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Showing posts from July, 2017

12 Executive Functioning Strategies for Student Success

Gearing up for the fall, teachers and parents often scour for strategies that can help learners maximize their learning potential, complete assignments on time, and manage their workload. Although, executive functioning is a no brainer for many, planning, time management and organization can be troublesome and bewildering for others. In fact, I work with many bright and capable students that have the intellect, test taking capabilities and desire to acquire top marks, yet missing assignments, lost materials, avoidant behavior and messy backpacks wreck their GPA. Each academic year offers students a fresh start, so providing them the needed resources and support is key!

Students that struggle with executive functioning are often categorized as lazy, unmotivated, and careless. These misnomers couldn't be farther from the truth. Rather, executive functioning skills are not fully developed in the brain until one reaches his or her early twenties, and expecting students to independe…

The Magic of Humor: Bring the Silly into Student Sessions

Reflecting on my best sessions over the past 18 years as a learning specialist, the one common factor was a silly and playful connection. Humor can be a magical tool that can cut through overwhelm, frustration and even feelings of helplessness, thus infusing lessons in light hearted relief and gaiety.  Tears from failure can turn into belly aching laughter, if you can bring wit and whimsy to the table.

How Can Humor Help? Research shows that humor reduces stress and correlates with improved health, resilience, increased life expectancy, and overall well being.  In fact, a number of studies suggest that laughter stimulates the immune system and alleviates the negative effects of stress hormones.

Your Choice of Words Can Impacts Your Students Attitude Pick Playful Lesson Titles: When designing your lessons it is important to bring fun and giggles into the lesson title.  For example, instead of telling your students that they will be working on script or cursive lettering, increase the fun …

Empower Dyslexic Students with Successful Tools and Strategies

Students with dyslexia require a comprehensive approach to learning and strategy based instruction, because many of these capable learners are not accommodated by traditional teaching methods.  In addition to carrying the weight of their cognitive based weaknesses, these young learners work full tilt trying to make sense of taxing instruction. By the time they get home and have to complete their homework, most are mentally exhausted.  As a result, taking away any down time and adding remedial lessons to an already weary and discourage learner can be enough to turn these kids off to learning altogether.


How Can We Help Students with Dyslexia Learn the Core Skills and Strategies Needed to be Successful Learners? First, use a remedial program that is backed by time, testimonials and research.  The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading is a well-established and researched approach that offers a multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, and explicit approach.  There a…

Focusing on the Negative: How Schooling Conditions an Abusive Inner Voice

The current approach in many schools is to focus on the negative. When something goes wrong, such as missing assignments, incorrect answers, or avoidant behaviors, students are often punished with detentions, criticism, demerits and poor marks. In fact, it is difficult to see where we teach students how to build positive character strengths such as resilience, grit, confidence, self-control, curiosity and social intelligence. This overarching focus on the negative can take a toll on student motivation and many learners are also harassed with a negative inner voice that constantly undermines stamina as well as the learning process.
What Have I Been Witnessing in my Practice?
Over the past 15 years in my private practice as a learning specialist, I have witnessed an increase of depression, anxiety, and learned helplessness in my students.  Many of these discouraged learners have identified with and integrated negative labels to describe themselves such as “careless,” “lazy,” “unmotivated,…