Sunday, April 22, 2012

Your Child's Learning Style

Before planning your curriculum and lesson plans, be sure to identify what type of learner your child is. Creating a curriculum in the wrong learning style can cause even the best of students to struggle. Finding your child's learning style is a very easy, and can be a fun, project. If your child has been in a public school, or even a preschool environment, you are probably already familiar with your child's learning style. If not, simply play around with each style and see which style best suits your style. Hands-on learner: These students need to be able to touch things, smell things, and interact with things. This learning style can be great for hyperactive children or children who are easily bored. Suggestions for hands-on teaching are: science experiments, even kindergarten level can incorporate simple science experiments; toy soldiers to symbolize battles for history class; dress up for history lessons; preparing and eating foods from geographical locations; using marbles, food, even blades of grass for mathematics. Anything that allows your child to touch items is wonderful. The great thing is, you're free to use whatever items you want. It's your classroom, have fun with it! Visual learner: These students need to see things. In Language Arts, it is not enough for them to simply read the book. The child will need to take notes in order to remember the story. Suggestions for visual learning are: sketching a model of the planets, watching videos on science, math, other subjects and taking notes or drawing appropriate sketches while watching, listening to books on tapes and taking notes during the tape. To improve your child's listening skills, simply hold a conversation with your child about a topic. For example, read a few pages, even a whole chapter of a book, then ask your child what they think the author was talking about in the book. For older children, have them read a chapter then discuss the chapter with you. Auditory learner: These students learn simply by hearing things. Most traditional schools follow this learning style simply because they have so many things to teach in such a short amount of time to an entire classroom full of students. For them, auditory teaching is the simplest and fastest way to teach 30 students in 30-45 minutes. Unfortunately there are thousands of children who simply cannot learn this way. For the students who are auditory learners, here are some suggestions: for younger children, read their Language Arts books to them; for older children, allow them to read the book aloud into a tape recorder or other recording device so that they can go back and listen to it later as a review; find appropriate videos for your subject, example: a video on Antarctica for Social Studies; allow your child to read their textbooks into a recorder. To help improve your child's visual skills add in diagrams, maps, and various reading materials. No matter what your child's learning style, it's always helpful to add in movement during the school day. Almost every child is going to get bored just sitting at a desk or table for 5 hours a day. The following are some suggestions on how to get your child up and moving while still learning (hint, not only can you count this as hours in your original subject, you can also count this as Physical Education too!): 1- Draw hopscotch board on your sidewalk. Rather than counting the boxes when moving, have your child spell out their weekly spelling words as they hop. 2- Create a treasure hunt. Place a history question on the student's desk. Place the answers all over the walls and have the children search for the correct answer. When the child finds the correct answer the original question, as well as the next question will be on the back of the correct card. At the ending location have a small prize for the child. This not only gets them up and moving and learning, but also praises them for being smart! 3- Use the outdoors as your math classroom. On nice, sunny days take your children out in your yard, or even to the park, and have them use nature as their calculator. Blades of grass, rocks, even leaves can work as numbers. At the park you can also use the plastic slide as Physics....remember how your hair stood straight up everytime you got off the slide...yep, static electricity...physics!

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