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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Exposing Teachers to the 12 Ways of Learning




Many teachers are aware of the four basic learning styles: visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic.  But did you know that there are eight more common ways that the brain processes information?  Accommodating these 12 ways of processing is a must these days and offering instruction as well as assignments that honor all these modalities helps to prepare our students for a future of life-long learning success.

Let’s Review the Four Basic Learning Styles:
  1. Visual Learning: incorporates pictures, drawings and even personal visualizations into lessons.  This helps students learn through visual observation.
  2. Auditory Learning: involves learning through listening.  This helps students to learn how to focus on and determine the salient information from what they are hearing.
  3. Tactile Learning: consists of touching or feeling objects or artifacts.  It also involves the encoding of information when taking notes or drawing things out.
  4. Kinesthetic Learning: encompasses learning while moving one’s body.  For many students, movement can help enhance engagement in learning and memory of information.

Now Let’s Cover the Other Eight Ways of Processing:
  1. Sequential Learning: entails teaching students in a step by step format that sequences instruction by time, alphabetical order or a numerical series. This prepares students for outlines, timelines, completing long term assignments and keeping materials organized.
  2. Simultaneous Learning: involves teaching children how to categorize materials by likeness. This prepares students for webbing information, conceptualizing main ideas, understanding flow charts and diagrams as well as keeping materials organized.
  3. Verbal Learning: incorporates teaching children how to process ideas aloud. This helps students participate in class discussions and feel comfortable expressing ideas.
  4. Interactive Learning: consists of teaching children how to work with others. This trains learners to collaborate and work in groups.
  5. Logical/Reflective Learning: encompasses teaching children how to reflect upon or think about what they are learning. This prepares students to work independently and process ideas internally.
  6. Indirect Experience Learning: entails teaching children how to watch and learn from a demonstration. This helps students attend to and glean information from vicarious learning experiences.
  7. Direct Experience Learning: involves teaching children how to use their own environment to learn. This informs students that continuing education is ever present in our everyday environment and that there are fabulous learning experiences available through museums, aquariums, historic sites and other locales.
  8. Rhythmic Melodic Learning: consists of teaching children how to use melodies and rhythm to learn. This provides students the tools to utilize beats and songs or come up with their own creative rhythms or melodies when trying to memorize novel information.

Where Do the 12 Ways of Learning Come From:
The 12 Ways of Learning is based on an extensive literature review on learning styles, cognitive styles, Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and it also considers an information processing model out of school psychology.  You can learn more about this in Dr. Warren’s publication the Eclectic Teaching Approach.

How Can I Possibly Accommodate 12 Different Ways of Learning:
The trick is to weave multiple ways of learning into one lesson or offer assignment options.  For example, a lecture (auditory) can be enhanced with images (visual), discussions (interactive and verbal), written activities (tactile) and so forth.  In addition, assignment options that tap into diverse ways of learning can allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in the most empowering and motivating ways.  


CLICK HERE to view a free Prezi on the 12 ways of learning


CLICK HERE to view a free Youtube on the 12 ways of learning



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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.GoDyslexia.comwww.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tutor, Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist: What's the Difference?





Are you a parent that is trying to get the best support for your child outside of school? Perhaps you are a teacher that wants to consider starting their own private practice. There are a number of professional titles floating out there and understanding the difference between them can be vital in finding the right fit. To help you with the process, this blog defines the commonalities and differences between a tutor, a learning specialist, and an educational therapist.

Tutor: 
A tutor is a teacher who instructs a child outside of school, especially to provide extra support and review concepts with difficult subject matter or classes. They often help with homework completion and may offer some strategies on study skills or time management. A tutor often holds a degree in the subject(s) tutored, and many have an undergraduate degree or higher.

Learning Specialist:
A learning specialist is an educator who is skilled and experienced in providing learning strategies to students who struggle with learning differences. These educators work one-on-one or in small groups to give students intensive support that meets individual needs. Often an expert in a number of subject areas, learning specialists should offer study strategies, memory techniques, metacognitive and focusing methods, and compensatory learning strategies. They should also be versed in assistive technology, creating an intervention plan, defining reasonable accommodations, and assisting students to develop self-advocacy skills. Many learning specialists also offer reading, writing and/or math remediation as well as cognitive remedial training, homework help and direct communication with teachers and other professionals. Learning Specialists should be well educated in learning and cognition as well as alternative learning and multisensory teaching strategies. They should hold a degree in education as well as a master’s degree or doctorate in a field such as educational psychology, special education, neuropsychology, and or school psychology.

Educational Therapist:
An educational therapist offers many of the same learning strategies and individualized educational interventions to a learning specialist, but they are also professionals who combine therapeutic approaches for evaluation, remediation, case management, and communication/advocacy on behalf of children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities or learning difficulties. These professionals should be versed in helping students with any social and emotional challenges surrounding their learning difficulties. An educational therapist should have extensive training and degrees in learning and cognition as well as psychology, school psychology and/or educational psychology. Many educational therapists hold a Master’s degree and doctorate.

Are you a Parent?
If you are looking for a specialist to work with your child after school, or you are a teacher that is curious about the opportunities outside of a school setting, being aware of the roles of a tutor, learning specialist and educational therapist can help you to make an informed decision. If you are seeking a professional for your child or a student, be sure to ask potential tutors, learning specialist or educational therapists about their training, certification, and experience.

Are you a Tutor, Learning Specialist or Educational Therapist?
If you are a learning specialist, educational therapist, or tutor and you would like to join my Learning Specialist VIP list where you can get freebies, announcements and advice CLICK HERE. If you would like to learn more about the courses that are currently available CLICK HERE.
If you are interested in purchasing learning specialist / educational therapist materials, go to: www.goodsensorylearning.com

I hope you found this blog helpful.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vowel Combinations or Vowel Teams Fun Activities and Free Sample


What if you could teach children the vowel combinations or vowel teams by complete fun coloring activities, searches, and mazes? What's more, embedded memory strategies could help to make the concepts sticky. Vowel Combinations or vowel teams are some of the most difficult lessons for young readers to master. My publication, Vowel Combinations Made Easy is a great OG or phonics base addition to your bag of teaching tricks, and now, you can download a free sampling of activities.    
 Click here to get free sample activities that teach this skills.


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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.GoDyslexia.comwww.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Memory Strategy: Hooking's a Fun and Memorable Way to Learn

As an educational therapist and learning specialist, hooking is one of the most valuable memory strategies that I teach my students.  In fact, tedious study sessions can be transformed into a memorable and often hilarious task.  

What is Hooking?
Hooking is a memory strategy in which you use the term itself that you are trying to remember to guide you to the answer.  In other words, you search for clues in the word. You can "hook" auditorily, to the sound or sounds in the term or visually, to the way the word looks.  Occasionally, you might find a hook in the word that does not guide you directly to the answer, but you can often create a story or visualization that will make it work.

Image 1
Visual Hooking Example:


  • Take the spanish word ojo.  Ojo means eye, and it is easy to make the word look as though it has eyes. See image 1.

Auditory Hooking Example:
  • Image 2
    Mesa means table in Spanish.  Mesa sounds like messy and I tell my students to think of a “mesa table.”

Auditory/Visual Examples:
  • If a student wants to learn how many pints there are in a quart, I say that pints sounds like pines and a quart sounds like a tennis court.  I then ask them to imagine two pine trees, playing tennis in a quart.  See image 2.
  • Take the distributive property in mathematics.  In the middle of the word you can see the word rib.  I tell my students that they have to draw in the “ribs” to solve the problem.  See image 3.

  • Image 3 
    Learning about the different types of angles lends itself to some fun strategies.  I tell my students that acute angles are “a cute” type of angle, obtuse are “obese” or fat angles, and right angles are “right on” and I show them that they can find the right angle in the “thumbs up” gesture. See image 4. 
  • When my students are learning about the cell organelles one of my favorite hooks is for the golgi body, which manages intracellular transportation.  I encourage my students to think of it as the “Go go Golgi” and ask them to visualize a shipping company like FedEx but the name is “Go Go Golgi.” See image 5.


Teaching Students to Create Their Own Hooks:
Image 4
Creating hooks for your students can be helpful, but if students create their own hooks, memory works even better.  Self-generating strategies gets students to make their own personal connections and connecting new knowledge to prior knowledge is a well research technique to enhance learning. What’s more, when two people look at a term, they don’t necessarily see or hear the same strategy. So, for example, take the word, benevolent.  There are many hooks that could be created to help one remember the meaning of the word, but the question is what does the student hear or see in the word? Benevolent means, kind-hearted, and you could use any of the following hooks:
  • benevolent: If someone lent you something, that was a benevolent gesture.”
  • Image5
    benevolent: Perhaps you know of someone named Ben or Len and they are benevolent.
  • benevolent: The Latin root means “good” and you could make that connection that good people are benevolent.
  • be-ne-volent: When you break up the word, it sounds like “be not violent.” One could that that the opposite of violence is benevolence.
  • benevolent: Right in the middle of the word, you can find the word love written backwards. One might think, when two people fall in love they are benevolent towards one another.

Teaching the hooking strategy to your students can help them to enhance their memories and find joy and laughter while learning. I hope you found this blog post helpful! Please feel free to write a comment and share your own hooking strategies.
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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.GoDyslexia.comwww.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Building Core Skills: Quantitative and Spatial Puzzles Free Samples


Strengthening math skills often requires students to develop their quantitive reasoning and spatial skills.  Finding activities that build these cognitive processing abilities and are also fun and engaging is tough.  The trick is to motivate students with creative, manageable activities. Come get some free samples that develop these crucial skills.  

The activities can be used for remedial purposes, morning warm-ups and math centers too! 

Download them by clicking 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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.GoDyslexia.comwww.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
      Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Maximize Learning: Keeping Students in the Zone of Proximal Development


When studying learning and cognition in graduate school, I was drawn to the theories of Lev Vygotsky, a Russian Psychologist from the early 1900s that presented a sociocultural approach to learning and cognition.  He offered a theory that I believe presents optimal classroom instruction for all learners.

What is Vygotsky’s Theoretical Lens?
At the heart of Vygotsky's theoretical lens is that social interaction plays a key role in the development of learning and cognition. Vygotsky claimed:
"Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological). This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals.”  
A second key feature of Vygotsky's theory is that one’s potential for learning depends upon the 
"zone of proximal development" (ZPD).  In the literature, ZPD is synonymous with the later concept, scaffolding, and suggests learning with adult guidance or peer collaboration exceeds independent learning. Vygotsky defined the ZPD as the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers."

Using the ZPD to Enhance Classroom Teaching and Individualized Instruction:
Illustration 1

It’s always best to keep your students in the ZPD.  Refer to illustration 1.  On the one hand, when learning is too easy, students get bored and their attention drifts away from a lesson.  On the other hand, if learning is too hard, then anxiety and confusion can result and when discouraged enough, students can develop a sense of learned helplessness. The “sweet spot” is the ZPD where students are challenged enough to maintain attention and they are able to learn new concepts with guided assistance and scaffolding.  Then, as learning happens, the support structure is slowly pulled away.  Eventually, students engage in independent learning and practice until they reach automatization.  Learning to automatization means that one has fully learned a concept to mastery and the process of completing a problem is virtually automatic and requires little to no thought.  

What are Some Direct Applications of Teaching in the ZPD?
Because every student’s zone of proximal development is different, it can be challenging for teachers to accommodate the individual needs of each learner.  Here are some possible
problems and solutions.

Problem
Solution
A student is unable to answer a direct question in class.
- The teacher guides the student to the correct answer providing some scaffolding and by asking them questions.   
Some students have already learned the concept and others have not.
- Break the class into two groups.  Provide challenging applications to the group that has learned the concept and scaffolding instruction to the group that has not learned the concept.

- Allow the students that have learned the concept to teach the students that have not.
My students have a wide range of experience and knowledge with a topic.
- Create learning stations with hands on manipulatives, guiding materials, and demonstration videos that teach the concepts of the lesson.  Have beginners, intermediate and advanced stations that increase in difficulty.  Help each student select the best learning station.  When a student finishes the advanced station, have them assist the other students to mastery.
Some students still have not learned the concept after the lesson.
- Offer one on one guidance and scaffolding with yourself or a peer mentor.  

- Go multisensory, creative and colorful in your instruction. Provide opportunities for the student to watch a demonstration and then do it themselves.  Eventually have them teach the concept back to you.
Some students are ashamed or hide the fact that they have not learned a concept.
- Create a safe environment for students to ask questions. Provide positive reinforcement for students that communicate misconceptions and learning difficulties.

- Create a box in your class where students can write down their questions and ask for additional help.

- Ask students to anonymously rate your lessons.  Let them rate their learning on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = Didn’t learn it - 10 = Got it).  Also ask them about how engaging the lesson was (0 = boring and 10 = interesting, fun and engaging).

By tapping into each student's zone of proximal development, you can assure that you will be maximizing your students' learning potential. What's more, you will find that your students are more engaged, find joy in the learning process and become active learners. I hope you found this blog 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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.GoDyslexia.comwww.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
      Follow on Bloglovin
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