Dr. Warren’s blogger articles on writing.

Number 1 Trick to Improving a Student’s Writing

There are many effective strategies worth instructing that can improve a student’s writing, but my number one, favorite strategy is teaching the effective use of a thesaurus.

What is a Thesaurus? 
A thesaurus is a book or online site that lists words in groups of synonyms or related concepts.

What are the Benefits of Teaching Students to Use a Thesaurus?
Teaching your students or children to use a thesaurus offers many gains and can be used to:

  1. Expand vocabulary – Using a thesaurus helps students increase their usable word choices.
  2. Avoid repetition – Consulting a thesaurus guides students to alternate word choices when they are concerned with the overuse of a single word within their composition. 
  3. Improve writing quality and sophistication – Utilizing a thesaurus assists students to select more appropriate or mature wording.
  4. Select descriptive words – Consulting a thesaurus helps students find more descriptive words that will enable their audience to better visualize their content.
  5. Impress your readers – Utilizing a thesaurus assists students in finding words that can impress their audience.
  6. Nurture a mindful approach – Using a thesaurus feeds an active, thoughtful and analytical approach to writing.
  7. Find words that are difficult to spell – Consulting a thesaurus assists in finding challenging words to spell when you enter a common synonym to the desired word.
  8. Make the writing process fun – Employing the use of a thesaurus is enjoyable.  I have always enjoyed using a thesaurus and find that it has nurtured a personal love for words.

Are There any Problems with Using a Thesaurus?
When used in a passive or rushed manner, students might select words that don’t make sense in a composition or they may overuse the thesaurus and make documents sound awkward and complex.

What are Some Activities I can Use to Help Students Learn How to Use a Thesaurus?

  1. Provide a passage with a lot of word repetitions.  Ask your students to change the repeated words in the passage by using a thesaurus.  Once the students have rewritten the passage, ask the students to read them aloud and discuss the benefits of using a thesaurus.
  2. Highlight boring, simple words in a passage that are difficult to visualize.  With the use of a thesaurus, ask students to rewrite the passage with synonyms that conjure more visuals in the reader’s mind’s eye.
  3. Give your students a list of simple words and ask them to find other words in a thesaurus that are more descriptive.
  4. Ask students to find words in a thesaurus such as the word, “Kind” and ask them to make a list of all the words that they didn’t know that have the same or similar meaning.  They might come up with words such as philanthropic, benevolent, or one that I just learned by looking at the thesaurus – eleemosynary.
  5. Discuss how mindlessly selecting synonyms can get a writer in trouble because many words have multiple meanings. Then provide a game where your students have to take a mixed up list of words.  Ask them to place these words in order based on similar meaning.  For example, Sad = Down = Under = Lesser = Minor = Young = New.  Once the students are finished with the activity ask them to create their own.

I hope you got some good ideas!  If you have any more activities ideas, please share them below this blog.

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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Free Text to Speech Software Can Help Students Edit Papers

Text to speech software is a valuable tool that comes for free on all Mac computers, and now a number of free apps make this technology available at no cost for PC users too.  Text to speech has been used as an accommodation for struggling readers, but did you know that it is also an advantageous device for writers too?  In fact, I often teach my students how to use this technology to help them edit their written language.

What is Text to Speech Software?
Text to Speech software is a form of speech synthesis that converts text to a spoken computerized voice.   This technology was originally created to aid those with vision impairments so that they could hear written text.

How can Text to Speech Help Students Edit Their Writing?
Many students struggle to edit their own work, because when they go back to refine their text, they often glide over mishaps and read it as they meant to write it.  Furthermore, there are many errors that are easy to make but difficult to see.  For example, for many learners simple letter and word reversals are difficult to detect.  If you type the word “from” as “form,” you probably won’t catch this reversal when scanning your document visually.  In addition, many young learners get confused by words that look similar but are pronounced differently such as loose and lose.   Text to Speech allows students to hear the mistakes that they may not see!

How Can I Access Text to Speech on a Mac Computer?

  1. Select the Apple icon on the top left of your screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Click Dictation and Speech.
  4. Click Text to Speech.
  5. Select “speak selected text when the key is pressed” checkbox.
  6. The default for enabling Text to Speech is Option-Esc – or to select a different key, click Change Key, press one or more of the following keys (Command, Shift, Option or Control) together with another key and click OK.
  7. To have your Mac read text aloud, press the specified keys.  To have it stop speaking press the same keys again.  If you want it to read specific text, highlight the text before you select the specified keys.

What Free Text to Speech Apps are available for PCs and Surface Computers?
There are a number of free apps, but my favorites are Read and Write and Natural Readers.

I hope you found this blog post informative.  If you have any thoughts or comments, please share them below this post.

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

Show Don’t Tell 2: A New Descriptive, Suspense Writing Game

Have you ever read a book that you couldn’t put down, because the author’s words allowed you to visualize the scenes as if you had a movie going on in your head? These authors are masters of descriptive writing and have learned to paint pictures in their audiences’ minds eye through the use of descriptive and figurative language.

How Can Descriptive Writing Be Taught to Students?
Many teachers instruct their students to “show” their readers the scenes through rich descriptions, instead of just telling the audience what happens. In fact, a common critique that students might hear is, “Show me; don’t tell me!”

Bringing Games Into the Learning Process:
If you follow me or have purchased any of my products, you probably already know that bringing enjoyment and games into lessons is one of my primary goals.

Due to the popularity of Show Don’t Tell Descriptive Writing Game, which many teachers play in classrooms and homeschoolers use to bring joy into teaching descriptive writing, I have now released a new version that teaches students the fundamentals of descriptive, suspense writing.  My new game, Show Don’t Tell 2, is a multisensory, downloadable and printable game. The purpose of the game is to help young writers learn how to and practice the skill of “showing” readers with the use of descriptive words and figurative language.   This new game also integrates additional types of figurative language, as well as practice with leading words, sensory hints, suspense words, setting the scene and building tension.  Instead of “telling a story” players quickly learn how to vividly describe a dramatic scene or scenario while having fun!

If you would like to learn more or purchase this game, Click Here.

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 www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com www.learningtolearn.biz  

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Developing Writing Skills for Students with Dyslexia

Like reading, writing is a complex process that requires students to multitask.  In fact, all students must master a number of fundamental skills before they can be expected to become competent writers. However, for students with dyslexia, the process can be even more challenging as their learning disability may impact cognitive tasks such as spelling, word finding, as well as the formulation and organization of ideas.

What are the Fundamental Skills Required to Write?
The fundamental skills include:

  • Transferring the inner voice into words on the page – spelling
  • Formulation of letters or typing skills
  • Access to a rich vocabulary and creative ideas
  • Awareness of grammar, sentence structure, and literary elements
  • Cognizance of transitions, and paragraph structure  

What are the Key Features to Consider When Teaching Students with Dyslexia?

  • Help Students Learn to Automaticity: The fundamental skills required for writing must be done simultaneously, therefore, to become efficient and effective writers, many of these tasks must be mastered to a degree of automaticity.  In other words, students should be able to do these tasks with little thought or effort.  If the fundamental skills are not fully learned, student will not have enough cognitive space to unite these skills and write.   
  • Make Learning Multisensory: Integrating as many of the 12 Ways of Learning into your lesson plans will help students’ encode the needed skills.  Here is a free Prezi that reviews these diverse teaching modalities.
  • Include Enjoyable Activities in the Learning Process:  Consider what your students love to do and integrate that into lessons about writing.  For example, if Peter likes to draw, get him to create a story board where he illustrates pictures that represent the sequence of ideas.  If Sue likes balls, consider brainstorming ideas while tossing a ball back and forth.  If legos are popular, place adjectives on red pieces, nouns on yellow pieces, verbs on green pieces and so forth and then have fun joining them to create silly sentences.  Finally, come learn about how to make free word collages and wriggle writing to increase the fun factor.
  • Play Games that Allows Students to Practice their Lessons: Play sentence building games such as DK Games: Silly Sentences and Smethport Tabletop Magnetic Sentence Builders. You can also master grammar skills with games like Grammar Games Glore and the Best of Mad Libs. If you want to develop creative writing abilities consider the writing game Show Don’t Tell.
  • Teach the 5 Ws:  The 5 Ws are questions students can ask themselves when they are trying to formulate the whole story. Who is it about?  What happened?  When did it take place? Where did it take place?  Why did it happen?  If you would like to practice this, consider the game The 5 Ws Detectives.
  • Teach Students to Visualize before Writing: One of the best ways to bring the fun factor into writing is to have students visualize the setting, characters and plot before they begin writing.  Then all they have to do is paint the images with words.  If you need to develop this skill, consider teaching this skills with products like Mindful Visualization for Education.
  • Teach Grammar and Literary Devices: Here are a number of tools that can be used to help students master grammar and literary devices: A Writer’s ReferenceThe Giggly Guide to Grammar Student Edition, Word ShuffleMastering Literary Devices, and Grammar Games Glore.
  • Expand and Develop Vocabulary: There are many tools that can help students to broaden their vocabulary.  Workbooks like Wordly Wise 3000, or free sites like Free Rice, can develop this skill.  What I really love about Free Rice is that students work is reinforced because for each correct answer, the site donates 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.  Also, teaching students how to use a thesaurus to vary word choice and learn new words is a terrific strategy that they will use for the rest of their lives.
  • Teach about Transitional Words, Phrases and Sentences: It is also important to instruct students about transitional words, phrases, and sentences so that their writing is understandable and flows from one idea to the next.  Here is a free transitional word sheet, and if you would like some activities to develop this skill consider Categorizing, Paragraph Building and Transitional Words Activity.
  • Use a Scaffolding Approach:  Like a scaffolding that supports a weak building, adults can help students develop their writing skills by assisting young learners with the process of writing.  For example, if handwriting is labored and monopolizes a student’s attention, acting as a secretary for a student can lessen the cognitive load so that he or she can learn some other aspects of writing such as the development and organization of ideas.  If you would like to learn more about scaffolding, read The Joy of Writing: A Scaffolding Approach.
  • Analyze Good Sentences and Paragraphs:  Look at sample sentences and paragraphs from each student’s favorite books and talk about what makes the author such a great writer.
  • Use Software to Help with the Writing Process:  My favorite products are Kidspiration (for K-3) and inspiration (4-adult).  These two programs help students generate and organize ideas.  They offer the full software for free for one month.
  • Teach the Formula Behind Writing:
  1. Sequence the Steps: It is important to also review the steps required to formula sentences and paragraphs.  Here is a free Prezi that reviews the sequence required to write a 5 paragraph essay.
  2. Teach about Main Ideas and Details:  Each new paragraph introduces a main idea that is then supported with details.  Therefore, teaching students how to formulate main ideas and details is a vital step in teaching the writing process.  I have two games that teach kids how to generate main ideas and details.  The first publication, the Main I-Deer, offers instruction on main ideas and details as well as two games.  The second publication is a game, Hey, What’s the Big Idea.
  3. Provide Graphic Organizers: Graphic organizers help students to visually brainstorm, organize and connect ideas before writing.  There are many sites that offer free graphic organizers to help students with the writing process.  In addition, it’s always a great idea to help students create their own graphic organizers.  Come learn how to create your own templates.

For more information, check out the webinar from the DyslexicAdvantage where they interviewed Dr. Charles Haynes who provides strategies to help students with dyslexia in the areas of writing, sentence building, paragraph cohesion, and word retrieval.

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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Teaching Handwriting: An Important Skill to Master

With the integration of technology into the classroom and limited instructional time, teachers spend less and less time on the teaching of penmanship.  In fact, many schools have stopped teaching script all together.  Instead, the instruction and practice time that was once used to refine printing and cursive skills has been reallocated to other tasks such as keyboarding.

What Are the Long Term Effects of Limited Instruction on Penmanship?
Because young learners are spending less time on penmanship, many students do not fully develop this skill, and their fine motor abilities suffer.  Therefore, when they write, they have to think about letter and word formation, leaving little to no room for listening, the formation of ideas or sentence structure.   In addition, we are seeing a number of adverse effects across areas of academics:

  1. Because student handwriting skills are not fully developed to a degree of automaticity, many students still need to concentrate on penmanship.  As a result, they have less cognitive space to devote to the complicated tasks of listening, writing and solving mathematical computations.  
  2. Note-taking skills suffer as students are concentrating on the act of writing instead of the academic content that the teacher is instructing.
  3. Poor penmanship can result in illegible notes and students can lose points on assignments that are difficult to decipher.
  4. Many students are less motivated to write because the process is labor intensive and tiring for the hand. 
  5. When students have poor penmanship, they are often shy about others seeing their work.
  6. Practicing penmanship also helps to develop fine motor dexterity, and strengthen the muscles of the hand. 
Areas to Focus on When Teaching Handwriting?
  1. Formation of letters: Teaching the proper formation of the letters is key to neat handwriting.
  2. Legibility of Penmanship: Helping students to learn the proper sizing and placement of letters and words is important too.  You might like to check out one of my products: Color Coded Handwriting 
  3. Speed of Penmanship:  Practicing penmanship also helps to increase a student’s ability to form letters quickly.  This can be key to developing comprehensive note-taking skills.

What Can We Do To Make the Process Fun?

  1. Consider the expression: “It’s all in the presentation.”  Be sure to make your activities sound fun.  For example, instead of calling an activity “learning script” or “learning cursive,” consider using a fun, exciting name such as “learning roller-coaster letters.”
  2. Strengthen fine motor dexterity by integrating fun activities such as mazes and coloring into a daily routine.
  3. Get tracing paper and let your students trace images and words.  Also, using carbon paper between an image and a blank piece of paper will allow kids to trace over images and reproduce them on the blank piece of paper.  These activities will also help to develop fine motor skills.
  4. Have fun making a collage of letters.  For instance, when teaching the letter “b,” cut out this letter from magazines and paste them onto a piece of card stock.
  5. Allow students to form letters and words out of fun tactile materials such as sand, marbles, shaving cream, clay and more.
  6. Consider reading my blog post: 5 Strategies that Make Learning the Alphabet a Lot of Fun.
I hope you found this helpful!  I’d love to hear your comments.

Teaching The Joy of Writing: A Scaffolding Approach

For many students writing can be
an overwhelming, taxing chore.   In order
to be proficient, students must be able to manage multiple tasks at one time,
and to juggle these responsibilities, the following must be developed to near
automaticity:
1.    
Conjuring up and organizing ideas.
2.    
Understanding and being able to implement basic
grammar and sentence structure.
3.    
Recording words through legible penmanship or proficient
typing.
4.    
Comprehending and utilizing various literacy
devices.
5.    
Knowing how to spell.
If a student struggles with any of the above tasks, their
writing will likely suffer.
How Can Students
Develop the Needed Skills to Automaticity? 
I evaluate each student’s current writing capabilities and note any difficulties. 
Then the two of us collaborate and write together. 
The student picks the topic.  It could be a story, a research paper, a blog, a book of poetry, a diary, a recipe book…  In fact, I have been known to write 20-40
page documents with young learners that are illustrated and later bound.  
I never came across a student that
didn’t have a wonderful imagination that could be unearthed, and I provide the
support needed so they can get those ideas in writing.  I offer a scaffolding approach, which gifts
the needed backing until the student can do each task on his or her own.  In the beginning, I am doing the majority of the work, but by the end, the student has taken over most of the tasks. This means that I first offer repeated
demonstrations, then I present recurrent verbal reminders – where I think aloud,
and eventually, I pass responsibilities on to them – when they are ready. 
What Are Some Examples of a Scaffolding Approach?    
1.    If spelling, penmanship and typing is a problem, I offer to be the secretary – so I can capture their ideas. 
2.    If organization is a problem, I help the student to shape their approach. 
3.    If sentences are simple and word choice is poor, I teach the student how to use a thesaurus and help him or her to learn how to visualize their ideas and “paint with words.” 
4.    If grammar and sentence structure is poor, I walk the student through the process.  For example if capitalization is a problem, I might say for each sentence.  “I start with a capital letter.”  After ten sentences, I say, “I start with a…” and let them fill in the blank.  Later I ask, “How do I begin my sentence?

5.    If they struggle with thesis statements, topics sentences and supporting details, we weave those concepts into the project.
I do offer three writing games that can also help to bring joy to the learning process.  Five W’s Detectives was created for my beginning writers, Show Don’t Tell helps students to develop creative writing abilities, and Word Shuffle assists students with the mastery of grammar and literary devices.  
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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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Free Visualization Game: For Improved Reading, Writing, and Memory

Developing your student’s ability to visualize can provide them a “secret weapon” that can enhance learning capacity, improve memory and spark creativity.  In fact the research shows that visualization improves reading comprehension, creative writing abilities and the encoding and retrieval of math, history and science concepts.

Free Visualization Game:
I recently
finished a book that reviews the history and research behind visualization and
then provides teachers everything they need to assess and teach this complex
skill.  In celebration, I wanted to share
one of my favorite games, Picture This
and Draw
. The best part about this particular game is it not only develops the capacity to visualize, but works on verbal reasoning, expressive language, visual memory, fine motor integration, spatial skills, attention to details, and the ability to follow directions.  This game is one that I enjoy
playing with my own students.  In fact, I
played it this past week.  
Jenna and I went to opposite sides of the room with two pieces of paper and some colored markers. We each drew images on one piece of paper and then described our pictures in detail on the other piece of paper.  We hid our illustrations and then shared our descriptions with one another.  Our next task was to recreate the images by generating our own visualizations from the words and then drawing it on a blank piece of paper.  Once we finished, we compared the new drawings to the originals and analyzed the results.  
Jenna’s image is depicted to the right.  Please note that it is important to keep images very simple.  Below you will find a full description of the game.
Picture This and Draw:

Materials:
·     
Paper
·     
Colored
pencils or magic markers
Group Administration:
·         
Draw
a simple image, with no more than 3 – 6 very simple elements. 
·         
Have
one student or the teacher describe the image to the other students verbally or
in writing.  Use as many details as
possible. 
·         
Describe
the size, color, number, shape and the location of the objects on the
page. 
·         
Next,
have each student produce a drawing of his or her visualization based on the
description presented. 
·         
Make
sure each student can not see what the other students are drawing. 
·         
When
all the students have finished, share the drawings with the group and discuss
which student’s drawing is closest to the description. 
·         
Discuss
ways the presenter could have done a better job describing the image. 
·         
Review
each drawing and discuss what each student could do to improve his or her
visualizations. 
Individual Administration:
·          
You
can also play this game one-on-one.   
·          
Begin
by going to opposite sides of the room so that each player can not see each
other’s work (each player should have a set of colored pencils or magic markers
as well as two blank pieces of paper). 
·          
On
one page, both players should make very simple drawings with no more than 3 – 6
elements, as in Jenna’s image pictured above. 
·          
Then,
on the other page, each player should describe, in words, the image they drew
with as much detail as possible. 
·          
Next,
the players should share with each other the description of the image they
drew, while still concealing the drawing. 
·          
Each
player reads the other player’s description and completes a drawing based upon
it. 
·          
Finally,
the players compare their images and discuss in what ways improvements could be
made to the written descriptions, as well as the drawings.
If you would
like to learn more about the history of visualization and also access
assessment materials and many other fun activities and games that will teach
this needed skill, please come check out my new publication Mindful Visualization for Education as well as my two Teaching Visualization PowerPoints.


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

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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Midterms and Finals: Free Strategies and Handouts for Success

For many
students, midterms are right around the corner, and learning how to plan for these
comprehensive exams can be key to helping them manage test anxiety and achieve the
desired grades.
What Can Teachers Do to Help Prepare
Students for Midterms and Finals?
     1.     Throughout the Term Encourage
Your Students to Create a “Test Preparation Portfolio”:
·     
Help your students to create
test preparation materials weekly from homework, classwork, notes, handouts and
textbooks. 
·     
Provide
the opportunity for your students to ask questions about prior class content
that creates confusion when they are preparing their portfolio.
·     
Evaluate
each student’s test preparation materials and make recommendations.
     2.    
Communicate
with Your Students About Upcoming Exams:
·     
Inform
your students about the exams well in advance and provide a study guide.
·     
Inspire
your students to organize their materials. 
Evaluate their approach and offer recommendations.
·     
Encourage
your students to create materials such as two column study sheets, index cards,
sets on Quizlet and so forth.  Again, evaluate their resources and offer
recommendations.
     3.     Help
Your Students Estimate the Time Needed to Fully Prepare for Exams:
·     
Urge
your students to come up with the total time they think it will take to prepare
for the test.
·     
Encourage
your students to create a study schedule that designates reasonable time
commitments over a period of time.
     4.     Teach
Your Students to Use Memory Strategies:
·     
Show your students how to use acronyms to encode and retrieve information.
·     
Instruct
your students on acrostics.
·     
Inform
your students how to use images and mental imagery to enhance memory.
·     
Teach
your students how to use hooking strategies. 
·     
For
an in-depth look at memory strategies CLICK HERE.
     5.     Help
Your Students Determine Whether Working With Others or Working Alone is Best for Them and Encourage All Your Students to Share their Finished Test Preparation Materials:
·     
Teach
your students that some individuals do better when they work independently, while others
thrive when collaborating with peers, parents and teachers.
·     
Encourage
students to share their preference to work independently or in groups and
support their choice. 
·     
Help
students, that are empowered by interactions, to form study groups.
·      Allow your students to use some class time to prepare for tests so that you can assist study groups as well as those that choose to work independently.
·     
Encourage
your students to share their ideas, memory strategies and other test
preparation creations with the rest of the class.
     6.     Offer
Strategies that Students Can Implement Once They have Finished Studying:
·     
Teach
your students how to manage stress through deep breathing, stretching, and
mindfulness practices such as meditation.
·     
Urge
your students to get a good night’s sleep before the exam.
·     
Suggest
to your students that they should eat a well-balanced and healthy breakfast the
morning of the exam. 
·     
Encourage
your students to think positively about the test and to visualize their own
success. 
To get a free downloadable copy of the two images at the top of this blog CLICK HERE.
To learn more about test preparation
strategies as well as other helpful learning tools, consider
purchasing Planning Time
Management and Organization for Success
.  This publication
offers methods and materials that guide, and support students in the areas
of learning strategies, time management, planning and organization
(executive functioning skills).  It includes agendas, questionnaires,
checklists, as well as graphic organizers.  You will also find advice
and handouts for reading, math, memory, motivation, setting priorities and
incentives programs.  These materials were created over a ten-year
period for my private practice.  What’s more, the materials
accommodate learners of all ages from elementary to
college.  Finally, I offer a free sample assessment from the publication
too, as well as a free video on executive functioning.  To
Access this Click Here

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  

Free Five Paragraph Essay Instruction

Many students struggle with writing and find the required steps both confusing and overwhelming. However, learning the “formula” behind an excellent essay can make the process of writing a relative breeze!

Engage Your Students in the Creative Process:
I often help my students to develop metacognitive skills by asking them to create their own graphic organizers or manuals that can guide them through the sequence of steps required to complete an activity.  What’s more, when they are apart of the creative process, I find that they are more engaged as well as apt to use and share the resources.

Prezi Makes Learning Fun and Memorable:
Many of our students are masters on computers, and they love to learn about new technologies that can make learning both memorable and fun.  Prezi is an online site that allows anyone to create engaging and dynamic presentations!  They have some wonderful templates, or you can just create your own.  It’s easy to learn and whenever I need help, there is a quick and simple video to answer my questions.  Just this week, I’ve had fun creating some presentations that I have made free to the public.

Here is a link to my Free Five Paragraph Essay on Prezi.  Just click on the image below to view it:

I hope you enjoy it and I would love to hear your 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.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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