Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learn Something New


Right now, I'm obsessed with learning about how people learn. In the "spare" time I have (which pretty much means late at night after all logical folks are sleeping), I've been studying up about learning strategies. And I have to admit that I'm currently going "graphic organizer" crazy.

I've used a graphic organizer for pretty much every lesson I've taught in the last 2 weeks.

For my social skills group, it was a KWLS chart about how to introduce yourself to other people. K is for what you already Know. W is for what you Want to know, L is for what you Learned from the lesson, and S is for what you still want to know.

For my writing kiddos, I've been using the "double bubble chart" to help them organize compare/contrast ideas for essay writing. For my reading kiddos, I've been using a "sun chart" to help brainstorm all the words we find that contain a silent -e.
For my articulation kiddos, I've been using a "brace chart" to break down the steps involved in correct /r/ and /s/ production.
And then, today, when I was writing up an evaluation report, I found that it wasn't until I'd plotted all the test scores on a bell curve to graphically/visually represent strengths and weaknesses, that I was truly confident that I understood the nature of the child's disorder.

I might be overdoing it a bit.

But seriously, if you're trying to teach ANY concept out there, there is a visual thinking aid for it. (They're actually called Thinking Maps, created by David Hyerle, by the way.) Want to talk to your preschooler about how tadpoles become frogs? You need the sequence chart. Want to teach your high schoolers how to figure out analogies? You need the bridge chart.

I promise I won't bore you any more with my excitement. It probably seems so 2002 to a lot of you teachers out there who have been trained in Learning Focused Strategies and stuff like that. But I stumbled onto this video when I was looking for good planning tools for the writing process for my 3-5th grade kiddos, and it inspired me to use these with Flannery, too. So many times, when we go grocery shopping, I give her a list of things to look for at the store. Why not make it a "tree chart" and have the items categorized under headings like fruit, dairy, grains while we're at it?

Today I'm thankful that I get to do interesting work that I'm passionate about. That makes me pretty happy.



What boring topic do you just love to learn about!

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