Author Archives: Carrie Shaw

How Computers Change the Writing Process

Recently, while perusing the internet, I found this interesting article about how computers changed the writing process for people with learning disabilities. It was written by Richard Wanderman.  I was taken back by how much Richard and I agreed with this concept.  As an educator who has taught students how to type for the past 16 years, it was refreshing to see this concept finally taking center stage! Richard was an adult with learning disabilities when he discovered how important it was to work on a computer to write instead of using the pencil and paper mode.  As he says, “In fact, if I didn’t write with a computer I wouldn’t be able to share this article with you because I wouldn’t be able to record, work with, and share my ideas and I wouldn’t know from personal experience how … Read More

WHY JOHNNY CAN’T TYPE

“Johnny” from Massachusetts is your typical 10 year-old.  The oldest of four, his mother “Susan” has stressed the importance of a well-rounded education from the time Johnny and his siblings were old enough to attend preschool.  She’s a supporter of the new federal Common Core Curriculum guidelines as a way to fundamentally improve the basic skills students will need to succeed in the real world.  Susan also sees education as a parent-teacher partnership and has always been on the lookout for ways to reinforce Johnny’s in-school studies with books, games, and exercises that will give him the skills he’ll need to pursue a successful career. Early on, Susan recognized the importance of the computer to her son’s education and development and tried to incorporate the latest electronic software into his after-school day.  There was only one problem.  Johnny didn’t know … Read More

Make Your Kids Responsible For Their Actions

Make Your Kids Responsible for Their Actions By Jim Fay A joke hit the Internet recently. The problem is that it is not a joke. It’s a serious concern to all those who work with today’s youth. A high school staff met to design the perfect recording for their telephone answering machine. The staff looked at several possibilities and finally agreed on the following: To lie about why your child is absent – Press 1 To make excuses for why your child did not do his work – Press 2 To complain about what we do – Press 3 To swear at staff members – Press 4 To ask why you didn’t get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you – Press 5 If you want us to raise your child – Press … Read More

Handwriting vs. Keyboarding–from a Student’s Perspective

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. Every year, she has her 4th grade students compare handwriting speed to keyboarding speed.  Here are some of the results from the students who thought keyboarding was more useful than handwriting. Can lose your paper pencils break, erasers disappear, points get dull. Then, I have to take time to get a replacement. Never happens with a keyboard. hand never gets tired eyes must constantly move from sheet to pencil. Once I’ve memorized the keys, I don’t have to do that anymore you can only get so fast at handwriting–say, 45 wpm. Most students will exceed that speed with typing. Lots of people type 65 wpm. I type 120 (well, not anymore because of my arthritis). In the big picture, the average student will never handwrite as fast as keyboard Erasing … Read More

Teacher Conferences will be here before you know it!

I can hear it now….why isn’t ‘Johnny’ progressing in his work?  Why can’t he take good notes?  Why can’t he keep up in class? Well, you are not alone if you hear those words!  As parents, we go into overdrive to solve these problems.  We don’t like to see our kids struggling.  We see that look of defeat on their faces and it drains us-we hate to hear them say, “I’m just not smart”! There are many answers for those questions.  I can help in the written communication aspect of learning.  Writing is an important skill for ALL students.  However, some students find writing extremely difficult to learn and to master.  As the Director of an educational program at the Ben Bronz Academy in Ct. I worked with many students who had a hard time manipulating a pencil/pen.  We introduced … Read More

A Simple Solution for a Struggling Student!

Yesterday I visited a friend whose child just started 4th grade. He was at the kitchen table doing his ‘homework’. The assignment was to write about his summer vacation. The first thing I noticed was the look on his face as he contorted it in frustration. I wondered where this struggle was coming from so I watched him…There it was! The dreaded “pencil syndrome!” He was gripping the pencil in an unusual way and had a hard time forming the letters. His eraser was getting a good workout! He was fumbling, stumbling and bumbling his way through the paper. Of course, the meltdown came half way through the paper and the mom started finishing it for him!!! Unfortunately, this is NOT an uncommon occurrence! There are many different motor skills that go into writing. Writing is an important skill to … Read More

10 Tips for a Successful School Year by Pat Howey, Advocate

Question: Help! School is starting. I want to make sure I have done my homework so this year is better than last year. Answer: You need to view your role as your child’s “case manager.”  You need to be watchful, even when things appear to be going well. Here are ten tips to help you get off to a good start at the beginning of the new school year. 1. Help Your Child Deal with Transitions. Is your child making the transition from preschool to kindergarten, from elementary to middle school, or from middle school to high school? Plan to take your child to visit the new school or classroom before the first day of school. 2. Reread your child’s IEP. Do you understand what the school agreed to provide? Do your child’s teachers understand what they are to provide? … Read More

The Keyboard Interface and Dyslexia

I always find it so interesting when a student describes an educational break through to me.  Once they describe their solution to their struggle I wonder why an educator or parent didn’t think of it first! Read how Yishay Garbasz went from “Handwriting” to “Fingertyping” and how it helped him facilitate his dyslexic writing process. “A few years ago, when I exchanged pen and paper with a monitor and a keyboard I went through a change that was more than the significant but obvious advance in technology. I changed something very basic in my dyslexia, or rather in my dyslexic existence. Of course the first noticeable difference was my handwriting.  It was clear and easy to read.  I now call this my “fingertyping”. For the first time in my life others, as well as me, could actually read what I … Read More

A Simple Tool for Dyslexic Students

Stefan is an incredible 12 year old who’s intellect far surpasses his age. He has dyslexia BUT when he learned to type at a computer keyboard using Keyboard Classroom, he found his learning disorder went away. He no longer mixed up his B’s and D’s and P’s and Q’s. The keyboard wouldn’t let him. His Mom says it has opened up a whole new world of opportunities and that once he received a Laptop for note taking in school, he has had NO problems keeping up with his classmates! See his story at: Stefan’s Story Keyboard Classroom is a unique typing program designed by educators at a school for learning disabled students.  Go to Keyboard Classroom to learn more about this simple solution!    

The Reason your Student is NOW Smiling!

As parents it’s so hard to peek into a room and see your child struggling with their homework!  We know something has to be done to relieve some of this pressure on our child but where do we turn? My first suggestion would be to look for an ‘intervention’  as soon as possible!  To be clear, an Intervention is a planned set of procedures that are aimed at teaching a specific skill to a student.  It’s more than a single lesson and less than an entire curriculum. Deciding what intervention option to use should not be made lightly. It will take much contemplation on what is the best for your child, what your finances will allow, and if you are willing to carry through with any of these choices. As a parent I did two things that made a big … Read More