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Showing posts from May, 2014

11 Multiple Choice Strategies

With the end of the school year quickly approaching, many young learners are prepping for finals. Learning the content for these comprehensive exams is imperative, but mastering the strategies for approaching multiple choice tests can also serve as a means to elevate final grades.  
Why Should Students Learn About How to Take Multiple Choice Tests?
Due to large class sizes, increasing paperwork as well as common core curriculums, multiple choice tests are becoming the fast favorite of educational institutions.  Ironically, these are the most difficult tests to create, they are often poorly written and they commonly include tricky wording. As a result, test items can be a linguistic nightmare for some students.  They can become an obstacle course that can trip up learners with language-based disabilities or weaknesses, making it virtually impossible for them to share their true knowledge of the academic material. What's more, teachers are not properly trained on how to write and eval…

The Secret to Motivating Students

Motivation is thought to be a common culprit that plagues students, however this couldn't be further from the truth.  As Rick Lavoie said, "It is not that students become unmotivated, because all human behavior is motivated." Instead, other factors such as anxiety, a poor self-esteem, learned helplessness, depression, and learning disabilities are just a few real causes that impact learning and appear to impact motivation.
How Can We Help Students that Appear to be Unmotivated? First, we must try to understand the root causes of the unwanted behaviors.  One can try to uncover these blockades through discussion, but it may be best to pursue help from a therapist, seek a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation or find an excellent educational therapist or learning specialist that has some training in psychology.  Once the underlying causes have been uncovered, one must provide the structure and support that will help to guide the student to better habits and behaviors.

12 Strategies for Overcoming Test Anxiety

With finals around the corner, many students are becoming anxious about end of the year exams. Although a small dose of the jitters can provide some motivation, larger degrees of anxiety can virtually cripple many young learners. 
What is Test Anxiety? Test anxiety is a product of fear or worry about a test or quiz.  In fact, a student that struggles with test anxiety may know the material, but he or she can not access the information during the examination due to this enfeebling mental state.  
What are the Causes of Test Anxiety? Test anxiety can manifest from a number of root causes? Questioning ones own abilities can create the fear that you will do poorly or even fail a test.Distractions by other students, noise, or even one's own internal thoughts can make it difficult to concentrate.Physical symptoms can also hinder students.  Short breaths, fast heart rates, nausea, headaches, and body sweats can make it difficult to recall answers.Mental blocks can also make it difficult to…

Teaching Students Metacognitive Strategies Improves Grades

We are living in an information, distraction-rich time and multitasking seems to be a common way of navigating the complexities of reality.  Our youth have grown up observing their parents juggling multiple responsibilities at one time while they have also been immersed in the modern day influx of technology.  As a result, many young learners have applied their observations to academic endeavors, and homework is often completed while laying prey to constant interruptions from social media, online video chatting, texting, television and more.  Although there is some utility in life to being able to multitask, the learning process is hindered when attention continually shifts.  In contrast, to this multitasking approach to learning is metacognition, and this can play a critical role in successful learning.
How Can Students Learn to Do Schoolwork with Greater Efficiency? The foundation to instructing students how to maximize their learning potential is teaching them metacognitive strategie…

Using a Geoboard to Help Students with Dysgraphia

Recently I discovered the geoboard and now I love to use this product to develop mathematical skills, visual spatial skills, visual reasoning and fine motor dexterity.  In fact it is great for my students that have dysgraphia.

What is a Geoboard?
A geoboard is a math manipulative that students can use to explore basic shapes and geometry such as perimeter, area and coordinate graphing.  It consists of a wood board with evenly spaced rows of nails or a plastic board with protruding pegs around which string or rubber bands are wrapped.

How Do I Use My Geoboards?
Due to the popularity of rubber band bracelets, one can get a huge variety of colorful rubber bands in many different sizes.  I have organized mine into sectioned plastic boxes so that my students have many options to choose from.  Here are a number of fun activities that I offer my students in my own private practice.

For my young learners I use the geoboard to:
learn the formation of letters and numbers.  It is a wonderful tool …