student how to use his strong “
Photographic Memory.” This will bring “instant
success” as the student will learn to see a
picture of the word in his head and can
easily spell it forwards and backwards.
This is a surefire way to make a student
feel smart immediately. It transfers the
words into their long-term memory. No
rules. No writing. No memorizing.
Sight word memorization is a piece of
cake for struggling readers by adding visual memory techniques like color, picture, weirdness, humor, and emotion to
the sight words. The extra bonus is that
they will also be able spell the word. Phonics can be taught easily using the practice
of “imbedding.” Imbed the phoneme (au/
aw) directly onto a picture that gives that
sound. The brain receives the information
as a unit, and stores the phoneme and picture together forever. When sounding out
a word with that phoneme they will have
no problem remembering that sound. Almost all students tend to make two years
growth in reading level, in one year, using
this imbedding strategy.
When writing paragraphs, book reports
and short compositions, a successful visual strategy is “Right Brain Webbing.” It
is totally different than traditional webbing. Since the student is able to see the
“whole” paper before writing it, the paper practically writes itself. Once they are
good at this technique, then they can apply this to any writing program. (Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “Right Brain
Webbing” in the subject line for a free
copy of this method.)
Instead of worksheets and black and
white flash cards, memorize math facts
using a totally different approach. Apply
color, picture, weirdness and emotion,
to the multiplication or addition facts.
When teaching math concepts, remember to “model, model, model.” Spend 85%
of your math time showing how to work
a problem on the board. Only 15% of
each lesson would be independent work
on problems. You will see huge progress
and more importantly, happy students.
Study skills for tests
Work with the students studying for a test
by making notes of a history or science
chapter on the white board, using pic-
tures and symbols with blood and ooze
where appropriate, to remember the facts
and chronology of events. These memory
hooks always raise test scores in even the
most struggling student. Success always
follows this extra effort by the teacher.
(To learn how to use these easy alternative teaching strategies, read the articles
on my website, like “Use Both Sides of
Your Brain,” “Right Brain Reading,” and
“Right Brain Writing” and watch the free
You Tube videos. For a live demonstration
of these techniques, see the Teaching the
Right Brain Child DVD.)
Become your Child’s “Thinking
When you become your student’s “
thinking partner,” you view correcting tests
and papers as a teaching tool, rather
than just an end point. For example, if a
student does poorly on a test, instead of
turning the test back to him with a bad
grade, you could refrain from grading it
at all until you have more information.
Take the unmarked test to him, and go
over the questions orally. If you find he
didn’t understand the material, then you
could set up a time to re-teach the part
that he didn’t understand. However, if
you find that he did understand the material, but didn’t mark the correct answer
or follow your directions, you might decide to guide him through his next tests.
He could even take his tests orally with
you until he becomes confident taking
the tests. Show him how to strategize taking tests.
Much good or damage can be done
Smart and Feeling Smart
when correcting a student’s writing as-
signment. To encourage more writing,
consider assigning points for each good
writing strategy in the paper. Avoid
marking mistakes on the paper. You
won’t ignore mistakes but instead, each
week when you prepare to write the next
paper, you can talk about the things you
want to improve on that paper. Instead
of marking spelling errors on the paper,
“harvest” spelling mistakes for the stu-
dent’s personal list to study.
The teaching method used with struggling students makes all the difference in
the world in how they learn, and most importantly, how they feel about themselves
as learners. As a teacher you can use the
same curriculum, but just by changing the teaching method, and avoiding workbooks as a “fill-in” necessity,
you can make a huge difference in the life
of a student. What an opportunity!
I teach continuing education courses
for teachers. In an assignment paper I received from one of my third grade teachers, she wrote about a student she was
working with, using the visual memory
method of teaching multiplication tables.
She wrote that, “Every day Evan would
say things such as ‘I’m so smart;’ ‘I love
this school;’ and ‘My brains are going to
pop out!’” This teacher went on to say
that while using these teaching strategies
with her whole class, “the unexpected joy
was how smart her students began to feel.
This success is addictive!”
Would you like to have your question
featured on “Ask A Specialist?” Just email
me, at email@example.com. I will not be
able to publish all answers, but I will answer all questions personally, via email.
For free Daily Lesson Plans and articles
on alternative teaching strategies, go to
Dianne Craft has a Master’s Degree in
Elementary and Special Education and
is president of Child Diagnostics, Inc. She
has 25 years of experience teaching bright,
hardworking children and teens who have
to work too hard to learn. Dianne uses a
“Three Pronged Approach” to eliminate
learning blocks. To receive a Distance
Consultation (educational and nutritional) with Dianne and her staff, email her.
To see the teaching products she has developed, go to her website and watch some
YouTube clips. Her Right Brain Reading
Program, Spelling, and Math products
have helped thousands of children. www
Plan B is a method of
teaching that involves
teaching practices that
ultimately train the
student to use both sides
of his brain.