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Showing posts from 2018

26 Awesome and Fun Math Ideas for Struggling Students

With the summer vacation just around the corner, it will be important to implement some mathematics over the break to avoid the "summer slide." The "summer slide" is a term used to describe the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of the summer holiday.  In fact, young learners can lose from 2-6 months of instruction.
How Do We Entice Young Math Learners to Keep Their Skills Sharp? When I work with students over the summer months, the key to my success is to integrate fun activities and games into all of my lessons.  I not only want to maintain each student's current knowledge, but the summertime is a wonderful opportunity to review concepts students that may have missed or preview topics to get them ahead.  Here are a few simple options that can get you up and running: Create a fun and creative math manual that implements memory strategies.Use online math tools, sites, and apps such as Nessy Numbers, and Math Playground.Use the free math site, 

7 Ways Students Can Use Their Inner Voice to Boost Grades

Did you know that students can improve their grades, simply by learning how to manage their inner voice? The inner voice is made up of thoughts or feelings expressed as internal utterances that warn, criticize, or advise you.  Many people move mindlessly through their day with this inner chatter constantly guiding their mood, attention, and behavior, but we can learn to take control.  
How Can One's Inner Voice Help with Academics?
The inner voice is a powerful presence that can either take one’s attention away from the subject at hand or help one to mindfully maintain attention to an external task. In fact, the inner voice works hand in hand with one’s inner eye (visualization) to make up working memory; and research now suggests that working memory predicts success in reading as well as all other aspects of learning, regardless of intelligence.

So How Can We Help Students to Manage their Inner Voice and Use it to Improve Academics?
Educate your students - Explain to your students …

3 Reliable Ways to Improve Attention and Working Memory

Did you know that working memory is often touted to be the best indicator of academic success? However, if a student is easily distracted, the academic content can be missed or it can fade before it even reaches this vital part of the learning process.
Attention and Working Memory Go Hand in Hand:
Executive functioning, or what I like to call the Grand Central Station of the brain, houses both attention and working memory. In fact, attention and working memory operate in tandem, because attention is required to process and manipulate information in one's mental workspace or mind's eye. This includes both auditory information such as following oral directions as well as visual information such as making sense of a complex puzzle. Researchers at The University of North Carolina examined the relation between working memory capacity and attention. They found that students with higher working memory capacity maintain attention better than those with a lower working memory capacity.

Superior Sight Word Mastery: A Breakthrough, Proven Approach

For many struggling readers, sight words can seem like an impossible hurdle. Sight words are high-frequency words that are commonly seen when reading and used when writing.  Students are encouraged to memorize these words by sight because most do not follow standard decoding rules and can not be "sounded out."

What if a Student Struggles with Visual Memory? Over the years, I have tried a multitude of strategies to help my struggling students master sight words.  Repetitive, multisensory lessons were a bore, games were a great improvement, but the best technique, to begin with, is creating a multisensory memory book.  Instead of expecting students to use rote, visual memory, I like to teach my students hooking strategies and have them record their ideas with colorful markers in booklets or notebooks.  It is a word diary of sorts that students can title with their own fun, creative name (e.g., magical memory strategies...).
Each difficult sight word is placed on its own page, …

50 Awesome Remedial Games for Struggling Readers

When I first began my private practice about 20 years ago, my primary focus was remedial reading with Orton Gillingham (OG) methods. With my doctoral training in hand, I continually reviewed reading programs, read books, and went through a number of OG training courses.  Although the suggested materials were purported to be "multisensory," I still found the process, for the most part, dull and boring. In addition, I often had to bribe my students with candy and stickers to read long lists of words and complete tedious drills.  What could I do to make the process fun, exciting, memorable and even more multisensory?

Creating Games with Phonics and Orton Gillingham Content I soon began to create card games out of sight word lists as well as board games for the 6 syllable types.  My students loved the games, and their motivation and memory improved dramatically.   I continued to create more games for words beginnings, word ending, rhyming words, syllabication, spelling, and more…

10 Easy Metacognitive and Mindful Strategies for Student Success

Multitasking seems to be a habitual challenge that many students face.  For instance, juggling modern-day technology while completing homework is a common undertaking.  As a result, many young learners fall prey to constant interruptions from social media, online video chatting, texting, television and more. Although there are some benefits to being able to shift from task to task, the learning process, as well as the time it takes to complete assignments, is often hindered when attention is continually interrupted.  In fact, research suggests that the best way to optimize learning potential is to give one's full attention to a task, and for many young learners this means that they need to develop a metacognitive or mindful approach to learning.
Completing Schoolwork with Greater Efficiency? One key to helping students maximize their learning potential is to teach them about metacognition.Metacognition is the ability to self-regulate one's own thinking, and it is often described…

If I Opt Out of the SATs or ACTs What Are My College Options?

College entrance exams are a multimillion dollar industry that feeds the pockets of the companies that make them, as well as the tutors that help to prepare struggling students.  Recalling my own experience with college entrance exams like the SAT over 30 years ago, I would have never believed that they would still exist.  As we all know, powerful corporations tend to maintain their stronghold well after the downsides of their products are exposed.

What Are the Problems Associated with the SAT and the ACT?
Reports suggest that college entrance exams are biased towards both gender and race. Studies have revealed females score higher in high school and college classes; however, males score better than females on the college entrance exams. In one study from the Education Testing Service, researchers suggest that boys typically score about 33 points higher on the SAT math section than female students, even though both genders received the same grades in the same college math classes. In ad…

Building the Core Cognitive Skills to Overcome Dyslexia

Although dyslexia is called a learning disability, it does not mean that one is unable to learn. Instead, dyslexia is a learning difference that often requires multisensory instruction as well as cognitive remediation. Therefore, certain cognitive skills that may come easily for most students may require additional attention and training for many students that struggle with dyslexia.

What Types of Cognitive Skills Need This Extra Attention?
Each individual with dyslexia has their own unique profile, but here is a list of some of the common cognitive deficits that result in a diagnosis of dyslexia.
Auditory processing: Auditory processing problems do not originate in the ear. Instead, it is an issue with how the brain processes auditory information. Visual processing: Visual processing problems also reside in the brain. There are no problems with vision; rather, they are difficulties with how the brain makes sense of visual stimuli. Language processing: Language processing is the way pe…