Throughout the last few months, since September, I have been ‘re-imagining’ or re-thinking how I would deliver some lessons both new and old. To be specific, as I was lesson planning, I tried to deliberately think of ways that I was already or could start employing V.A.K. (Visual Auditory Kinesthetic) in my lessons. To be honest, being a visual person, my teaching style is already rather visual as I use my Smart Board to deliver slide shows that often have videos or animations built in wherever possible.
As far as auditory is concerned, I also offer to read passages to the class if they choose, I have students listen to instructions, and I employ cooperative learning as much as possible, almost everyday and then multiple times in one period.
Kinesthetic learning, however, is the one area that I know I need to improve upon. Cooperative learning allows for some kinesthetic learning or at least movement during class, but I think having the students a) actually participate in an activity that is directly related to a concept they are learning and/or b) touch something that is directly related to their learning is where I want to improve.
*** And this directly ties in with the basic idea of an Artifact Box, which I discussed in an earlier post.
- In addition, Narda Robbins’ DIA Blog (as part of the Learning Classroom from 2009 – 2010) is jam-packed with examples of lessons where she employed exactly what I am discussing here = trying to employ concrete objects in lessons whenever possible.
As I continue to gather props and real-life items to supplement and enhance lessons, I have in the meantime tried to make a lesson more kinesthetic in the following way: I often the learning strategy of Concept Attainment, where students have to guess the concept that unites some terms. I feel this is an effective strategy because the students are required to be more engaged in their learning by way of guessing as well as discussing with a partner. To make this activity more kinesthetic, instead of having the students complete the Concept Attainment as a whole class via the Smart Board, I instead printed off the T-Chart of terms and took a scissors and cut up the terms into individual strips of paper, which I then placed in an envelope. I then gave each quad of desks (my class desks are in fours) one envelope; the students then dump out the pieces of paper and have to arrange them according to the parameters I give them at the outset.
I have used the same cut-up paper & envelope activity with grammar: this time I cut individual words and the students had to arrange the words into sentences again, according to parameters I stipulated.
To be honest, when another teacher had told me about this slight change in teaching, I initially scoffed: a) do I have precious extra time to prepare this?; b) students are going to want move pieces of paper around on a desk?; and c) this can be called kinesthetic?
To my surprise, however, my grade 10’s (and even my grade 12’s) are very engaged when I employ these activities. I infer that the simple act of moving things around on a desk is engaging for kinesthetic learners who need to touch things and need to move things.