Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hands-on Learners

Kinesthetic learners are exhausting. They have to be doing something all the time. If their hands are not busy they will find something to do with them…tap on the table…pick on their sister…you get the idea. If you have hands-on learners you know what I’m talking about.

As the mother of six active children I've always looked for ways to enhance the learning of my children by letting them do. We love games and manipulatives that provide an active approach to learning. File folder games, lapbooks and other activities keep their hands busy and their minds focused on the subject at hand, helping them to comprehend and learn effectively.

I love to come across new ideas for making it hands-on; like the one in the picture. Here's how you do it. You'll need a round piece of cardboard. An easy way to come up with this is to buy the cardboard cake holders like the one pictured above. You can find them in the cake decorating section and they are intended to put a round cake on before you decorate it. They usually come in a stack with several to work with.

Choose what you want to focus on whether it is times tables or synonyms and antonyms as in the example above. I chose to put synonyms on one side and antonyms on the other. Write these systematically around the edge. Then, on clothespins, write the answers that will match up to each item around the edge. Because I made mine two sided, I wrote answers on both sides of the clothes pin, but carefully colored the edge of the clothespin on the side where the synonym answers are.

When they play, they pull all the clothes pins off the edge of the cardboard and mix them up. Then the goal is to get each clothes pin back where it belongs.

Any time we can give variety to learning it helps keep the mind open. For example, yesterday while teaching one of my piano students, I asked if he had worked on his theory. I've never been crazy about theory workbooks, but it came with him from his other teacher and so I've assigned it. However, he never does it. He said yesterday that after being in school all day the theory seems too much like school work. Sitting down to the piano and practicing was okay, but he just hate doing the theory. I pulled out the music Wrap-ups. If you've never seen these they are a great tool when children are drilling facts that must be mastered. I handed it to him and he was excited. I asked if he wanted to work on the Wrap-ups every week at lessons or take it home. He wanted to take it home and practice it every day. Now instead of begging him to do theory he made the commitment on his own to work on it daily. I love it when a child enjoys learning.

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