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Showing posts from October, 2018

How to Meet the Individual Writing Needs of Your Students

With large classroom sizes, it is often challenging to meet the individual writing needs of each student. What makes it doubly difficult is the writing process involves a complicated synergy that requires students to physically write, type or dictate, implement rules of written language/spelling, as well as generate and organize ideas. Those are a lot of tasks that require attention, and every student comes with their own unique preferences and needs.
So How Can a Single Teacher Manage the Writing Needs of Individual Students?
I find that when most students receive a graded, written assignment, they rarely look past the number. However, sprinkled across their papers are colorful hints and suggestions on how to accomplish higher marks as well as personalized clues on how to develop greater mastery over the written word. The best way to meet the individual needs of your budding writers is to provide the metacognitive strategies, tools, and feedback so that they can consciously learn to …

The Best Free Following Directions Activities

Learning to follow both oral and written instructions is a vital skill that students need to learn at an early age.  However, grabbing their attention long enough to learn the complicated process can be challenging!
Why are Following Directions a Difficult Skill for Young Learners?
Following directions involves a combination of mental tasks. Therefore, for a student to be good at this, he or she needs to be proficient at the following skills, and he or she also needs to be able to do them simultaneously:
Attention is the ability to maintain focus on a selected stimulus, sustaining that focus and shifting it at will.Receptive language is the ability to understand language “input” - including both words and gestures.Memory is the ability to understand and remember information over time.Verbal reasoning is the ability to understand and reason with words.Executive Functioning is the ability to multitask, self-monitor, self-initiate, plan, prioritize and organize information.  It is the int…

5 Fun Games and Activities to Strengthen Listening Skills

I'm happy to continue a discussion on listening skills from my prior blog post, "What are the 7 Root Origins of Poor Listening Skills?"  This past blog reviewed the cognitive skills behind listening.  Now, I would love to share the games and activities that I use to improve listening skills in my own students.
It's all in the Presentation: Here are three magical steps:
Motivating lesson titles can hook your learners and feed eager and enthusiastic attitudes. Upbeat and animated presentations can grab your students' attention and get them engrossed in the content. Integrate fun and interactive games that reinforce the concepts so that the content sticks. Games and Activities that Strengthen Listening Skills: If you know anything about me, you know that I love games and fun, multisensory activities.  In fact, if I don't already have a game or fun activity to practice new concepts, then one is quickly created.  Here are some of my favorite ways to improve listeni…

What are the Signs of Dysgraphia and Solutions for Success?

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects written language: spelling, capturing ideas on paper, visual-spatial skills, and fine motor skills such as handwriting. Different terms are used to describe these difficulties. In fact, the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 (DSM-5) doesn’t use the term dysgraphia but uses the phrase “an impairment in written expression” which is under the category of “specific learning disorder.”
What are the Signs of Dysgraphia or Impairment in Written Expression? Handwriting isMessy or illegible Covered in cross-outs and erased textBurdened with improper spacing between letters and wordsHindered with oversized and crooked letters and wordsDisrupted with a combination of lower and uppercase letters as well as a mixture of print and scriptMisaligned when doing math problems Labored written language includesPencil grip is cramped and strainedWord repetitionWord and punctuation omissionsSentences are unfinishedAvoidant b…