Dr. Warren’s blogger articles on multisensory materials.

Strategies for Teaching the Different Types of Angles and Lines

Using multisensory instruction always makes a lesson more
engaging and fun for students.  In fact,
one of my favorite learning modalities to integrate into instruction is
kinesthetics or movement.  For many
learners having to sit still is not conducive for learning, and other children
just need to get their bodies moving and their blood circulating form time to time to fully
focus on a lesson.

One of my favorite topics to teach are the different type of
angles and lines.  I like to cover these concepts
with a multisensory and interactive PowerPoint that I created, then I get the
students to use chants as well as their bodies to encode the information.  Just this week I created a free YouTube video,
where I share some fun activity ideas for lines and angles. 
If you like the video and would like to also acquire my multisensory
PowerPoint presentation, Click Here to learn more.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com, www.learningtolearn.biz  

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Color-Coded Writing: A Scaffolding Approach for Word Formation

Many young learners struggle with the sizing and formation of letters.   In addition, writing across the paper in a straight line can be challenging.   For these students, I like to offer a color-coded scaffolding approach that provides support and also brings the fun factor into the learning process.  I call it, Color-coded Handwriting and it helps my students master this difficult, fine motor task. 


What’s the Process:

  1. I offer my students color-coded paper as well as color-coded letters.  
  2. I tell my students that all the letters have to match up with the colors.  
  3. I share with my students that the colors represent, “the sky – blue, the grass – green, and the ground – orange.”  Letters that are green, such as the lowercase letter “o” are called grass letters, tall letters such as “t” are grass and sky letters, and letters such as the letter “g” are grass and ground letters.  All letters rest on the line below the grass. 
You Can Make This Yourself, or Purchase it Ready Made:
You can make the paper and letters with hand writing paper and highlighters, but if you would prefer to have the paper and letters already made for you, you can purchase my publication, Color Coded Handwriting for only $4.99. This downloadable, printable PDF comes with color-coded upper and lower case letters, as well as a variety of lined, color-coded templates in small, medium and large.  Furthermore it offers a two column option that is ideal for spelling words.  Finally, this product suggests a fun game-like activity.  
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com, www.learningtolearn.biz  

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The Number Ladder: Turning Addition and Subtraction from Top to Bottom

I have never understood why the number-line extends horizontally from left to right.  Young learners often confuse their left from right and others have trouble remembering which way to travel when trying to solve simple addition and subtraction problems.  However, when viewing a vertical number-line, it makes conceptual sense that going up would equate with adding, while traveling down would result in subtraction.  Furthermore, when solving multi-digit problems, we teach students to line up numbers vertically.  Therefore wouldn’t it be best to commence instruction with the number-line extending up-and-down?

Turning the Number-line Into a Ladder
To make the learning process even easier, I like to change the number line into a ladder that travels up into the sky.  This way, when students are instructed to add, they climb up the ladder and when they subtract they descend down the ladder.  What’s more, when students eventually learn about integers, the number line can descend down “into the ground.”

Free Game that Teaches this Concept:  
I love to use a staircase to help students really understand the concept of adding and subtracting. If you would like a free game that is ideal for kinesthetic learners as well as a copy of my Number Ladder, Click here

I Also Offer Two Publications:

  • If you want to purchase an interactive PowerPoint that teaches adding and subtracting whole numbers as well as a PDF file with activities and games, Click here.  
  • If you would like to purchase an interactive PowerPoint as well as a PDF that teaches all about adding and subtracting integers and also offers two games click on the image to the right or Click here

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multi-sensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  
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Mathemagic: Multisensory and Mindful Math Strategies Tailored for the Individual

Many students struggle with the steps required to complete
mathematical problems.  They may
forget the concept, miss a step, mis-sequence the steps, misread a sign, or struggle
with writing out or lining up the numbers.  In fact, even if a student has understood and executed a
problem with precision, it doesn’t mean that they will retain that information at a
later time.  So what can we do to
help these students to encode, into long-term memory, the steps required to complete math
computations? 
The 3 Key Components
for Effective Math Instruction
1.     Go multisensory: Integrate as many of the
12 Ways of processing as you can into your instructional plan: Visual, Auditory, Tactile, Kinesthetic,
Sequential, Simultaneous, Reflective, Verbal, Interactive, Indirect Experience,
Direct Experience, and Rythmic
Melodic.  To learn more about this
click here 
2.    Teach metacognitive and mindful strategies:
Metacognition refers to
the act of thinking about thinking, or the cognition of cognition. It is the
ability to control your own thoughts. 
Mindfulness refers to being completely aware of the present moment, as
well as maintaining a non-judgmental approach. It
helps to develop emotional intelligence and it instructs students to pay
attention on purpose.  What’s more, mindfulness can help improve memory, test
scores, classroom behaviors and stress management.  To learn more about this click here
3.    Integrate creativity:  Integrating creative lessons and
assignments into the curriculum allows students to incorporate their imagination
and encourages active participation. 
Creative assignments also increases motivation for many students. 
Creating a Math Manual:
One of the most effective strategies I have ever employed
with students is creating a “math manual.”  This assignment or project unites the three components of
effective math instruction and also brings the fun factor into the
classroom.  This can be completed
throughout the academic year and checked for accuracy, so that students can use this resource for tests,
midterms, finals, and even state exams.
What Format Should be
Used?
Students can create the manual by hand or on a
computer.  It can be presented in a
photo album, a blank book, a binder, or a notebook.
Creating the Cover:
I encourage all of my students to come up with their own
unique, creative name and cover for their math manual.  In my illustration at the top of this blog, I called it
Mathemagic: A Magical Math
Manual. 
Create a Sequence of
Color Coded Steps:
Each student should write out the required steps to complete
the problem.  This can be done in a
linear fashion, a numbered list, a web or flow chart.  I also encourage students to color code the steps as this can also enhance memory.
Use Mnemonics:
Memory strategies are
tools that help students organize information before they file it away in their
memory banks.  I encourage my
students to create their own memory strategies and to use both visual and auditory mnemonics.
Complete a Sample
Problem:
Ask the students to provide a color coded sample problem
that illustrates the needed steps to complete a problem.
Other Options:
Ask your students to create
a song, poem, or rhyme with or without a dance routine to define the steps.  Integrating songs, rhymes and kinesthetics offers further modalities that will help to encode computation skills. 

Sample Math Manual Page:
I hope you you found this helpful!  If you would like a free copy of this division strategy, click here or on the image above.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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11 End of the Year Activities Using Balls and Balloons

http://learningspecialistmaterials.blogspot.com/

Balls and balloons offer a
cheap and fun way to complete your school year.  What’s more integrating balls and balloons brings a tactile,
playful, and kinesthetic modality into the classroom.  Balls and balloons can be used to review the academic
content, as well as mindfulness activities and keepsakes.  Below is featured a variety of entertaining,
multisensory ideas.

Reviewing Key Topics from
the School Year
These games can be played
with an entire class in a large circle facing one another, or you can break the
students into small groups or pairs. 
1) Parts of Speech Game:  Place the parts
of speech on a balloon or ball.  Have
the students pass the balloon or ball to one another.  Instruct them to say aloud the first part of speech they
see.  Then ask them to provide a
word that is an example of that part of speech.  Players can not repeat a word that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
2) Figurative Language Game:  Place the figurative language terms on a balloon or ball.  Have the students pass the balloon or
ball to one another, and instruct them to say aloud the first figurative
language term they see.  Then ask
them to provide a phrase that is an example of that type of figurative
language.  Players can not repeat a
figurative language example that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
3) Types of Syllables Game:
www.learningspecialistmaterials.blogspot.com

Place the syllable types on
a balloon or ball.  Have the
students pass the balloon or ball to one another, and instruct them to say
aloud the first syllable type that they see.  Then ask them to provide a word that is an example of that
type of syllable.  Players can not
repeat a word that has already been used. 
If they do, they are out of the game.

4) Vowel Combinations or Vowel Teams Game:
Place the vowel combinations
on a balloon or ball.  Have the
students pass the balloon or ball to one another, and instruct them to say
aloud the first vowel combination that they see.  Then ask them to provide a word that uses that vowel
combination.  Players can not
repeat an example that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
5) Types of Sentences:
Place the types of sentences
on a balloon or ball.  Have the
students pass the balloon or ball to one another, and instruct them to say
aloud the first sentence type that they see.  Then ask them to provide a sentence that illustrates that
sentence type.  Players can not
repeat a sentence that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
6) Main Ideas and Details:
Place main ideas on a
balloon or ball.  Main ideas could
include transportation, colors, vacation spots and so forth.  Have the students pass the balloon or
ball to one another, and instruct them to say aloud the main idea that they
see.  Then ask them to provide a detail
that would be properly categorized under that main idea.  Players can not repeat a detail that has
already been used.  If they do,
they are out of the game.
Mindfulness Activities and Keepsakes
7) What I Learned:  Have the students sit in
a circle facing one another. 
Explain that the only person who can speak is the one holding the
ball.  Toss the ball to one of your
students and ask them to share the most important thing they learned over the
school year.  When they are
finished talking, have them toss the ball to another student.  Continue until all the students have an
opportunity to share their thoughts.
8) My Favorite Lessons:  
Have the students sit in a
circle facing one another.  Explain
that the only person who can speak is the one holding the ball.  Toss the ball to one of your students
and ask them to share their favorite lesson from the whole school year.  Ask them to also share why they like it
so much.  When they are finished
talking, have them toss the ball to another student.  Continue until all the students have an opportunity to share
their thoughts.
9) What I Like About Me and You:
Have the students sit in a
circle facing one another.  Explain
that the only person who can speak is the one holding the ball.  Toss the ball to one of your students
and ask them to share one thing that they like about themselves and one thing
that they like about the person who tossed them the ball.  When they are finished talking, have them
toss the ball to another student. 
Continue until all the students have an opportunity to share their
thoughts.
10) Memory Balls: Give each student a blank inflatable ball, such as a beach ball.  Provide permanent markers and let the
students go around and sign each other’s balls.  They can leave short messages too.  Be sure to say that all messages must be positive. 
11) Why I’m “Special” Balls:  Before
you begin this activity, ask your students to help you create a list of
positive adjectives that can describe people.  Place this list where all the students can see it.  Now, give each of your students a blank
beach ball or balloon.  Provide
permanent markers and have the students go around and write a positive
adjective that describes the person on the ball or balloon to whom it belongs.   Encourage the students to come up
with unique adjectives by looking at each ball and coming up with something
new. 
If you would like to learn about some
of my other popular games.  Go to: http://goodsensorylearning.com
There, you can even download freebies on some of my product pages.
I hope you enjoy these games!!  I
would love to hear you thoughts.
Cheers, Erica
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Using Simple Imagery to Help Students Learn Mathematics

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.  Here is a sample
problem and the steps to follow.
  1. Write out the proportion.
  2. Draw a green oval around the numerator of the first fraction and the denominator of the second fraction.
  3. Draw another green oval around the denominator of the first fraction and the numerator of the second fraction.  
  4. Notice how the crisscrossing ovals create a multiplication sign.  This will remind students that they will be multiplying the numbers circled. 
  5. Draw the trunk on the tree as a brown rectangle.
  6. Write out the problem:  100·x = 60·80  (placing the equals sign in the trunk of the palm tree).
  7. Solve the next step 60·80=4800 (again placing the equals sign in the trunk of the palm tree).
  8. Then divide the two sides by 100 to solve for x.

If you would like to learn about other imagery activities
to help your students learn math concepts, you might like my products,
Measurement Memory Strategies or Why We Should Learn about Angles.
Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Learning Place Value with Pompoms and Pill Boxes

Bringing
a tactile, visual and experiential component into math instruction can bring
the “fun factor” into your lessons. 
In addition, incorporating multisensory dynamics into lessons makes them
more memorable and concrete. 
This
activity is great for math centers, a classroom activity or individual
remediation. 
When
I teach place values, I like to engage my students with colorful pompoms and
pill boxes!  You can usually find
pill boxes and bags of assorted pompoms at a Dollar Store.  With a few color coded labels, that
cover the days of the week, your pill boxes can be transformed into pompom
compartments.  I like to put a
single color in each compartment and I color code the labels to match.  This makes it easy for students to
reassemble the activity for the next person.  Also, make sure to vary the number of pompoms in each
partition.  I like to make a variety
of difficulty levels for the students and use the seven boxes as follows:
· Millions, Hundred Thousands,
Ten Thousands, Thousands, Hundreds, Tens, Ones
· Hundreds, Tens, Ones,
Decimal, Tenths, Hundredths, Thousandths
· Decimal, Tenths, Hundredths,
Thousandths, Ten Thousandths, Hundred Thousandths, Millionths

I
also like to provide a laminated sheet so students can record answers with a
dry erase marker or I place the answer sheet in a dry erase pocket.   Students can check their answers
with an answer sheet or a barcode on the back of the pill box.
If
you would like this activity, you can create it yourself.  However, this activity, as well as the
score sheets, are included in my popular publication, Place Value Panic Game, and Instruction. To learn more, Click Here.
Cheers,
Erica
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Using Beach Balls for Comprehension

I just love to use balls for teaching students.  It’s a great way to accommodate and engage your kinesthetic and tactile learners, and it always brings the fun factor into your lesson!  I often purchase beach balls at the dollar store and use permanent markers to write down different, reading, writing, grammar, and math concepts.  

Here are a few things that I use balls for:

  • parts of speech
  • multiplication
  • touch math
  • vowel combinations
  • types of sentences
  • letters
  • blending
  • writing prompts

But for those of you who would like to buy ready made options, I just came across these nifty products on Amazon.  I included the links below.  

If you use balls for other lessons, please share your ideas.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

5 Fun Ways to Teach the Vowel Combinations or Vowel Teams


   1)  
Place the vowel combinations on a balloon with a
permanent marker, or have the students do it themselves.  Pass the balloon from student to
student.  They will then say the
first vowel combination they see and then they share the sound that it
makes.  In a more advanced version,
they can share a word that uses that vowel combination.
   2)  
If you are looking for something more durable
than a balloon, you can purchase playground balls and write the vowel
combinations on them.
   3)  
Use old scrabble tiles.  Place two tiles together to make a
vowel combination and then let the students come up with as many words as they can
by adding additional tiles.  Write
all the words down that are created into a list for all the students to see.  For added fun, they can add up all the
numbers on the tiles to gain points. 
   4)  
If you don’t have scrabble tiles, you can purchase
small kitchen or bathroom tiles and write the letters on them with permanent
markers.  If you get the small,
rectangular tiles, they can fit both vowel team letters on one tile.
   5)  
Give the students a newspaper or magazine
article and a highlighter.  Have
them highlight all the vowel combinations they can find.  Then have them write all the words and
as a group read the words aloud and discuss what sound the vowel combination
makes in each word.
If you are looking for more fun ways to teach the vowel
combinations.  Come check out my
downloadable workbook, Vowel Combinations Made Easy.  You can even get a free sampling of the publication!  Click Here 
Cheers, Erica

Compound Word Game, Making Connections, Also Develops Critical Reasoning, Mental Flexibility and Sequencing Skills

Developing language processing skills, critical thinking, mental flexibility, verbal reasoning and sequential processing abilities, is foundational in any elementary education.  What’s more, these lessons need to make the learning process engaging and fun.  I created Making Connections Compound Word Games to address these areas.  Learning specialists, homeschoolers, teachers and parents can now help students develop these skills!  Your students will love these brain teasers!  They can be quite challenging, so this product will offer a lot of fun for students of all ages.  I now even offer a free sampling, so come download it today!

Cheers,