Profile of a Unique Learner: The Flip Flopper

When most people think of Dyslexia they imagine a unique learner similar to The Flip Flopper. Dyslexia encompasses much more than the tendency to reverse letters like b and d, so let’s meet Nathan, a good example of the often misunderstood Flip Flopper.

 

Profile of a Unique Learner: The Flip Flopper.  Dyslexia is about more than letter reversals. Learn how to help students who fit this profile.

The Challenge

Earlier we met The Storyteller and learned some of the reasons behind this visual thinker’s reading struggles. Nathan is also a visual thinker. While he shares some traits in common with The Storyteller, his particular learning challenges show up in a different way.

 

Nathan experiences visual symbol confusion. His exceptional talent for imagining objects in 3D makes him gifted in areas like drawing and building. This same talent, however, creates confusion when he’s asked to identify 2 dimensional letters on a page.

 

Nathan’s mind naturally and automatically “sees” the letter b, for example, from all angles and perspectives. Looking at it one way, the b looks like a b. Looking at it another way, the b could be a d, or p, or q. Thus, the guessing strategy begins. Seeing all of these perspectives at once, with every letter on a page, gives Nathan the impression that the letters and words are moving.

 

No wonder reading is so difficult.

 

He doesn’t realize that his perspective is different than most of his classmates. He just knows that they can read and he can’t.

 

Many Flip Floppers are also non-linear thinkers. This can be a great advantage when it comes to creative problem solving, seeing the big picture, and contributing innovative ideas. Unfortunately for Nathan this also means trouble learning the days of the week, the months of the year, how to tell time, and left/right confusion. Students like Nathan may struggle with basic math concepts (linear/logical thinking) yet excel at complicated algebraic equations.

 

The Good News About The Flip Flopper

Nathan relies heavily on his auditory strength in order to learn. He easily understands directions if someone reads them out loud. He is also quite talented at memorizing stories especially when he has access to picture clues.

 

One of Nathan’s greatest strengths is his spatial awareness. This translates to a love of Legos, of building, of taking things apart and putting them together again. Nathan’s parents are convinced they live with an architect or engineer in the making. If you ask this talented, unique learner “Can you fix this?” the answer is probably “Yes.”

 

Reading Help for The Flip Flopper

For students who fit The Flip Flopper profile, a number of activities provide powerful skill-building support. The following list of tips is just a start.

 

Visual Discrimination

This skill allows us to recognize the difference between similar objects and symbols. Particularly helpful with visual symbol confusion like Nathan’s. Learn more about visual discrimination activities for kids here.

Clay Work

As with The Storyteller, I highly recommend clay work. The 3D clay letters that Nathan creates help visually anchor the letters in his mind. Using the technique from Ron Davis’ book The Gift of Dyslexia helps Nathan keep similar symbols like b/d, h/y, 6/9 and 5/2 from flip flopping all over the page.

Sequencing

Understanding the order of things helps students like Nathan better learn and understand concepts of time (see below). One simple way to strengthen this skill is to consistently ask what came first, next and last after reading a story or when reviewing the days’ activities. Story sequencing with pictures is another fun tool for this.

Time Awareness

Many students like Nathan have little concept of how long a minute actually lasts. Choose various tasks throughout the day. Estimating how many seconds or minutes each task takes to complete is a fun way to reinforce this skill. For more time awareness tips check out my Pinterest board It’s About Time. You may also enjoy the free memory game Months of the Year.

 

I hope you are enjoying the series so far. Stay tuned! More Unique Learner profiles to come.

 

Gratitude Printables Roundup

Want to help kids practice the habit of gratitude? This roundup of gratitude printables may just do the trick.

 

Gratitude Printables for Kids, including a DIY journal, bingo game, thank you card and more!

 

If you’re already a newsletter subscriber, thank you! I hope you know how grateful I am for you.

 

Not signed up yet? Find the box in the right sidebar and enjoy a growing collection of freebies like the gratitude printables below.

 

Free With Sign Up

 

Printable Color Me Thank You Card for KidsThank You Card

Thank you cards are easy ways to encourage a grateful spirit, especially around the holidays.

 

 

 

 

Gratitude BingoGratitude Bingo Game DIY

Even if you don’t win the game, you do win a stronger sense of gratitude!

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Journal for KidsPrintable gratitude journal for kids / Inner Pieces Gallery

Start them young! This journal has plenty of room for coloring, writing, collaging. Kids choose their favorite way to express themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

The Gratitude GameThe Gratitude Game (free printable) helps build empathy, a little auditory discrimination, and of course, the habit of gratitude.

For 2 or more players, this game has different challenge levels to include all ages and skill levels.

 

 

 

 

Free on TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers)

 

Gratitude Acrostic PoemGratitude Acrostic Poem

Got poetry? Got gratitude? This easy printable has both!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig is not only a Caldecott Award winner. It’s a classic.

 

The Story

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, children's classic by William SteigSylvester the donkey, who happens to enjoy collecting pebbles, makes an incredible discovery. He finds a magic pebble that makes wishes come true! On his way home to share the magic pebble with his family, Sylvester encounters a hungry lion. When he wishes himself out of danger something goes terribly wrong.

 

After a great deal of time (and strife) isolated from the people he loves, Sylvester finally reunites with his family. To everyone’s relief, the story ends on a happy note. Sylvester realizes he already has everything he needs.

 

What I Love About This Children’s Book

We don’t usually use the words sorrow and children’s book in the same sentence. However, Steig manages to use topics like grief, isolation and loneliness to his advantage. Without the devastating separation from his family, Sylvester might never have developed such a profound appreciation for them.

 

In the end Sylvester realized he had no need for magic wishes. His family had each other, and that was plenty to be thankful for.

 

As far as children’s picture books go, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a long one. It appeals to kids from age 5 all the way to grade 5. It’s a great tool to open up any number of discussion topics. Family, separation, grief and sorrow, magic and wishes, being careful what you wish for, you name it. And let’s not forget some of my favorite topics, gratitude and giving thanks.

 

Want to see Sylvester and the Magic Pebble on video? Check it out here. While you’re at it, pick up a few discussion question ideas by clicking on the Teacher’s Guide.

 

By the way, if YOU had a magic pebble, what would you wish for? What’s that you say? You wish to find an entire collection of Inspiring Children’s Book Finds like this one? Well okay then. Wish granted!

 

The Gratitude Game

More and more researchers these days happily report on the many benefits of gratitude. To help encourage kids to invite these benefits into their own lives I decided to create The Gratitude Game.

 

The Gratitude Game (free printable) helps build empathy, a little auditory discrimination, and of course, the habit of gratitude.This free printable game for kids has four different challenge levels. Everyone from your little ones to the big kids to the adults can join in on the fun and choose whichever challenge level they wish.

 

Primarily The Gratitude Game helps us think of the countless ways to be grateful. But why stop there? Inner Pieces Gallery is, after all, all about learning.

 

When you progress through the various challenge levels you’ll notice a few auditory discrimination components as well as a fun exercise in empathy.

 

When and How to Use The Gratitude Game

  • As a unique character education tool in the classroom (small groups).
  • As a fitting family game during the Thanksgiving season.
  • As a fun homeschool activity for all ages.
  • For speech or educational therapy targeting auditory discrimination.
  • Any time of year you wish to exercise those gratitude muscles (perhaps whenever the kids catch a case of the grumpies)!

 

For access to The Gratitude Game AND the entire Free Printables Collection, please sign up in the upper right sidebar. Subscriber privileges include monthly freebies, weekly updates and the occasional bonus freebie. Already subscribed? Please sign in.

 

Graph Art for Auditory Memory, An Art-for-Brains Activity for Kids

Don’t you love when art activities actually help kids build learning abilities?  That’s why I designed   Graph Art for Auditory Memory, An Art-for-Brains Activity.

 

Do you ever give your children instructions that seem to go in one ear and out the other? True, that may be a simple case of selective hearing. Then again, maybe your kids are giving you a clue that it’s time to help strengthen their auditory memory abilities.

 

You can learn more about auditory memory skills here. You can even grab a few suggestions for auditory memory skills training here and here.

 

What I Think You’ll Love About Graph Art for Auditory Memory

 

This Art-for-Brains Activity helps kids build auditory memory, listening skills and more.  Great tool for teachers, parents, and learning specialists.

1) Anticipating which secret graph art animal will appear feels more like fun than cognitive skills training.

2) This strength training tool builds more than just listening skills and auditory memory. It also boosts:

  • Working Memory
  • Auditory Discrimination
  • Spatial Awareness
  • Fine Motor
  • Attention

3) Besides all of that, it’s versatile!

 

Whether you work one on one or in small groups, teach in a therapeutic learning environment or homeschool, or are a teacher, learning specialist or substitute in a large classroom, Graph Art for Auditory Memory is an easy, sneaky way to help students boost brain power!

 

When used to strengthen auditory memory, I recommend it for grades 2 and above. That doesn’t mean your first grader can’t get in on the fun. Make this a simple graphing skills activity with one of the included alternatives.

 

That also doesn’t mean that your ninth grader will think this activity is just kids’ play. If he struggles to remember a 7-digit phone number spoken to him, Graph Art for Auditory Memory may be just the tool he needs.

 

To learn more, and to find out which 10 animal themed graph art designs are included in this printable pdf, view the listing in my TPT store here.

 

Care for a test drive first?  Visit Graph Art for Auditory Memory – Free Sample.

 

 

Halloween Printables Roundup

I’ve been designing printable fun pages for kids for quite some time now and thought you might like to find the Halloween pages all in one place.  Check out this roundup of Halloween themed printable fun!

 

A roundup of Halloween themed learning powered printable fun for kids from Inner Pieces Gallery.

 

The first part of this list includes printable freebies.  Okay, almost free.  They’ll cost you an email address.  (See the sign up box to the right.)

 

If you don’t mind paying a few dollars for some sneaky yet powerful brain boosters, check out the printable activity packs at the end.

 

Free With Sign Up

 

Printable Paper Scene: HalloweenPaper Scene: Halloween

Not so spooky Halloween creative play.

 

 

 

 

Spider Picture MazePrintable Halloween Treat: Spider Picture Maze

Halloween themed visual tracking activity.

 

 

 

 

Printable Halloween BookmarksPrintable Halloween Bookmarks

Sugar free cut & color fun.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Pencil ToppersHalloween Pencil Toppers

No blog post for this one, but still accessible from the same page as the subscriber freebies above.

 

 

 

 

Products

 

Finish the Monster Drawing – An Art-for-Brains ActivityKids finish the drawing of a friendly printable monster, add their own creative twist, and build visual processing skills while enjoying this fun art activity.

This fun visual closure activity pack includes a link to a free sample.

 

 

 

 

 

Twelve Months of Visual Memory Matching Games for KidsHalloween Visual Memory Matching Game for Kids - Printable

Cut and play visual memory games for every month of the year. October, of course, is Halloween themed. You’ll also find a link to the smaller version, Visual Memory Matching Games, THE HOLIDAYS, which includes memory matching games for Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

 

Profile of a Unique Learner: The Storyteller

Mary’s deep passion for books began at a very young age. Read a story to her once and she was fully engaged. Give her the same picture book a second time and she could repeat the story nearly word for word.

 

How then, her parents wondered, could this highly intelligent child with such a rich vocabulary and unmistakable gift for storytelling make it all the way through second grade still unable to read?

 

The Challenge

Mary is a visual thinker. She has no real internal dialogue, which means that she doesn’t hear her own voice inside her head as she reads or thinks. Instead, she sees pictures. Dimensional, interesting, glorious pictures.

 

With no internal dialogue, you can understand why phonics rules make no sense to Mary. She has trouble associating sounds with symbols. Tell her 100 times that this flat, 2 dimensional letter b says the sound “b” and you’ll be wasting your breath, not to mention increasing Mary’s feelings of inadequacy. Her brain does not register the association.

 

The same cognitive strengths that give this learner the gift of storytelling also makes reading a struggle.  Find out why, and how to help.

 

Perplexed, her parents want to know how Mary can read ten dollar words like hippopotamus without a second thought, yet simple words like cat stop her every time.

 

The reason? Mary uses her strong visual skills to memorize the unique visual patterns of larger words. She then matches the pattern with her mental image of, say, a hippopotamus and instantly recognizes the word.

 

Since cat looks very similar in shape to bat, or sat, or mat, memorizing its shape does nothing to help her. Remember, short words like cat are only “simple” if you have the ability to sound them out. Mary does not.

 

The Good News About The Storyteller

Mary has always been inquisitive, creative, and curious. As a visual thinker she tends to think and process information much faster than her verbal thinking peers.

 

Because she relies heavily on auditory input for information, most of Mary’s teachers are delighted by her active engagement during class discussions.

 

Her love of books and stories all began when her parents read stories to her out loud. This allowed her to strengthen her natural mental movie-making skills that, in turn, continue to feed her imagination. Tea parties were extravaganzas. Family and friends now become characters in her dramatic stories.

 

Is she the next Steven (or Stephanie) Spielberg in the making? Or the top saleswoman in her industry? Perhaps, but she’s also a gifted artist. With a keen understanding of perspective, her drawings are vibrant and full of depth. She has multiple talents and high-value skills that many of her reading peers simply don’t have.

 

Reading Help for The Storyteller

Clearly not all gifted storytellers struggle with reading. However, non-readers who resemble Mary’s storyteller profile become strong readers with a number of educational therapy techniques. I’ll list just a few of them here.

 

Auditory Discrimination

While we do want Mary to maintain her incredible visual talents, we also want to train her brain to develop an internal dialogue. Rhyming games are just one way to do this. You can check out my Auditory Learning Pinterest board here for a few ideas.

Clay Work

Creating letters and words out of clay transforms them into 3D objects. This perfectly taps into the way The Storyteller sees and learns. For more information about clay work I highly recommend Ron Davis’ book The Gift of Dyslexia. Clay work is especially helpful for troublesome sight words that have no clear visual representation. Can you visualize the definition of the word “the?” Neither can the visual thinker. Clay work helps create that visual connection.

Visual Tracking

Some struggling readers like The Storyteller find themselves reading random words from different lines on the page. Suddenly they read a word from 2 lines above or 3 lines below the line they are reading. Building Visual Tracking Skills THE BOOK targets this issue plus helps students build visual discrimination skills at the same time. Find this printable activity book in my TPT store here.

 

I’ll have more unique learner profiles for you in the months to come. In the meantime, you might like the first in the series, The On Again Off Again Student.