Counselor's News

December 2015

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone had a restful and joyful Thanksgiving break. Let's be mindful of those around us that are hurting this holiday season both student and adult. Often times the holidays that are supposed to bring joy and happiness amplify the stress and grief because of economic hardships, family struggles, loss of loved ones etc.

Remember to continue to build those relationships with students and families so that we can help to meet their needs in all areas; academic, social, emotional and physical.

If you have students that are in need of coats, food or extra hugs this holiday please let me know. Mrs. Garvin has forms from the Lion's Club for families needing assistance with Christmas.

10 Strategies to Enhance Students' Memory By: Glenda Thorne

Effective and efficient memory is critical for reading and school success. Here are 10 strategies to help children develop their memories.

1. Give directions in multiple formats

Students benefit from being given directions in both visual and verbal formats. In addition, their understanding and memorizing of instructions could be checked by encouraging them to repeat the directions given and explain the meaning of these directions. Examples of what needs to be done are also often helpful for enhancing memory of directions.

2. Teach students to over-learn material

Students should be taught the necessity of "over-learning" new information. Often they practice only until they are able to perform one error-free repetition of the material. However, several error-free repetitions are needed to solidify the information.

3. Teach students to use visual images and other memory strategies

Another memory strategy that makes use of a cue is one called word substitution. The substitute word system can be used for information that is hard to visualize, for example, for the word occipital or parietal. These words can be converted into words that sound familiar that can be visualized. The word occipital can be converted to exhibit hall (because it sounds like exhibit hall). The student can then make a visual image of walking into an art museum and seeing a big painting of a brain with big bulging eyes (occipital is the region of the brain that controls vision). With this system, the vocabulary word the student is trying to remember actually becomes the cue for the visual image that then cues the definition of the word.

4. Give teacher-prepared handouts prior to class lectures

Class lectures and series of oral directions should be reinforced by teacher-prepared handouts. The handouts for class lectures could consist of a brief outline or a partially completed graphic organizer that the student would complete during the lecture. Having this information both enables students to identify the salient information that is given during the lectures and to correctly organize the information in their notes. Both of these activities enhance memory of the information as well. The use of Post-Its to jot information down on is helpful for remembering directions.

5. Teach students to be active readers

To enhance short-term memory registration and/or working memory when reading, students should underline, highlight, or jot key words down in the margin when reading chapters. They can then go back and read what is underlined, highlighted, or written in the margins. To consolidate this information in long-term memory, they can make outlines or use graphic organizers. Research has shown that the use of graphic organizers increases academic achievement for all students.

6. Write down steps in math problems

Students who have a weakness in working memory should not rely on mental computations when solving math problems. For example, if they are performing long division problems, they should write down every step including carrying numbers. When solving word problems, they should always have a scratch piece of paper handy and write down the steps in their calculations. This will help prevent them from losing their place and forgetting what they are doing.

7. Provide retrieval practice for students

Research has shown that long-term memory is enhanced when students engage in retrieval practice. Taking a test is a retrieval practice, i.e., the act of recalling information that has been studied from long-term memory. Thus, it can be very helpful for students to take practice tests. When teachers are reviewing information prior to tests and exams, they could ask the students questions or have the students make up questions for everyone to answer rather than just retelling students the to-be-learned information. Also, if students are required or encouraged to make up their own tests and take them, it will give their parents and/or teachers information about whether they know the most important information or are instead focused on details that are less important.

8. Help students develop cues when storing information

According to the memory research, information is easier retrieved when it is stored using a cue and that cue should be present at the time the information is being retrieved. For example, the acronym HOMES can be used to represent the names of the Great Lakes — Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. The acronym is a cue that is used when the information is being learned, and recalling the cue when taking a test will help the student recall the information.

9. Prime the memory prior to teaching/learning

Cues that prepare students for the task to be presented are helpful. This is often referred to as priming the memory. For instance, when a reading comprehension task is given, students will get an idea of what is expected by discussing the vocabulary and the overall topic beforehand. This will allow them to focus on the salient information and engage in more effective depth of processing. Advance organizers also serve this purpose. For older students, Clif Notes for pieces of literature are often helpful aids for priming the memory.

10. Review material before going to sleep

It should be helpful for students to review material right before going to sleep at night. Research has shown that information studied this way is better remembered. Any other task that is performed after reviewing and prior to sleeping (such as getting a snack, brushing teeth, listening to music) interferes with consolidation of information in memory.

Thorne, G. (2006). 10 Strategies to Enhance Students' Memory. Metarie, LA: Center for Development and Learning. Retrieved Dec. 7, 2009, from from

Sensory Processing???

So many students seem to be having a hard time regulating themselves in the school environment. One theory is that they have a sensory processing problem. This can be diagnosed by a medical doctor but the symptoms are often seen with many other childhood disorders such as ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

As the weather prohibits us from active play and recess we may see an increase in behaviors related to sensory integration. Also as we plan fun activities and special treats behaviors will escalate. It is better to plan for the worst and be prepared than to be caught off guard!Below is a short video, some classroom tips and a fun (FREE) interactive website for helping ALL students improve behavior through sensory integration.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Dr. Lucy Jane Miller

Managing SPD at School

Tips for teachers to make kids with SPD more comfortable in the classroom.

1. Listening to calming music

2. Fidget toys (even hair elastics) and inflatable cushions for long periods of sitting to help with focus and concentration

3. Chewable jewellery for oral cravings

4. Doing wall push-ups and jumping jacks for physical stimulation

5. Self-brushing in a bathroom stall to provide deep pressure

6. Stretching before and after periods of sitting

7. Scheduled walking and movement breaks

8. Ear plugs/muffs for fire drills and assemblies

9. Special place (front or end) when lining up

10. Classroom seating away from distractions like bright windows or noisy radiators

adapted from

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