Real Life Estimation

Using the tape measure

What is the difference between a guess and an estimate? This was the driving question for our lesson on estimation today.

Driveway Consultants

When teaching math concepts to children, the more manipulatives, the better – especially for Dyslexic students. In this case, we used a tape measure and some bigger items like utility vans!

This van was 20 ft

Our goal was to get the exact measurement for the Service Department driveway at Gilbert Chevrolet. So, instead of guessing the length of the driveway, we prodded Alex to estimate the length of the driveway. We discussed how a guess is different from an estimate.

If we used the length of a van, we would be using “prior knowledge” to help with our guess, which would then turn that guess into an estimate!

An estimate requires someone to draw on his/her own experiences or knowledge before answering. A guess is a complete shot in the dark; a guess is given when someone has no prior knowledge about a subject.

Service Department at Gilbert Chevrolet

After Alex learned the length of the van, it was easier for him to estimate the length of the driveway, because he could visualize how many vans would fit in the service driveway. The number of vans ‘times’ the length of the vans, would give a great estimate.

Real life scenarios like this one, help drive home the harder math concepts for students.

Estimate turns into Approximate

After estimating, it was time to see how close we got to the correct measurement of the driveway. Alex got down on his hands and knees to use the tape measure. He found the length and width of the service department driveway.

There is nothing better then getting outside for school lessons. Hands-on and multi-sensory opportunities help Dyslexic children understand academic concepts, because a large amount of Dyslexics are visual and kinesthetic learners.


Today we started lesson 14 in the Connections curriculum. The lesson was blending. How do you make blending multi-sensory? Read below…

The lesson began by putting two letters and a blend in an actual blender and then we “blended” (shook) them up! For example: for the blend /sc/, Alex placed the letter /s/, the letter /c/, and the blend /sc/ into the blender. I asked Alex to blend them together by shaking the blender up and down. While shaking, Alex reviewed/pronounced the sounds that /s/ and /c/ make separately. Then I unscrewed the top of the blender and pulled out the blend /sc/. Hooray! Alex successfully blended the /s/ sound with the /c/ sound and produced the /sc/ sound. We repeated this process (via the directions in the Connections curriculum) for multiple blends.

After working with the blender to seal in the concept of “blending”, we moved onto the next part of the lesson which utilizes more multi-sensory teaching techniques.

Connections provides teaching “tools” (that resemble small toys) and the moveable alphabet in order to help Dyslexics grasp an understanding of a letter sound – or in this case, a blend sound. Check out the photos below to see the second part of the blending lesson.

A video of this portion of the lesson can be found on our READ channel on youtube!

Thank you Sally Rippin

Congratulations Alex

Since Alex finished reading his first chapter book, I really wanted to reach out to the author, Sally Rippin. It was my wish that Sally would respond with some encouraging words for Alex to keep reading.

What I received was all that and more. Sally Rippin wrote inspiring words to Alex and I was so grateful to share them with him.

Inspiring note from Sally

I crafted a shadow box so that Alex could remember Sally’s note forever. Check it out!

Alex’s Award

An Open Note to Alex

Today you finished reading The Big Adventure, by Sally Rippin.

This book had chapters and was 43 pages in length, the perfect beginning chapter book for you, Alex. You loved the plot and characters too.

You pushed through the longer, harder, unfamiliar words and did an excellent job!

Congratulations on completing your first chapter book, Alex. I am so proud of you!!!

Your teacher,


Las Posadas



We are officially in the holiday season and it is my favorite time of year. Not just because I love the hustle and bustle, or the lights and presents, or even the food and family, but because I find teaching to be so much more enriching!!!

It is so great to share among the students all the different family traditions. I also enjoy watching the kids get excited about the holiday decorations…but the best part about teaching during the holiday season is learning about the celebrations of other countries during this time of year!

Alex and Wyatt learned about Las Pasadas, the Mexican tradition during Christmas time. Keeping in mind to engage as many senses as possible, we learned about Mexican Christmas by completing all of the following:

  • reading a passage and answering questions
  • reading from a book and discussing afterwards
  • watching a short youtube film
  • making the recipe for the Mexican drink “ponché”
  • crafting a poinsettia



3D is Multi-Sensory!


What an exciting way to read a book!

Just like watching a 3D movie, this book about bugs requires the use of 3D glasses…

Did the book have giant words that were beyond Alex’s reading level? Yes. Was the genre -informational text- challenging? Yes.

But these higher level characteristics didn’t seem so daunting with an added element of multi-sensorial fun!

I love finding resources like this one.

Finger Spell and Build


The Connections curriculum by The Apple Group has aided tremendously in Alex’s success this school year. The best part about utilizing Connections has been its ability to prevent any frustrations during the lesson. With Connections, there is always a solution to mistakes, and the student/teacher navigate at the student’s pace. This curriculum is also unbelievably thorough. I honestly cannot say enough good things about it!

Today we were in lesson 6 part IV: Finger Spell and Write/Build.  Alex chose to build this lesson’s words using his magnetic set of letters. The steps are as follows:

  1. Teacher says the word
  2. Student repeats the word
  3. Student finger spells by separating the sounds of the word
  4. Student builds the word with letters
  5. Student names the letters he uses while building
  6. Student reads the word
  7. Teacher provides the word card so student may check work

Check out the video on Reaching Excellence Amongst Dyslexia’s Youtube channel: READ Videos