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Showing posts from 2020

100 Powerful Learning Specialist and Educational Therapy Materials

This week I wanted to tell you about my online store, Good Sensory Learning. I’m Dr. Erica Warren, and I established this site so I could share all the materials that I have created over the last 20+ years as a learning specialist and educational therapist. When I first began my private practice, Learning to Learn, I had great difficulty finding fun and multisensory materials for my students that were effective and engaging. So back in 2005, I made it my mission to design and distribute high-end, remedial products as well as memorable, motivating lessons that bring delight to learning. If you would like to try a free sampling of my activities , CLICK HERE . How Are the Products Organized at Good Sensory Learning? You can download my Free Printable Catalog or you can browse the site using the grey “search all products” bar in the top right of any page with keywords such as dyslexia, working memory, and executive functioning. What’s more, drop down menus in the red banner allow you t

How to Help Students with Visual Processing Problems

Visual processing is one of many complex cognitive tasks that allows us to make sense of images we perceive through our eyes.  Although it appears to be an effortless process, it requires a number of different skills that work in tandem.   How is Vision and Visual Processing Different? Many people think that vision and visual processing are one in the same thing.  However, they are two distinct skills that take place in different parts of the brain.   Vision, or the ability to see, happens with light passing through the cornea and the lens of the eye producing an image of the visual world on the retina.  That information then travels into the brain through the optic nerve for processing. Visual processing: or the ability to make sense of what we see, travels through the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus to the primary visual cortex. Although we don't know for sure, studies suggest that visual information goes through at least three processing systems that detect the shape,

How to Improve Working Memory in Struggling Students

Did you know that a strong working memory is one of the best indicators of academic success?  In contrast, those that struggle with a weak working memory often find learning, accessing prior knowledge, and solving problems in their mind challenging. So what is working memory all about? What is Working Memory? Working memory is like a mental sketchpad and guiding voice that allows us to solve problems in our heads. It's a complex cognitive process that involves a number of skills that need to work in concert.  As illustrated in the image below, sensory inputs (represented by colorful leaves) flow into our perception.  Then, our central executive (illustrated as a conductor of cognitive skills) manages four aspects of cognition:  Attention (presented as the sun), Inner voice or inner dialog (seen as the ear) Inner eye or mental visualizations (depicted as an eye) Long term memory or prior knowledge (presented as the soil under the grass)  These four cognitive processing and storage a

How to Quickly Improve Visual Tracking for Struggling Readers

Many struggling readers have a difficult time making sense of text because they lose their place on the page.  In addition, some find it challenging for their eyes to track from one line of text to the next, and they often read the same line, again and again.  Skipping over words, or even missing a line of text altogether is not uncommon.  As you can imagine this could have a profound impact on one's interest in books and can negatively impact reading stamina, speed, and comprehension.   What is Visual Tracking? Visual tracking is the ability to control the movement of vision with the eye muscles.  This may involve the eyes moving left, right, up, down, and even in a circular motion.   How Do Visual Tracking Weaknesses Impact Reading? Poor visual tracking can make it very difficult for individuals to read because their eyes struggle to maintain a fluid motion when scanning the words throughout the page.  Instead, they constantly lose their place.   Why Do Struggling Readers Often H

What Resources are the Best for Online Tutoring?

Finding the best online, learning resources can be a challenge.  There is an overwhelming number of sites, apps, and products, and finding the best ones can be a time-consuming chore.  Having been an educational therapist and learning specialist for the past twenty years, I continually scour the internet for the best resources, and I would love to share with you some of my favorites! My Favorite Online Resources for Remote Learning Use Zoom .  I find it to be the best platform that has some fun and useful tools. Chatbox : They offer a chatbox where thoughts and links can be shared.  I often use this feature for writing games and activities. Screen sharing : Screen sharing is a great feature that allows me and my students to watch videos together. I can share my own resources and we can also brainstorm on a Whiteboard.  An added benefit is the annotation tool that enables both me and my students to draw or type on an image or webpage.   Remote access : When sharing an activity, I can gi

How Can Teachers Trigger Dopamine and Improve Learning?

Wouldn't it be great if a teacher's actions triggered neurotransmitters in the brains of their students that improved attention, motivation, and learning at large?  Many would say that this idea sounds like a science fiction novel, but, in fact,  it's not far from the truth.  What Role do Neurotransmitters Have in the Learning Process? Countless chemical messengers called neurotransmitters are perpetually maintaining our brain's functions and regulating our breath and heartbeat. They even manage our attention and ability to learn. In addition, they also impact a wide variety of emotions including fear, happiness, and boredom. One neurotransmitter, in particular, offers a secret advantage to learning - dopamine. What is Dopamine and How Does it Impact Schooling? Dopamine, commonly referred to as the "feel-good brain chemical" is made by our brains.  Dopamine plays a role in feeling satisfaction and joy, and it is vital to our ability to plan and think.  Here

How to Quickly and Easily Write Neatly with Zoom Annotations

When working with students online using Zoom, it can be frustrating and messy when trying to write out lessons with your mouse. Although Zoom does offer a great typing tool, when doing math problems or drawing an image or diagram that requires a less linear approach there are better options out there. How Can You Use an iPad During Zoom? A great way to write and draw neatly on a Zoom session is to link your iPad to the Zoom session and share the screen.  You can do this through airplay or by using a cable.  Simply: First, select the green button at the bottom of the screen that says share screen Second, select either: iPhone/iPad via AirPlay OR iPhone/iPad via a USB to lightning cable. * I find the use of a cable to be a more reliable option. Third, allow screen sharing on your device by selecting: "Trust this computer" on your device. If it doesn't work, make sure both your iPad and Computer are updated to the latest versions and restart the devices. Fourth, you should

Informative Zoom Presentations and Support for Educators

Have you been looking for a supportive community to help you manage the academic and emotional needs of kids?  Are you an educator or parent that has questions about the best schooling options? Perhaps you would like to learn more about topics such as executive functioning, dyslexia support, serving the needs of struggling students, remedial methods, and more.  Dear friends: I hope you are safe and well during this strange and awkward time! With all this social isolation, I've really come to understand the importance of connection and community. In the past, I have been fortunate to have developed some lovely relationships with a number of my followers and students, and I want to reach out to more of you! I have decided to offer a monthly Zoom group that will feature a focused topic, presentation, and discussion. It won't be a webinar, because I want us to be able to see, interact with, and support one another. Instead, it will be a regular Zoom session with a limited number of

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 ac

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 Students The 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 the

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 c