Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review #3 / Study Method "PAGE"

Dear Friends:

A book I came across this summer that had a well thought out method in which to study was Student Success Secrets by Eric Jensen. The author uses the acronym PAGE to outline his method.

P: (Prepare)

· Put up a do not disturb sign

· Rid possible distractions (cell phone, TV, etc)

· Have the room at a cool temperature

· Get water to drink while studying

· Organize your materials

· Breathe deeply & relax

· Browse through the material “The brain is poorly designed for brand new big ideas or concepts. But it is very good at nibbling at ideas that become big ideas.” (p. 72)

· Browse about 5 – 30 seconds per page

· Make an outline using titles, subtitles, pictures and key words (later you will add to the outline)

A: (Ask)

· Ask questions – this gets your mind ready to locate answers

· Base your questions on photos, captions, titles, etc.

G: (Gather)

· Read the text / add your notes to an outline or pose new questions

· Put a checkmark in the margin for information you deem important – later you will reevaluate if it is important

E: (Evaluate)

· Browse through the material again to refresh your memory

· Can you discuss each chapter title, topic, etc?

· Review the checkmarks and decide if that information is still important

Kim Turse, M.Ed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What is Processing Speed?

What is processing speed? Processing speed is how quickly one can get information, think about the information, form a response and give the response. Essentially processing speed is how fast one can do a task.

“Decreased processing speed can impair the effectiveness of working memory.” (Flanagan, 2004)

Strategies to improve processing speed:

1) Overlearning/ Improving Fluency: By having the task become automatic this will allow less concentration on the task, which will lessen the amount of time needed to process the


Other possibilities:

· Connect prior knowledge to already known knowledge

· Structured routines

· Additional time

· Peer Buddy / opportunities to participate in collaborative learning

· Have student repeat or summarize information

· Encourage student to become own advocate—ask for help

· Give wait time to allow student to process information at a comfortable rate

· Pair multiple modalities (ex: verbal with a visual cue)

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Take Different Types of Tests

Dear Friends,
Here is a great list of different types of tests put together by Mrs. Turse.  This is a great overview of what might be expected of you.
Best of luck to you.  You will do great!
Kimberly Borin
Kim Turse,
Learning Specialists

     Different types of tests require different study techniques.  To feel success in varying testing situations, students must know the different formats and some techniques to try.

Overall for any test.  You should be able to answer the following questions:
1) When is the test? Write the info. In your planner
2) What will the test cover? (from hand-outs, chapters, or certain pages)
3) What type of test? (there are different ways to approach diff. types of tests – see below)
4) How many questions will be on the test? (helps you know how much each question is worth)
5) Will there be an extra help session, study group or review day in class?
6) If I was the teacher what questions would I ask?
7) Do I have a study plan?  It is better to study a little each day then to cram the night before.  Plan out what and how long you will study each night.-use a calendar to plot it all out—it is good to include extracurricular activities so you can adjust studying each night to fit with outside activities

True/False Questions Strategies
Read the entire question – the first half could be correct and the 2nd half could be false
Decide if the sentence is a fact or opinion – if it is an opinion then it is false
Watch out for the words always and never – USUALLY these indicate false statements because they are pointing out exceptions to most rules

Multiple Choice Strategies
Fully read the question – do stop part of the way through
Read all the choice – one could work, but there could be an even better choice
Try not to spend too much time on any one question
Anticipate what you believe could be the answer prior to reading the choices and see if what you thought of is in the answer section
Watch the words all of the above and none of the above – for all of the above ALL choices must work, for none – none of the answers are correct

Essay Questions
Read all of the directions – maybe you don’t have to answer all the essay questions, maybe you have to include a certain number of words, etc.
If the test is timed – figure out how much time you can devote to each essay question in order to finish on time
Jot down a few brainstorming ideas in order to focus your thoughts
After writing your piece, check it – does what I am trying to say come out clearly?

Matching Tests
Understand the directions – can words be used more than once?
Cross off answers as you use them

Fill in the Blank
Scan the test and do the questions you are absolutely sure of first
Use the context words (words around the blank) for clues
Cross off words as you use them
After making a selection – reread the statement to see if it makes sense

Understanding the Eight Multiple Intelligences

Dear Friends,
     Below is an overview of the different intelligences and ways to study that are connected with each type of intelligence. The information is based on Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences and was taken from the sources below:

Interpersonal Intelligence/People Smart
Overview: These individuals are good with communicating.
Methods of study:
Form a study group
Cooperative learning project
Someone quizzes you
Peer tutor someone else
Role play / simulations
Interview someone knowledgeable about the subject
Video conferencing
    Intrapersonal Intelligence/Self Smart
    Overview: These individuals are good with analyzing and self reflection.
    Methods of study:
    Journaling about what you learned
    Connect the material being learned to your life
    Imagery (memory technique)
    Retype notes
    Needs quiet during study – no interruptions
    Brainstorm test questions and answer the questions
    Design a practice test and do it
    Study alone
    One on one tutoring
    Take breaks and use relaxation techniques

    Kinesthetic Intelligence/Body Smart
    Overview: These individuals are good with movement.
    Methods of study:
    Act out what is being learned
    Connect to real life
    Use manipulatives / computer games
    Take a walk while studying / kick a soccer ball, etc.
    Use different writing implements to recopy notes (computer, dry erase, pens, colored pencils, etc.)
    Squeeze a relaxation ball (Koosh) while studying
    Need breaks to move and refocus /relaxation techniques to decrease mental fatigue
    Hands-on activities
    Build a model
    Interact with others when studying
    Link a movement to something you are studying
    Move to different rooms to study different sections of the material

    Linguistic Intelligence/Word Smart
    Overview: These individuals are good with words.
    Methods of study:
    Take notes while reading or listening / recopy notes
    Keep a journal of what you learned
    Discussion groups / Study groups
    Reread information into a recording device
    Underline key words
    Say / hear / see words/ information
    “Read, Write, Talk, Listen” is the motto of this intelligence
    Write reports / poems / essays
    Teach others
    Retell stories
    Write and answer ?s you believe the teacher will ask
    Word games
    Books on tape
    Talk to self while studying “self talk” method

    Logical – Mathematical Intelligence/Number Smart
    Overview: These individuals are good with math & logic.
    Methods of study:
    Put information into graphs or charts
    Roman numeral outlining method
    Divide information into categories / patterns
    Use timelines
    Write out step by step processes
    Do experiments
    Find cause & effect relationships
    Mind mapping (Example of a mind map:

    Musical Intelligence/Music Smart
    Overview: These individuals are good with rhythm.
    Methods of study
    Create a rap, song, rhyme for the information to be learned
    Link sounds to materials that need to be remembered
    Listen to music in the background – classical without words works best
    Clap or snap a rhythm with information
    Multimedia presentations

    Naturalist Intelligence/World and Nature Smart
    Overview: These individuals are good with connecting to the natural world.
    Methods of study:
    Webbing – graphic organizers
    Summarize material with bullet points
    Find patterns between information
    Talk to a pet – like you are teaching them the material
    Color coding / highlighting
    Connect class material to real life

    Spatial Intelligence/Picture and Art Smart
    Overview: These individuals are good with images.

    Methods of study:
    Sketch pictures to go with notes
    Connect visual images with vocabulary words
    Graphic organizers
    Color coding system / highlighters
    Create posters
    Make models / charts / drawings
    Say / Copy / look method for spelling
    Mind mapping
    Example of a mind map (

         Just by looking at the list, you may find study habits that are familiar to you as well as some you would like to try. What is most important is to find the study habits and ways to learn that work for you and will help you to learn for the rest of your life.

    Thank you!
    Kim Turse,
    Learning Specialist

    Multiple Intelligence Theory -
    Howard Gardner -
    Literacy Works -

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Book Review #2/ Studying, Memory and Focus

    Dear Friends:
    I would like to share with you another book that I found interesting and full of important information. The book is titled, Study Smart, Study Less by Anne Crossman. It was published in 2011 by Ten Speed Press. The book emphasizes one of the important points that I am trying to stress this year – everyone has different talents and that “success requires work” (p. 1). In the beginning of the text, the three types of memory are discussed.
    Short – Term Memory: can hold +/- 7 pieces of information for a few seconds
    Working Memory: actively thinking about information – able to hold the information for a few extra seconds
    Long-Term Memory: can hold information from a couple of days or the rest of your life
    I love the equation that they put in the book to illustrate how to simply understand memory.
    Input + Output = Short-Term memory
    Input + Output + Review = Long-Term memory
    The more practice one has with the information, the more pathways to long-term memory the brain is making. Additionally the practice of using as many senses as possible in the learning process will increase the likelihood that the information makes it to long-term memory. To save studying time, one needs to understand what type of learner they are. Once this is known, then specific strategies can be utilized that work with a person’s natural strengths. Outside of my office, in the Hillard building, is a bulletin board dedicated to determining one’s strengths and the studying strategies connected to each type of learner. Feel free to stop by and pick up the resources.
    Another piece of information that the book presented, that I feel is important, deals with focus. Some valuable tips on how to increase one’s focus:
    *eat peppermints – peppermints have been connected to improved memory
    * decrease consumption of caffeine
    * rubber band snap – when one feels they are losing focus, gently snap a rubber band on your wrist
    *yawn as many times as you can in one minute
    * get enough sleep – the brain needs time to digest the information and to reboot
    Figuring out what works best for you as a learner can sometimes feel like a battle. But just remember “it is a natural and normal part of the learning process to feel frustrated by new subjects or skills, and it’s that struggle that actually makes us smarter and stronger.” (p. 93)
    Kim Turse, M.Ed.

    PIRATES Test Taking Strategy

    Dear Friends,
         Below is a Test Taking Strategy for students.  Take a moment to look at this simple list of ideas - that spell out "Pirates."
    Good Luck!
    Kimberly Borin
    Kim Turse,
    Learning Specialists

    “PIRATES” / Test Taking Strategy

    P: Prepare to Succeed
    Put name and pirates on your test
    Decide on order will do test and time
    Give self a pep talk
    Start within 2 minutes

    I: Inspect the Directions
    Read instructions carefully
    Highlight or underline key words

    R: Read, Remember, Reduce
    Read the entire question
    Remember what you have studied
    Reduce (eliminate choices)

    A: Answer or Abandon
    Answer the question
    Abandon the question for later

    T: Turn back
    Go back to abandoned questions – make educated choices

    E: Estimate
    Avoid absolutes (all, always, every, no, none, never, only)
    Eliminated similar choices

    S: Survey
    Survey to make sure all sections are answered
    Switch an answer only if you are sure

    Based on method developed by Hughes, Schumaker, Deshler & Mercer:
    Hughes, C., Schumaker, J. Deshler, D. and Mercer, C. (1993).The Test-Taking Strategy. Lawrence, KS; Edge Enterprises, Inc.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Key Words for Test Taking

    Dear Friends,

         Kim Turse put together a great list of words to use as a guide in understanding the directions to a test.
    Good Luck to you!

    Kimberly Borin
    Kim Turse
    Learning Specialists

    Here are the key words for test taking:

    Key Word
    What Should I Do?

    Give the characteristics and qualities about the subject

    Tell all you know about the subject that is connected to the question

    State / Define
    “Briefly describe” with minimal elaboration

    Divide the subject into parts and examine the elements of each

    Briefly tell the sequence of steps / pieces that make up the whole

    Design a starting point and create a logical pattern leading to a conclusion

    Look at the development or events from a start point to an end point

    Outline / Summarize
    Tell the overall theme and give the main points

    Diagram / Sketch / Illustrate
    Present a visual with labeled parts

    Compare / Contrast
    Give the likenesses and differences

    State the subject in simpler terms

    Explain with significant examples

    Adopted from the books: Making the Grade (Grassick, 1983)  and How to Take Tests (Millman & Pauk, 1969)

    Brain-Based Learning

    Dear Friends,
         You may have been hearing a lot about "Brain-Based Learning" and wondering what it is all about.  Brain-Based Learning is a newer field in education and helps us to understand how our brains learn best.  This field of study has grown and has been shaped by neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and educators like Howard Gardner, Ph.D. who have helped us to expand our ideas of learning.
         Brain-Based Learning helps us to understand the optimum conditions needed for students to learn.  This philosophy of learning instructs us on how to give the brain and the person, the best environment for learning. 
         Brain-Based Learning also informs us about the development of the brain, neural plasticity (how the brain adapts to change), basic brain physiology, and how we can use more of our brain.  In this field we are reminded that sensory information, teacher communication, classroom environment, kindness, and less stress matters when it comes to learning.  This is a paradigm shift in understanding the way we learn.
         There is much to share about Brain-Based Learning.  On this blog we will share some resources as well as some practical tips for studying and learning.  Brain-Based Learning is being infused into classrooms, professional development centers, corporate training rooms, and hospitals too.  This knowledge is helping everyone to learn in ways that are more compatible with their brain (and their being) too!
    Stay Tuned!

    Kimberly Borin,
    Learning Specialist

    Web Resources Used
    Eric Jensen’s Website on Brain-Based Learning
    Eric Jensen’s Principles of Brain-Based Learning –
    Brain Based Learning and Cognitive Enhancement –
    Dr. Leslie Owen Wilson’s site on Brain Based Education

    Resource Books Used
       Dennison, P.E., and Dennison, G.E. (2010). Brain Gym, Teacher’s Edition.  Ventura, CA: Hearts at Play.
       Elias, M.J., and Arnold, H. Eds. (2006). The Educator’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
       Jensen, E. (2008). Brain-Based Learning, The New Paradigm of Teaching.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
       Jensen, E. (2003). Student Success Secrets. NY: Barron's Educational Series.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Book Review #1 / Study Skills

    Dear Friends:
    This summer I had the opportunity to read the book, The Everything Guide to Study Skills by Cynthia C. Muchnick. The book was published in 2011 by Adams Media in Massachusetts. It gave wonderful ideas for students on how to implement methods for success into practice. Below are some of the ideas I wanted to pass along:
    · Study Groups / Partners: This is a study strategy that can increase the engagement of the brain. Different parts of the brain become stimulated when talking with others. When the brain is more engaged on an interactive level then it is making more connections than when one is studying alone. These connections will assist with moving the material into long-term memory.
    · Body Language: Make sure to try and sit as close to the speaker as possible when in class. The physical proximity to the speaker will increase an individual’s attention to the material. Sit up straight; slumping in your seat will increase your sleepiness because your body feels like it is resting.
    · Study Time: A trick the book mentioned was to move up the actual deadline in your planner and in your head. This will allow you to have the work completed prior to the original deadline.
    · Effective Reading: The book emphasized the need to become an effective reader. In order to be an effective reader you need to be an active reader. Some suggestions on how to be an active reader:
    ~Know where you are headed and why: Set a purpose for reading
    How is the information fitting into the overall subject or course topic you are studying?
    How does this material build upon past information?
    ~Outline as you read: This will allow you to be an active participant and when you are finished you have a study guide to use later.
    ~ Key terms: Paraphrase the book’s definition by putting the definition into your own words.
    ~ General Themes: Notice the author’s opinion and ideas that are mentioned more than once.
    ~ Response: After reading, think about what was just read. Write a response which should simply be your reactions to what was read (not a summary).
    This serves merely as an overview of some of the material that I found useful for students, but the book is an easy read for both students and parents. It offers much more information than I was able to include in this blog, and I encourage your exploration of the material. Happy Learning!
    Kim Turse, M.Ed.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    What Are Multiple Intelligences?

    Dear Friends,
         Mrs. Turse has put together some comprehensive handouts about Multiple Intelligences. She has offered a great overview of the theory as well as specific information about each intelligence. I will post all of the information on this blog.
         The theory behind Multiple Intelligences was developed by Howard Gardner, Ph.D., a professor within the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Gardner expanded what we know about intelligence. Historically, intelligence was based on an IQ test and score. Dr. Gardner helped us to understand that there are many different types of intelligence that might not always be measured by an IQ test.
         These intelligences include:
    • Interpersonal Intelligence
    • Intrapersonal Intelligence
    • Kinesthetic Intelligence
    • Linguistic Intelligence
    • Logical/Mathematical Intelligence
    • Musical Intelligence
    • Naturalist Intelligence
    • Spatial Intelligence

         Dr. Gardner believes that we all possess the range of intelligences listed, but to varying degrees. Everyone learns differently because each person is working with a different combination of intelligences. When we work to strengthen any one of the intelligences, all of them become strengthened as well. When you understand your strengths, you understand how you learn best and can adapt your learning and studying to match your intelligence.
         For example: If your strength lies within intrapersonal intelligence, the best way for you to study might be to journal about what you learned, study in a quiet place with no interruptions, work one on one with a tutor, or connect the material you are learning to the experiences within your own life. Understanding yourself as a learner can enhance your instruction and self-esteem. You may want to check out some of the resources below and even take the quiz to determine your strengths!

    Other resources include:
    A Quick Quiz To Determine Your Intelligence:
    Multiple Intelligence Theory -
    Howard Gardner -
    Literacy Works -
    New Horizons for Learning, Page on Multiple Intelligences:

    We hope that you find this information helpful!
    Kimberly Borin and Kim Turse
    Learning Specialists

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Valuable Items to Have in Your Study Space

    Dear Friends,
         In order to avoid the need to leave your work space and waste valuable study time searching for needed items - why not pull all the items you need and leave them at your work space? Below is a checklist that will get you started along the process of pulling together study items:
    1. well-lit desk or table
    2. stapler / staples
    3. crayons/colored pencils/markers
    4. white out
    5. tape
    6. paperclips
    7. paper (lined and graph)
    8. calculator
    9. large wall / desk calendar
    10. pens / pencils
    11. pencil sharpener
    12. timer (should work for 15 - 30 min. and then give about a 5 minute break)
    13. reference sources (dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, etc.)
    14. computer (use for your work - don't let it become a distraction!)
    Happy Studying!

    Kimberly Borin and Kim Turse
    Learning Specialists

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Web Resources About Learning Differences

    Dear Friends,
         I wanted to share a few on line resources that offer information about learning differences and more.  There are so many to choose from, but you may want to check out some of the ones below - they offer quick, helpful information.
    I hope they may be of help to you!
    Kimberly Borin
    Learning Specialist

    Edutopia, Project Zero, and More

    Dear Friends,
         Whenever I want to know what is happening on the cutting edge of education there are a few sites I review.  Among them are:
    Edutopia -
    New Horizons for Learning -
    Project Zero -

        The Edutopia site was created by George Lucas and contains amazing blogs, articles, and collaborative projects with educators from all over the world.  If you visit the website, I guarantee you will be inspired about what is possible in education and the amazing global connections that students and teachers are making.
         The New Horizons for Learning site is connected to Johns Hopkins University and has very interesting articles, teaching ideas, and research about what is helping students.  I particularly like this link: which focuses on neuroscience and what we have learned about the brain - and how to teach it!  The articles are very encouraging and give us a new view of how to teach everyone.
         Project Zero was created by Howard Gardner, Ph.D. and is part of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Dr. Gardner is also the creator of Multiple Intelligences and the idea of intelligence revealing itself in many different ways.  His website is: The Project Zero website is also a place that is continually pushing the boundaries of what we know, how we teach, and how to best empower our students and teachers.  
         I have become particularly interested in a book that was written by the Principal Investigator of Project Zero, Veronica Boix Mansilla and co-authored by Anthony Jackson.  The book is called, Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage. This book offers a skill set that we can bring to our teaching to help students not only connect with the world but also engage, take action, and make a difference in the lives of others.  The list of competencies is fascinating and takes the ideas of character education to another level!
         I hope you have a few moments to check out some of the links - they will stretch what you know about education.

    Wishing you a wonderful day - filled with inspiration and new learning!
    Kimberly Borin
    Learning Specialist