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Showing posts from March, 2013

Helping Students to Record and Turn in Assignments

Recording assignments and turning in the finished product may seem like a “no brainer” for many teachers, but did you know that executive functioning, a key cognitive component in planning and organizing, is not fully developed until many reach their early 20s?  What’s more, many young students are not allowed to use modern technologies, such as smart phones and Ipads while at school to help them with this process.  Furthermore, many students are overwhelmed by the countless distractions in a busy classroom and miss what appear to be clear directives.  So, what can we do to help students remember to record as well as turn in assignments? 
Create a Structured, Reliable Classroom Routine:    1)Plan assignments for the whole week.  This will save a lot of time and trouble for everyone.    2)Post assignments and reminders at the beginning of class in a location that is easy to see.     3)Review new assignments as well as those that are due, verbally, once everyone is settled down.    4)Make s…

Why Do Finnish Schools Finish First? 10 Ways to Improve US Education

Let’s face it, the US education system is a mess. Most kids are anxious and stressed, many teachers are fearful and disrespected, countless parents are confused and annoyed and scores of administrators are angry and aggressive. When programs are hurting most, funding is usually diminished. Kids don’t receive services until they are failing or close to failing, and if interventions help these underachieving students, services are continually stripped away as soon as they get their heads above water. It’s a competitive, punitive, and dysfunctional system that desperately needs radical reform.

This blog post reflects back on and summarizes the main points of an interesting article from The Atlantic Magazine published back in December of 2011 entitled, What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success. This is what they suggest:

10 Strategies for Success:
1. Assign less homework!
2. Integrate creative play into classroom lessons.
3. Get rid of stan…

Show Don’t Tell: A Descriptive Writing Game

Descriptive writing enables the author to paint scenes and characters in the mind’s eye of the reader. Like an artist, carefully selected, colorful words can convey vivid imagery, but only if the author learns to "show" and not "tell" the audience. Learning how to use illustrative adjectives, action verbs, graphic adverbs, expressive metaphors, vivid similes and showy personification is the key to writing engaging stories. What's more is it makes the process of writing a lot more fun!
Concrete learners or students that struggle with visualization or language processing can find descriptive writing difficult to learn. They can also find the learning process boring and tedious. As a result, I created a game to help make descriptive writing both enjoyable and memorable.
Show Don’t Tell & Show Don't Tell 2 Fabulously Fun Descriptive Writing Game, by Dr. Erica Warren at Good Sensory Learning, will walk you through the process. You will be amazed at the…

11 Steps to Writing an Outstanding College Essay

Wouldn’t you love to hear from a college admission's counselor that they thought your college admissions essay was great?  Perhaps it was the deciding factor that got you into your number one college.  I have heard this story a number of times from my students, and I wanted to share some strategies that can help you to also achieve this goal.
1: Take your time.  This is one of the most important essays you will ever write, so give yourself the attention and resources to make it one of your best compositions. 2: Allow others to help you throughout the process.  Share your thoughts, ideas and written work with your peers, parents, counselors, and teachers for feedback and ideas. 3: Make sure that you find the best college for you.  Many students select a college based on reputation or peer influence, but reviewing the college website and marketing materials as well as talking with their students, admissions counselors and alumni is important to assure that it is the right place for you…

Using Beach Balls for Comprehension

I just love to use balls for teaching students.  It's a great way to accommodate and engage your kinesthetic and tactile learners, and it always brings the fun factor into your lesson!  I often purchase beach balls at the dollar store and use permanent markers to write down different, reading, writing, grammar, and math concepts.  

Here are a few things that I use balls for:

parts of speechmultiplicationtouch mathvowel combinationstypes of sentenceslettersblendingwriting prompts
But for those of you who would like to buy ready made options, I just came across these nifty products on Amazon.  I included the links below.  

If you use balls for other lessons, please share your ideas.

Cheers, Erica

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 towww.goodsensorylearning.co…

Free Reading and Spelling Game for the TCH or CH, DGE or GE, CK or K Rules

The English language is packed with confusing rules that can make decoding and reading difficult tasks to master.  What's more, many of the workbooks and activities are boring, and even if students complete the lesson, it doesn't mean that they can apply the content in a different learning situation.  However, presenting the same content in a game-like format can make a lesson memorable and engaging even for struggling learners.

Here is a fun game that my students love to play.  It's great for literacy centers or reading centers, and it will also assist students with spelling.

Materials:
1.5 -2.0 hole punch or round object that can be tracedCraft paperLaminating sheets and laminator orRound wooden discs from the craft store and gluePlaying cards:  You can purchase blank playing cards on Amazon:  see link at the bottom, or use laminated craft paper and then write the letters on the blank side with a permanent marker.How to make the game - using TCH and CH:
Place the word beginn…

Sight Word Jewelry

As the saying goes, "Out of sight out of mind."  Well, now tricky sight words can remain "in sight" and tailored to each individual student's needs.

Kids love to make and wear their own jewelry.  So, here is a fun project that your students will be sure to enjoy that will also help them to master difficult sight words.    Links can be added or subtracted as they come across new, challenging words and master others.


Here is the process:

Materials:  

contact paperpermanent markerspaper clipsStep one: Cut the contact paper into small strips. Step two: Write the difficult sight words onto the contact paper. Step three: Peal of the backing and wrap the contact paper around one of the paper clips. Step four: Link another paper clip onto the first and then wrap your next sight word onto the new link. Step five: Continue the process until it is long enough for a bracelet or necklace. 
I hope you enjoy this project.
I would love to hear your thoughts!!
Cheers, Erica