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Showing posts from February, 2011

Following Directions: How Do I Teach this Skill?

Learning to follow directions is a crucial milestone in any student’s learning program.  It is the foundation of learning and difficulties in this area can impact a student’s ability to take notes, follow a sequence of steps, as well as show their knowledge on written assignments and even multiple-choice tests.

Even if a student is listening carefully or reading and rereading text, it doesn’t mean that they will succeed at following directions.  Weaknesses in attention, executive functioning, and language processing (both auditory and visual) can present as great obstacles for these students.  So what can be done about this?

We need to teach students how to follow directions.  They need to learn the subtleties of linguistic cues.  They need to learn to carefully analyze each word and then know how to decipher what it all means.

Whether it involves listening comprehension (auditory, receptive language) or understanding written directions (reading comprehension), there are a number of t…

Multisensory Teaching Reaches All Types of Learners

A common question and frustration plaguing teachers is how to meet the diverse learning styles of all the students in their classroom.  With as many as 12 learning styles, teachers can get overwhelmed thinking about teaching a topic 12 different ways. 
There is a solution.  First, it is imperative to understand the different learning styles or ways of learning.  Second, one must consider a number of teaching strategies.
Understanding the 12 Learning Styles: There are 12 ways of learning: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, sequential simultaneous, reflective/logical, verbal, interactive, direct experience, indirect experience and rhythmic/melodic.  Although most students can learn in some capacity using all 12 learning styles, when students’ unique profiles or preferences are accommodated, they often experience joy in the learning process and celebrate remarkable gains. 
Below, the 12 learning styles are defined and 3 to 4 teaching suggestions are made for each.

Helping Students that Struggle with Executive Functioning

Many students struggle with organization, time management and planning. Capable and intelligent learners can sabotage their grades by: losing materials, forgetting to turn in assignments,leaving things to the last minute,
miscalculating or underestimating the amount of time it will take to complete a task, failing to record homework in an agenda or planner,leaving needed materials at school, leaving needed materials at home, failing to prepare for tests, failing to plan and break down long-term assignments into manageable tasks or goals, neglecting to plan for midterms or finals, missing assignments, forgetting details, losing focus and missing important notes or directions, losing mental stamina and failing to complete a task, misplacing important materials, rushing through work.

The publication, Planning, Time Management and Organization for Success offers methods and strategies to help structure, guide, and support students in the areas of organization, time management and planning (…

It’s all in the Presentation - Place Value Games a Success

If students are subjected to boring presentations and endless practice problems, many may disengage and some may even act out.  Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s all in the presentation?”  The way a teacher presents new class topics can impact each student’s interest, degree of focus as well as their learning curve.  For example, a teacher could announce, “We will be starting a new unit on script tomorrow morning,” or they could say, “I have great news! Tomorrow we will be starting one of my favorite activities, roller coaster letters!” The second presentation will surely create a greater sense of excitement and anticipation.  However, teachers are not only contending with the constant challenge of making their lessons engaging, but they also have to accommodate diverse learning styles. For instance, some students need to see examples, others are aided with manipulates, still others may need to process ideas aloud or make connections through webs or a sequence …