TTAC Topics                                                                                                                    April 2015
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Give your students a brain break

You've spent hours preparing a lesson, but 45 minutes into it you notice that students are slouching in their seats, their eyes are wandering the room, and they look bored! How can this be? This anxiety-ridden scenario is a disheartening moment that educators may face in the classroom.

 

Brain breaks are a quick and effective way of changing or focusing the physical and mental state of students. Students should have a one to three minute kinesthetic brain break every 25-30 minutes.  The most effective brain breaks incorporate some level of physical movement in order to stimulate neurological pathways and help the hemispheres of the brain to work together.

 

Before implementing brain breaks in your classroom, be sure to introduce the concept to students, set behavior expectations for the activity and set a time for the activity.


Here are two websites with brain break activities and information:

https://www.gonoodle.com

http://brainbreaks.blogspot.com/

Executive function skills lead to success
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Executive functioning is a set of skills that allows a person to coordinate daily tasks and to be successful with goal directed activities, much like an executive of a large company.  These skills include planning projects, determining how long a project will take, prioritizing assignments, keeping track of items, initiating tasks, retaining information, and shifting attention from one task to another. Many students struggle with developing these skills.

 

There are many strategies and resources available which can help students develop executive functioning skills. Calendars, alerts, binders and timers all help with organization of time and materials. Cloud storage systems such as Google Drive and Dropbox allow students to have access to papers and assignments in multiple locations. Summarizing tools on-line and through Chrome extensions allow information to be condensed. Mobile technologies have enabled students to have strategies for organization available continuously.

 

More information on executive functioning can be found at  Understood.org.  In addition, register now for the April Virtual TechKnowledgy Webinar on April 22 to view  "Technology Tools to Support Executive Functioning Skills" presented by Cheryl Temple, PhD and Lisa Givens, MEd from the Assistive Technology Servieces in Fairfax County Public Schools.

 

 
Check out our AT library resources

All students with disabilities need to access the general education curriculum. For some students with physical or cognitive challenges. the use of assistive technology (AT)  will allow the students to participate in classroom assignments

independently .  

 

Did you know that you can check out AT devices through our lending library for your trial implementation of an AT device?  Our AT library contains communication devices, computer access equipment, text to speech software, word prediction software, and a variety of adapted toys and switches.  If you need assistance with selection of AT devices or strategies, contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our Assistive Technology Program Specialists.

 

Stop by our library to check out these and other instructional resources. Our office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. Can't make it into the office? Some library items can be placed in the mail or delivered to your school.  Call us for more information.

VDOE's Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU 
http://www.ttac.vcu.edu
700 E Franklin Street, Suite 140
P.O. Box 843081
Richmond, VA 23284-3081