Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2015

Orton Gillingham Online Academy: An Interview with Founder Marisa Bernard

This week I am featuring an interview with Marisa Bernard the creator of the Orton Gillingham Online Academy.  Marisa is a dynamic educator and passionate learning specialist that has an expertise in serving students with dyslexia.  Marisa has made it her mission to assist children who do not fit inside the conventional box and to send them on their way feeling productive, successful, & well-equipped to lead a fruitful life.
_________ Erica: Hi Marisa!  I'm so excited to be able to share this interview with my audience.  Can you tell us more about your professional background?
Marisa: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a focus in cognition and learning as well as a Master’s Degree in Special Education. I have experience as an Elementary Education teacher, a Reading Specialist, and I worked on staff at the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana as both an educator and trainer of the Orton Gillingham Approach. In addition, I taught Special Education in a public school setting a…

Working Memory Definition, Facts, Symptoms and Strategies Infographic

This week I created an infographic on working memory.

What is Working Memory?
Working memory is a cognitive functioning that enables an individual to remember and use relevant information to complete an activity. Information enters the brain through the senses and our conscious awareness processes and makes sense of the information through thoughts, inner visualizations, and the inner voice. It also enables learners to hold multiple pieces of information in the mind and manipulate them. It is often described as a mental workspace that helps students stay focused, block distractions and stay abreast of their surroundings.

What is the Working Memory Process?

Attending to the immediate experienceAccessing prior informationHolding and processing informationSatisfying current goals.What are Some Fun Facts about Working Memory? Working memory focuses attention on experiences in the moment.Working memory only lasts a few seconds.Working memory can hold about four items.Working memory is a bette…

The Power of Nonprofits: Solving the U.S. Achievement Gap

This week, I am featuring an insightful and impressive guest blog by Marissa Zych.  
As an advocate for global literacy and accessible education, it’s difficult for me to swallow the United States education pill that is the achievement gap. Directly related to both the learning and opportunity gaps, the achievement gap commonly refers to the “significant and persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between groups of students.” The roots of this disparity run deep.
According to the National Education Association, the student groups that commonly experience achievement gaps (as indicated by test performance, access to key opportunities, and attainments such as diplomas, advanced degrees, and future employment) include racial and ethnic minorities, English language learners, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families. Inner-city schools, which some researchers call “dropout factories,” are often at the he…

10 Ways to Teach Planning, Time Management and Organization

Teaching students planning, time management and organizational skills is necessary in education.  Although some find executive functioning to be quite obvious, there are those that need to learn the process.  Here are 10 recommendations:

Provide an organized environment.  Set an example.  Use a planner and create a structured routine for yourself and use labeled boxes, shelves and filing systems so that everything has it's place.Praise self initiation.  In the beginning, rewarding kids for executive functioning skills will provide greater motivation.Organize time and post schedule around the house or classroom so that a daily routine can be established.Provide structure by offering a lot of support in the beginning.  Do the process together and slowly pull away as the needed skills are acquired independently.Give reminders and help students come up with systems so that they can remind others as well as themselves. Use calendars.  Show the different calendar options to students and …

Letter Cube Fun: Freebie Language Arts Game

I love to use foam blocks for all sorts of language arts fun.  Most recently, I created a game that my students adore.  Here are the steps so you can create it too.

1) You can purchase colorful foam cubes on Amazon for a very reasonable price.  I included a link at the bottom of the post.
2) Select 12 cubes.  I line the cubes up in a row and write all the vowels in capital letters (including "y") on each cube two times making sure not to place the same vowel on a single cube more than once.  Then I add the consonants as suggested below.

3) I assign the point value on the bottom right hand corner.  This will also help the players to orient the letters.  For example the letter P will look like the letter d when it is upside-down but as long as the number indicating the point value is in the bottom right hand corner, players can recognize that they need to rotate the letter to the proper orientation.  Also, using capital letters helps with letter confusion.

4) Other items needed t…

Using Simple Images to Teach Math Concepts

Utilizing imagery and visual memory can be very helpful when learning mathematics.  A single picture can help a student define and remember a concept, or it can even help them to recall the steps required to compute a problem.  What’s more, it often brings the “fun factor” into the learning environment as students can pull out their crayons, colored pencils or magic markers to complete the activity. I recently learned about the Palm Tree Method from one of my students. I scoured the internet to find its origin, but came up empty handed.  So, although I did not come up with this idea, it is still one of my favorites for solving proportions.  
If you would like to learn about other imagery activities to help your students learn math concepts, you might like my blog entitled Mathemagic or my products Measurement Memory Strategies or Why We Should Learn about Angles.
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and 

Mindful Meditations for Children: An Interview Heather Bestel

It is with great pleasure to share with you an interview with Heather Bestel - the creator or Magical Meditations for Kids.  Heather is a holistic therapist and mindful teacher that embraces the ideas of "hope, love, kindness and forgiveness."  She believes that "everyone is capable of doing great things" and she helps many along their path to success.

New research suggests that meditation benefits children academically, emotionally, and personally, and Heather's materials are truly outstanding.  My students love Heather's meditations!


Erica: If you had to put it into a single sentence, what is at the heart of Magical Meditations for Kids?
Heather: Inspiring children to connect with their inner sense of calm.
Erica: Why did you create your products?
Heather: I had been working with children as an educational psychotherapist for many years and loved to use stories and meditations with them as part of the process. I’m passionate about th…