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NYC

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This article moved me. I wish we could get this information to all teachers because every student of every learning style would be helped. Does anyone have a recommendation of a wonderful educator that works with teens in NYC, using this approach? I need this sort of assistance for my child. I hope someone can help!

Knowing the brain

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These are great suggestions that educators and students alike would find beneficial if applied in every classroom. I am an Educational Therapist with the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD) as well as a former classroom teacher. I can attest to the effectiveness of these teaching strategies. It is important that teachers know the brain and how it works to aid them to be the most effective in their students' education and lives. I especially appreciate the emphasis Dr. Willis puts on modeling higher thinking skills. Some students learn those skills more quickly than others. Those with learning disabilities have a much harder time learning them, so modeling and providing many opportunities to practice these skills is essential.
Learning how the brain works and how memory is strengthened is fascinating and of great importance. I encourage educators - and parents, to learn more about how the brain works. With this valuable knowledge they will have better understanding and more tools to help them teach and communicate with their students and children.

I work as a school coach for

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I work as a school coach for an alternative education program called Diploma Plus. Typically, our students are over-aged, under-credited, and experience extreme poverty. Our program promotes competency learning through performance based learning systems. As a coach, I struggle with changing the classroom teacher's deep rooted belief that all of the above are reasons why our students "can't get it." I have been following your blog on Edutopia and believe your tips on how to develop executive function are what our teachers need to understand and implement in order for our youth to become engaged with learning. Thank you for your work. I look forward to digging more deeply into your materials. Nancy Cruse School Coach Diploma Plus, Inc.

Middle School Dance Teacher from Bermuda/Graduate Student

Right On Time

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During the past few weeks, I've been stressing about what I need to do to help more of my students remember what I teach them. We have so much fun in class, and they are well engaged at the time, but when they return two days later, it is like they are clean, blank canvases. It has been baffling, until now. Reading this blog truly gave me a sense of relief that I'm not such a failure, and it refueled my desire and determination to keep striving for my students' success in learning. I will surely try the strategies. Thanks so much!

High School Special Education Teacher from Baltimore, Maryland

As a Special Education

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As a Special Education teacher, I see many students with learning disabilities who have formal assessments completed that show they have weaknesses in executive functioning. Honestly, if all students were tested, probably a majority of them would have similar results! At the high school level, I am often frustrated when students do not have these skills (thinking to myself, "Who was their elementary/middle school teacher?" but knowing it wasn't the teachers' fault). I think the key component, which was highlighted here, is for students to apply their learning so that they internalize the skill. Teachers should always be prepared with an answer to the student's "why?" questions. Additionally, a student's application really should be something that is relevant to their immediate lives, as they often have a difficult time of thinking about the importance of the future or abstract concepts.

I am looking forward to exploring/utilizing the TregoEd tool with my students - thank you for sharing, Sandra!

Graduate Student/Substitute Teacher from upstate New York

I have always tried to put

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I have always tried to put meaning into everything students are learning in order to stimulate some interest and encourage them to invest themselves into each lesson. I am always waiting for students to ask questions I asked about my education through college such as, "Why are we learning this?" or "When will I use this in real life anyways?" If I do not ask myself the same questions I too will be viewing lessons I teach as having no actual value. I agree there needs to be as much critical thinking as possible, especially in this day and age with everything being electronic and dependence being formed upon such devices. The more students look into why something is rather than only what is will help them develop critical thinking beyond the classroom.

High School Math Teacher

Critical Thinking in the Math classroom

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In my years of teaching high school math, one of the common challenges that I face each day is that the students have a hard time thinking critically. They tend to skip problems that they don't know how to do immediately. They don't want to put forth the effort to really think about how to do the problem. I agree that we need to make the learning relevant to them so that it gives them more of a desire to try. Making the learning relevant will take more time initially, but it will pay off in the end. If we can get them to a point where they think critically, then new concepts will be easier for them to learn. You have given some great strategies as well as the explanations for why they work.

Elementary Special Education teacher

Specific Learning Disabilities Teacher K-6

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So often children with Learning Disabilities make strong gains in the academic areas and when reassessed, look like everything is just fine. Then they reach that middle school level and don't have these organizational pieces for keeping up with the demands of the increasing need to plan, prioritize, organize, and revise those plans. When they can't keep up the pace of their peers, this really affects their self-confidence and esteem which in turn affects them lifelong. I thought you had some great ideas for practicing that piece of the puzzle.

K-5 Special Education Teacher

I love the ideas that are

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I love the ideas that are offered here. As a special education teacher I am always looking for ideas for my students to interalize information. Learning Disabled children tend to struggle with memory. Getting students to think critically is difficult to do. Engaging them in activities and situations that require deeper thoughts is a great way to develop some long term memory storage. Critically thinking is a life skill not just a academic book skill. It is something students will need their entire lives whether they are facing academic school based tasks or real life experiences. It is our job as educators to prepare them for their futures.

6h grade science teacher from Georgia

You have provided many

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You have provided many important teaching strategies to promote critical thinking among our students. Many times, teachers concentrate on teaching the basic knowledge and content necessary to master given standards, and then expect students to be able to apply that knowledge, forgetting to provide the support needed to transfer the newly acquired knowledge into real world situations. Great suggestions - I will definately add some of these to my repertoire of strategies!

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