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Showing posts from 2015

Executive Functioning Game: In or Out

I'm so pleased to announce the release of my new Publication: Executive Functioning Game: In or Out!  It is the first of a series of executive functioning games that I have been creating over the past six months.
Card Descriptions:  All 30 cards include two images: an inner image and an outer image. There are six images: a car, a light bulb, an alien, a raindrop, a flower and a hand. In addition, there are five different colors: yellow, red, blue, green and purple. It is a complex matching game that requires players to remember and utilize rules to search for commonalities amongst cards. The black symbol in the middle of the inner image directs players to look at the inner image or the outer image. Then players compare cards from their deck to the image in the discard pile. The black cat is simply a distractor and has no other purpose in the game.

What Population of Learners Does This Serve?

In or Out is a fabulously fun game for anyone, but it also serves as a cognitive, remedia…

Asking Students to Sit Still Can Have Dire Consequences

Sitting and limited activity can have detrimental effects on the elderly, but did you know that this can also have negative consequences for children too? What we are discovering is that excessive sedentary behavior has serious health ramifications at all ages, and one of the biggest culprits that breeds inactivity is school. Stuck seated motionless behind desks only to come home with a full agenda of homework, results in school children spending an average of 8.5 hours of their day sitting.  In fact, sitting increases after age 8 when school, homework, and technology consumes their time. What's more, youngsters are continually asked to sit still, as movement is often labeled distracting to classmates as well as the teacher.  These learners that wiggle and squirm in and out of their seats are often considered troublesome and some of these kinesthetic kids are even placed on ADHD medications to temper their excessive commotion and exuberance. What are the Deleterious Effects of Si…

Pros and Cons of Every Student Succeeds Act for Dyslexia

On Friday, December 10th, 2015 Barack Obama Signed the Every Students Succeeds Act. This new law now rewrites the No Child Left Behind Act and offers a number of changes that could have both positive and negative ramifications for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.  As with any new law, the true pros and cons will be revealed over time, but here is a list of considerations. Pros of ESSA Cons of ESSA The Common Core curriculum can be adopted by states, but it is no longer required. Annually, 3rd through 8th grade students will still have to be tested in Math and English.  In addition, high school students will be tested once. School accountability has shifted from the federal to the state level.  Now, states will be responsible for setting academic goals and evaluating their schools. Now advocates will have to focus their attention on both federal and state mandates. There is more flexibility in how accountability tests are administered as well as the testing format. Onl…

Nurturing Grit and Resilience: Classroom Strategies for Success

Resilience and grit are two popular terms in education that are associated with student happiness, motivation, and academic success. These are learnable behaviors, thoughts, and actions that help learners cope with stress, face adversity or trauma, and bounce back from challenging experiences. Angela Duckworth proposes that the development of grit is an important skill to teach our students. In fact, Duckworth shows inher research that grit is a better gauge of academic achievement and success than one's IQ!

What is Resilience?  Resilience is an attribute or skill that helps us recover from negative events or feelings, cope with challenges and adversity, and take care of ourselves.

What is Grit?  Grit is the ability to maintain passion, motivation, and effort when developing a mastery or an expertise.   

Some of the Most Important Characteristics of Grit and Resilience Include: Managing Emotions - being open to one’s feelings and able to modulate them in oneself. Awareness of Strengths…

Number 1 Trick to Improving a Student's Writing

There are many effective strategies worth instructing that can improve a student's writing, but my number one, favorite strategy is teaching the effective use of a thesaurus.
What is a Thesaurus? 
A thesaurus is a book or online site that lists words in groups of synonyms or related concepts.

What are the Benefits of Teaching Students to Use a Thesaurus?
Teaching your students or children to use a thesaurus offers many gains and can be used to:
Expand vocabulary - Using a thesaurus helps students increase their usable word choices.Avoid repetition - Consulting a thesaurus guides students to alternate word choices when they are concerned with the overuse of a single word within their composition. Improve writing quality and sophistication - Utilizing a thesaurus assists students to select more appropriate or mature wording.Select descriptive words - Consulting a thesaurus helps students find more descriptive words that will enable their audience to better visualize their content.Impr…

Light emitted by Technology Disrupts Sleep: Strategies for Students

Many students struggle to fall asleep at night, even though they are terribly tired during the day. Why is this becoming a common occurrence?  Daily, the average student spends nine hours using technology for enjoyment and school, and many of these hours are after the sun sets.  Although sunlight dims to relative darkness, children's exposure to light remains when they are planted in front of televisions, phones, computers, and other handheld, computing devices. What we are now learning is that this extended exposure to light is having detrimental effects on the natural circadian rhythms that have been established across time.  
What are Circadian Rhythms? Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle of light and dark in an organism's natural environment.  The study of circadian rhythms is called chronobiology.  
Are Circadian Rhythms Important? Circadian rhythms are key in determining the sleep patterns of humans.  Our body's ha…

Solving Spelling Problems with Digital Assistants and Voice Search Technology

Challenges with spelling disrupt the flow of thoughts, distract the writer and often result in poor word choice.  Even though the author may have an excellent speaking vocabulary, their writing may suffer due to avoidance of words that are difficult to spell.  What's more, many poor spellers skirt writing altogether because navigating spelling potholes can be time-consuming, and they fear that others will question their intellect.

What Can Be Done to Help Poor Spellers?
The technology age offers a number excellent tools for struggling spellers.
Speech-to-Text Software: Speech-to-text is a type of software that transcribes the spoken word into typed words on a computer or handheld device.  Writers no longer have to be distracted by spelling.  As long as they enunciate their words clearly, all spelling will be accommodated via voice commands.  Macs come with this option for free. To learn more CLICK HERE.  In addition, there are many other speech-to-text options like Speech Recognition…

What is Brain Training or Brain Fitness and is it Helpful?

I am a learning specialist and educational therapist.  However,  I tell many of my clientele that I’m a personal trainer for the brain.  I help individuals of all ages to improve overall cognition, develop compensatory learning strategies and master optimal study skills.  I have seen, first hand the power of brain training.

What is Brain Training?
Brain Training, Brain Fitness, or Cognitive Remediation is the act of strengthening deficits in learning or weak areas of cognition.  This is typically done using activities that concentrate on specific areas of difficulty.  Just like a personal trainer or physical therapist can focus exercises on a particular part of the body, many learning specialists, educational therapists and learning coaches can help individuals of all ages to improve memory, visual processing, auditory processing, attention, executive functioning, stamina and more.

The Brain is Not Limited and Defined:
The brain is not inflexible and fixed.  Instead, it continues to gr…