Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Helping Kids Learn

My college education focused on Elementary Education. My favorite part of my higher learning was delving into the idea of "multiple intelligences." When I was studying, I believe they were working on an 8th intelligence: naturalist.

Basically this idea focuses on the idea that there are a variety of avenues for an individual to learn at his or her best. Most fall mainly into one intelligence, but may have qualities of another.

Here they are:

Linguistic (word smart)
Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning)
Spatial (visual/pictures)
Bodily-kinesthetic (movement/hands on)
Musical
Interpersonal (people oriented, social)
Intrapersonal (self oriented)
Naturalist (nature)

Using a variety of these when teaching kids (and adults for that matter) facilitates an amazing learning environment. It's interesting how excited I am when I think about these ideas, and how depressing it is to reflect on the idea that most teachers LECTURE LECTURE LECTURE. A VERY small number of students retain knowledge at their full potential through lecture.

Ok, sorry for the lesson, but I've been thinking of how I work with Hannah. We're not on a rigid schedule, I've just always "played" with her by encouraging educational games. When she was 11 months old we'd play with foam letters in the bath tub. Now, we're reading books.

If I tell Hannah, sit down and practice reading, she very quickly, without looking up, says NO and braces for an argument. If I ask Hannah if she wants to play school with her stuffed animals and Magna Doodle and she's the teacher, she's IN! In a few minutes, she's reading and writing words (and punishing Winnie the Pooh when he misbehaves).

1. We make up songs/rhymes/rhythms when learning thing like address and phone number (musical)
2. We go outside and collect rocks/leaves and do art with them (naturalistic)
3. We learn rhymes while jumping on the trampoline (bodily kinesthetic, linguistic)
4. Playing school and making Hannah the teacher (interpersonal, bodily kinesthetic)
5. She uses her tag system and educational leap pad, v smile and DS games (spatial and bodily kinesthetic)
6. We read books and do LOTS of flash cards and puzzles (spatial, bodily kinesthetic, linguistic)
7. We're working on tying shoes (bodily kinesthetic)
8. Hannah is not an intrapersonal learner. She does NOT like to do things alone, but that doesn't mean we don't encourage her to daily play by herself and complete tasks on her own.

If you're in a rut and trying to teach your child to grasp a new concept, try this approach. It's WAY more fun than the "do your homework" technique. I promise.

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