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I have a student who has trouble visualizing 3-dimensional shapes, and how those shapes look when rotated (because the shape itself doesn't change), so I had her build some shapes out of paper pieces that were folded in the shapes of the given faces of the object. When she had to manipulate the shapes to correctly build the object, it made more sense to her. Then I had her rotate the completed shape, flip it upside down, so that she can see how the shape moves into different positions but is still the same object. Once she did this, she was able to solve some word problems that didn't make sense to her before, because she had a real hands-on experience of how the shapes were put together, what the "faces" are, and can now visualize them! Now the word problems that give her clues and she has to figure out the shape, she can do with no problem.

When students struggle with writing sentences and putting them together, I have found it is sometimes very effective to teach them how to get some details down first, then go back and think of a good lead, or topic sentence, for their paragraph. I also explain the closing sentence is like putting the bow on a wrapped present; it just "wraps it up" to give it a finishing touch, doesn't add more to the gift, just makes it nicer to look at. I also like to use color coded index cards to help them identify their topic sentence, body, and closing sentence. This strategy helps them visualize and break down the parts of a simple paragraph a little easier.

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