Oct 012013

Mini Time Tracker for faster working speed

A slow work speed means it can take your child forever to complete a lesson or his homework.

In researching proven solutions to improve slow work speed when completing school work, I found this cool little mid-tech assistive technology gadget:

The Learning Resources Time Tracker Mini

How can this be used to increase your child’s work speed?

Here’s a little bit of educational insight about how timing lessons can help your child learn more efficiently:

Research by Hermann Ebbinghaus shows the first thing and the last thing in any lesson is what students are most likely to remember. Everything else in the middle of a lesson is “interference” and less apt to be remembered.

Therefore, the best practices in instruction say that learning should take place in short segments with frequent non-instructional breaks such as a Brain Gym break, a lean protein snack break, a nap or rest break. Taking a non-instructional break allows your child’s brain to continue processing the content that was just covered in the lesson.

Recommended learning segments should be 15-30 minutes. If your child has a slow work speed in the completion of his lessons and does not have a slow processing speed (with a neurological basis), you can use this timer to challenge your child to increase his work speed. Tell your child, “See how much you can get done before the timer goes off!”  You can make a game of working quickly.

The more work your child can get done in 20-30 minutes, the better you’ll both feel about the progress in his educational day. You can establish great incentives or rewards for reaching certain working milestones.

For example, if your child usually completes about three or four math problems in 30 minutes, you can challenge your child to see if he can work six problems in 30 minutes. Set the timer and GO! If your child reaches the agreed upon goal, let him skip the rest of that day’s lesson, play a game with him, give him a dollar, a lollipop, or some other incentive.

I’ll tell you a secret: If your child completes his work in 30 minutes and you give him the rest of the problems off for today, he’ll be motivated to meet tomorrow’s goal.  Thus, less work today is a great incentive to meet each subsequent goal, which is one or two more problems than the prior day.

Over time using a timer-based incentive, your child is more likely to develop a habit of working more quickly.  The goal is for your child to complete any subject in two 30 minute segments each day, for a total of an hour spent on each subject.  An hour is a good target amount of time each day–30 minutes for the lesson and learning and 30 minutes of practice problems.

While there is no guaranty your results with your child will be fabulous, if your child is one who is inspired by a challenge, The Learning Resources Time Tracker Miniimprove Slow Work Speed may be a good solution for improving your child’s slow work speed.

Time Tracker Mini Product Description

The two best things about this electronic timer versus a traditional timer are:

1) No ticking, and

2) A preliminary warning that time is nearing an end.

How the Timer Helps Slow Work Speeds

“Time Tracker Mini is a unique, multi-sensory timer that offers visual and auditory cues, including a warning alarm that supports transitions. Manage everyday activities and tasks while fostering your child’s independence and accountability.

“Learning Resources’ Time Tracker Mini enhances self management and independence skills, and is great for reminders. The Timer facilitates transitions by providing a warning cue to indicate an end of an activity, thus helping your child to predict and prepare. Features red for stop, green for go, and can be seen easily from all angles.”

“The portable mini timer runs on batteries and has been designed with ease-of-use in mind. Just two dials – total alarm time and warning time. Total time can be set from five minutes to two hours, in five-minute increments. Counts down until the colored light glows, and the alarm sounds. Adjust volume or turn off sound for visual timing. Requires three AAA batteries (not included).”

Time Tracker Mini Review Comments

“We bought this timer to use for video games, homework time, showers, and more. I love that it gives a warning sound and changes color so that my kids can prepare themselves to end the activity they are doing. One of my children is autistic, so it helps him to transition much more smoothly.

“The green timer you set for the overall time. The yellow timer is set as the warning alarm. Be sure you set the warning alarm with the amount of time you want to pass before it goes off, vs. how much warning time you want to give. For instance, let’s say you set the overall time for 30 min. of video game time. If you would like to give your child a 5 minute warning, set the yellow timer for 25 min. Then hit the start button.

“A great feature of the timer is that you can adjust the timer volume. My autistic son is sometimes startled by the timer if it is on the loudest setting. If you would rather have a timer that can be set to the minute, Learning Resources makes a timer with that feature. It’s harder to set than this one, so I prefer the mini.”

“My 7 year old son has responded very well to this timer. With regard to the tricky time setting instructions, just skip them. It’s fairly simple if you complete these phrases:

* “I want the warning to sound in ___ minutes from now.” Then turn the yellow dial to that number.
* “I want the time to run out in ___ minutes from now.” Then turn the green dial to that number.
* Press Start.

“It doesn’t seem to be of “lasts forever” construction. It works wonderfully to keep my son focused during homework activities. Seriously folks, he hasn’t cried or whined once since I started using this. And I kid you not, homework has been a major battle up to this point. I also use it to set five minute breaks between each homework activity, which is a HUGE motivator.”

“I have 3 autistic children and we use this timer so much it burns out! I love that it has a warning and lets them know when their time is almost up so less meltdowns!”

“This timer is very easy to set. Simply twist the green band to the amount of total time that the timer will run, and twist the yellow band to how long after the timer starts that you would like it to show the yellow warning light. The volume is adjustable, which is perfect for a loud/busy classroom or a quiet space such as the library. One of my students does fabulous with transitions when he can see the lights change…. when it turns to yellow, he’ll tell me that he only has a little left, and when it turns red, he just gets up and follows the group. Without the light there are arguments and negotiations for more time! Works GREAT! LOVE IT!!!”

I hope The Learning Resources Time Tracker Miniimprove Slow Work Speed solution works well for your child and really helps improve the difficulty he has with a slow work speed.  This is an easy mid-tech assistive technology solution to implement.

Aug 012013

Brain Training Cognitive Skills are critical for academic success in children with learning disabilities. By definition, kids with learning disabilities CAN learn, but they have some cognitive skills that are delayed in development.

Without building up the underlying skill deficits in your child’s brain, learning is more difficult across all subjects. Science shows that our brains are constantly building new synapses and neuroscience shows that brain plasticity allows your child’s brain to build new pathways with intensive remediation.

Brain Training Cognitive Skills Enhancement for Better Learning

Brain Training cognitive skills programs are designed to increase skills such as working memory, attention and focus, processing speed, phonological awareness, auditory processing, visual discrimination, etc. By increasing your child’s functioning in cognitive skills areas, his overall level of academic achievement can be enhanced.

Many Brain Training cognitive skills programs are overlooked when a child’s educational program is being developed. However, the gains made through these programs can create significant gains across all academic subjects. Check out the research on the programs below to validate the use of Brain Training Cognitive Skills programs for enhancing your child’s learning.

Selecting Brain Training Cognitive Skills programs

When selecting the most appropriate program for you and your child, consider how much time and interaction you can commit. You’ll also want to consider how well you can work one-on-one with your child, how well your child works alone, and whether an outside provider will have an easier time gaining cooperation when working with your child.

Some programs require more parent involvement, and some can be used by the child without significant adult assistance. To get the most out of the program you choose, try to match the program to your abilities and needs as well as to your child’s needs. There is no sense in purchasing a program you can’t or don’t use.

I hope these brain training cognitive skills programs help you address your child’s needs. Best of luck!

Best Liked Brain Training Cognitive Skills Programs for Home Use:

Check out the Brain training APPS that are available to help develop your child’s cognitive skills too. Brain Training Cognitive Skills apps

**Brainware Safari is a great, general brain training cognitive skills programs program for kids in elementary school. The interface uses drawings that appeal to young children, so teens sometimes feel the program is “beneath” them. Brainware Safari has a great deal of research to support its effectiveness, so be sure to check that out when considering this brain training program. Take advantage of their free trial to see if this brain training program will work well for your child.

**Lumosity is much better suited for teens. The program is designed primarily for adults, so it has a more business-like interface that suits most kids who are beyond the cartoon stage. Like Brainware Safari, Lumosity has research backing the program effectiveness, as do most of the Brain Training Cognitive Skills programs listed below. Take advantage of their free trial to see if this brain training program will work well for your child.

**Lexia Learning’s CrossTrainer – “The Lexia Cross-Trainer Suite is designed to improve cognitive development in learners ages 7 to adult. The software helps learning disabled, special needs, and mainstream students strengthen their thinking, memory, and problem-solving abilities, improving performance across subjects as varied as reading, math, science, and social studies.” Learn more about brain-based learning.

**Audiblox – Program which is administered by the parent/provider, requires a commitment to consistent use, and helps with many issues.

**Earobics – Computer-based program that is easily used on a daily basis; game play format that children enjoy, increases cognitive skills, but is geared more towards children with auditory processing difficulties or dyslexia.

**PACE (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement) – Tutoring model; requires commitment to tutoring sessions and home exercises.

**Brain Gym – Simple program to use at home; enhances overall learning. “Brain Gym is a program of physical movements that enhance learning and performance in ALL areas. Brain Gym includes 26 easy and enjoyable targeted activities that integrate body and mind to bring about rapid and often dramatic improvements in: concentration, memory, reading, writing, organizing, listening, physical coordination, and more.” Learn more about our use of Brain Gym at Home.