time one of these referrals makes a purchase you will earn a commission.  To start, all affiliates make 15%, but those who send a lot of traffic can be rewarded with greater commissions - up to 30%.

If you would like to learn more about becoming an affiliate CLICK HERE.

In addition, you will notice that I have redesigned my site for an easy navigation and shopping experience.  Please come by Good Sensory Learning and let me know how I can make it even better! 
 
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  
Follow on Bloglovin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...