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Showing posts from 2020

How to Find Schooling Options in Uncertain Times

During these uncertain times, parents are struggling to know how to meet the educational needs of their children. Summer break is here in the US, and we can't even plan for the coming academic term, as COVID 19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe. Not Knowing What the Future Holds, Many Parents are Riddled with Questions:Will the schools be open in the fall? Will children be required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines? Should I homeschool my kids? How can I earn an income and attend to my child's needs? What is the long-term impact of keeping my child out of school? What are the social-emotional consequences of social distancing for my child? How can I keep my family safe if my kids are at school? Being Informed About You Educational Choices:The best way to manage anxiety about the coming academic year is to be fully informed. I'm happy to announce that there is a wonderful opportunity: a comprehensive online summit. I am one of the many speakers, and it&#…

What are the Best 2020 Summer Resources for Academic Gains?

Whether your child sprinted towards the finish line or limped over it, they’re done with the 2019-2020 school year - Congratulations!  So, how do we now manage the summer months to accommodate for academic losses and remediate any learning difficulties? This guest blog is by my colleague, best friend, and amazing educational therapist, Nancy Platt Dawud. She was so gracious to share some amazing summer resources with all of us.What is the COVID 19 Summer Slide?For many, it feels like a victory to have simply made it to the end of the academic year. As we applaud students’ achievements and recognize their resilience and flexibility in handling a novel situation, we also have an eye to autumn and the coming academic year. While we can’t yet predict what “school” will look like in September, we can help support our students throughout the summer months to ensure that the skills they have, don’t recede and weaken. According to a recent study, between sixty-two to 78% of students lose acade…

How COVID 19 Can Help Children With Dyslexia Thrive

COVID 19 has Changed the World and Education Bustling metropolises have become overnight ghost towns and rambunctious classrooms lay deserted and lifeless. Families who once scattered during the daylight hours into detached existences are now hunkering down in close quarters at home together both day and night. Kids with dyslexia and other learning disabilities are spending all their time at home with their parents and are needing direct assistance and help with academic support. As a result, it's been an eye-opening experience for many parents as they witness the true learning needs of their child.  Some are now witnessing reading and writing struggles for the first time.COVID 19 Created an Opportunity for Dyslexics and Other Struggling StudentsThe social isolation that has resulted from the COVID 19 pandemic now offers an opportunity for parents to observe and help their child that may have been slipping through the system.  For many families, they may now understand that their …

Why Is Critical Thinking an Important Skill to Teach?

In order to teach our students to be critical thinkers, we must step out of the traditional pedagogical paradigm where learners are seen as blank slates that are dependent on their teachers and instead embrace and educational climate in harmony with many anthropological principles. Although andragogy refers to methods used in adult education, this approach offers a much better platform for teaching critical thinking. By embracing a new role as a facilitator, teachers can guide students to uncover intrinsic motivations, interest-based experiences, and problem-solving techniques.
What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking requires active learning and advanced reasoning skills. In addition, it involves rigorous questioning and analysis of ideas, assumptions, views, and values in an attempt to solve problems.
Why is Critical Thinking Important to Teach? Critical thinking is a vital skill to teach because it nurtures self-directed learning and helps to train thoughtful and conscientiou…

What does Executive Functioning Disorder Look Like?

Although there is no specific diagnosis for executive function disorder, the term is often used to describe the impairment in one's ability to manage their own cognition or executive functions.
What are Executive Functions?  Executive function is a term that has become more and more popular in the educational realm as it can have a profound impact on learning. Executive functions (EFs) collect sensory inputs as well as memories and processes from different parts of the brain.  It also has its own virtual whiteboard where one can utilize the inner voice and visualizations to hold and arrange simple cognitive manipulations and tasks.
What are the 5 Main Roles of Executive Functioning?Management involves task initiation, organization of information, time management, planning, and prioritization.Mental State includes both effort (speed and alertness) as well as emotional regulation or the management of moods and feelings.Metacognition or the awareness of one's thoughts entails mo…

The Best Games to Engage Students on Zoom

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled, How to Use Zoom in 2020 for Video Tutoring, but this week, I wanted to share with you five, fun, educational games I created for my students that you can play while conducting lessons or tutoring online with Zoom! What are Five, Fun, Free Learning Games for Zoom Sessions? Here are some fun, educational games I created to be played with the Zoom group chatbox.   1) Category Race:  One person comes up with a category such as Superheros.  A timer is set for 1 to 2 minutes.  Players type in as many superheroes as they can in the chatbox, while hitting the return or enter key after each one.  The first one to type the superhero's name is the only one that gets the credit, so players have to make sure to read what others are typing, while they are typing themselves!  When the timer goes off the player with the most answers wins.  2) Inference Detective:  One player (the leader) has to think of a person, place or thing.  They then write one cl…

How to Use Zoom in 2020 for Video Tutoring

With schools closed, children homebound, and teacher's sending lessons and assignments, online tutoring and academic support is at an all-time high.  In-person sessions have been the preference, but with the coronavirus sweeping across the globe, online instruction offers a safe and effective option.
What is the Best Platform for Conducting Online Sessions with Students?
Although there are many conferencing devices out there, I have found that Zoom offers the best features and seems to be the most stable platform.  Zoom can be used on virtually any computing device and browser.  Here are just a few:
macPCUbuntuMintLinux Surface ProiOS & Android devicesBlackberry devices

Zoom offers a Number of Excellent Features for Student Sessions:
Zoom presents many useful tools:
One or more participants can participate in a single Zoom session.  Zoom allows you to share with up to 100 participants for their free or low paying options.Session recordings - When a session begins, select the reco…

How to be an Active Learner

Many classrooms nurture passive learning by training students to sit still and receive lessons through lectures and texts.  They are expected to acquiesce, listen, absorb, and remember the new content.  Unfortunately, this approach does not serve the needs of all students, and an active learning environment can offer an exciting solution.
What is Active Learning? Active learning environments are bustling with energy and thought-provoking activities. Students are busy engaging with others, sharing ideas, and applying new content to prior knowledge. Active learners are continually involved in creative projects, self-directed learning, mindful activities, interactive discussions, and multisensory ways of learning. In addition, learners can discover how to use their inner voice and visualizations to make content memorable and easy to encode. What are Active Learning Strategies for the Classroom? Active learning strategies involve a different teaching approach as well as engaging lesson i…

How to Strengthen Executive Function for Students

Most teachers have excellent executive functioning skills, so when they come across students that struggle in this arena, they may have little compassion or patience. For many students, executive functioning is relatively easy. However, for some, tasks that require self-initiation, planning, time management, and organization to name a few, can be an immense struggle.
What is Executive Functioning and Does it Impact Learning? Executive functioning is much like the conductor of one's brain.  It is a mental process that gathers and creates meaning from sensory information. Allowing us to makes sense of what we experience, executive functioning also enables focused attention, metacognitive skills, and helps us to relate new content to prior knowledge.  Executive functioning affects learning because it is the lens through which we perceive the world around us.  Good executive functioning skills enable students to quickly and effectively absorb and assimilate new lessons.  In contrast…

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence for Students

Because emotional intelligence is thought to be an important step in realizing one's true potential, it's vital that we develop EQ in our schools. What is Emotional Intelligence? Emotional intelligence, sometimes referred to as EQ (emotional quotient), is one's ability to understand and manage internal and external emotions in positive ways.  It includes stress management, emotional regulation, nonviolent communication, and empathy.

5 Strategies to Help Students Improve their Emotional Intelligence?

Share and discuss stories of people that exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence.Teach students about active listening skills, and discuss ways to attend to both verbal and nonverbal communication. Additionally, demonstrate how to ask for clarity when other people are talking so there is a clear understanding before personal thoughts are shared.Demonstrate and teach students about reflective communication. Have students practice mirroring or repeating back what others are s…

How Quick Hemisphere Integration Mediations Calm Students

With increasing academic expectations, the pressure on teachers to bring up test scores, and competitive classroom environments, more and more students are struggling with chronic stress and anxiety.  So, what can we do to calm students and get their brains in a state for optimal learning? First We Must Understand that Excessive Stress Negatively Impacts Learning
While some nervousness can enhance memory, chronic stress and anxiety are emotions that have no place in a classroom. When excessive stress is experienced, the body makes too much cortisol, a steroid hormone that the body produces to assist you in responding to stress or danger, and this can disrupt cognitive functioning. Studies reveal that chronic stress can disrupt synapse regulation.  This can result in reduced sociability and social isolation. In addition, high levels of cortisol can kill brain cells and even shrink the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that manages memory and learning.

Second, We Need to Provide …