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Everyone has had the odious experience of studying notecards for vocabulary. Sometimes the process of making the cards is so tedious that they never get reviewed for study. I've made notecards for myself many times that have remained stationary on my desk to collect dust until long after the test. Yesterday as I was making a set of notecards for a student with fine motor skill challenges, I examined last week's dusty cards on his desk and had a new thought! Personal connections make the world go around. Why do we memorize long lists of vocabulary words without making those important connections? On these new cards I wrote a very brief definition (no more than 5 words) and left plenty of space for him to make his own connections. He made connections to his pets, his family, his friends, and his community. These connections made it easier for him to recall the words and really understand situations in which he could use them. In times past, teachers have asked students... read more

Today I was working with a student. I've been meeting with him for a while, so I am used to some of his responses. We both think lame jokes are funny. Today his responses were slow, and he seemed to be retaining less than usual. When he was answering multiple choice questions with the response "ok," I knew something was up. After the session, while discussing plans for the afternoon, he revealed that he had stayed up late the night before and would be napping before his next class. It reminded me how important sleep is! Learning is nearly impossible if you haven't given your body adequate rest and resources! Sleep well and don't skip breakfast!

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