Kinesthetic Graphic Organizer
Teaching Strategy #3
This week a guest speaker, Sierra Nelson from Utah State University, spoke in my science methods class. If you ever get the chance to listen to her, do it! She had many great lesson ideas for science, social studies, and more. During one of her mock lessons, Source Search, a teaching strategy caught my eye. For anyone walking by, it may just look like we were playing a game (and we were!), but we were learning as well.
My class formed two lines. In the front of the class, there were four containers that were labeled natural resources, farm, factory, and store. At the front of each line, there was a stack of cards with pictures face down on the ground. The pictures were of everyday things such as cows, canned food, and shoes. The cards were to be sorted into one of the four categories using the question, “What’s the source?” The lines raced against each other and tried to sort all of their cards first. The first team to finish won a prize. Then we had a debriefing session. When we started looking at the cards in each container, we realized we had sorted most of them completely wrong. There were supposed to be no cards in the factory or store container because neither of them are the source of any items. Nonetheless, the lesson was engaging enough for even college students.
Kinesthetic Graphic Organizer
Physical way to organize information.
Have a container for each category and two sets of cards. Line the students up in two equal lines. Let the race begin to see who can get through their pile of cards first. Then debrief and introduce or review the topic.
- Cards with pictures or words
- Learning through a game
- Engaging for all ages
- Caters to different learning styles
Ways to Implement the Teaching Strategy
- Source Search
- Categorize artifacts/organize information
- Introduce a new concept
- Review material
Formative -OR- Summative
- Can be used to introduce a new concept
- Review the concept they are learning
- Teacher takes mental notes of who is understanding and who may need a little extra instructions (if the cards are not being placed in the correct category)
Tons of Great Lessons: Utah State University – Agriculture in the Classroom
When I became a student at BYU, I was dumbfounded by the endless possibilities of my future. Suddenly I had to pick my profession now that I was “grown-up.” The problem was that I still felt like the same little kid who wanted to be an archeologist just so that she could spend all day in the dirt. As I sat and thought about my passions and interests, I created a list of endless possibilities ranging from Supreme Court Justice to an artist. But as I researched further, I came to an interesting conclusion. At the base of all my dreams and passions, my greatest motivation, was service. I needed a major where I could work to better the lives of those around me. Almost three years later, I am now here, blessed to be a part of the McKay School of Education.
Some may see teaching as babysitting, where you wipe boogers, and tears, while not getting paid enough. Although I am sure I will see my fair share of boogers and tears in the coming years, teaching is far more than babysitting. President Monson said:
“The teacher not only shapes the expectations and ambitions of her pupils, but she also influences their attitudes toward their future and themselves. If she is unskilled, she leaves scars on the lives of youth, cuts deeply into their self-esteem, and distorts their image of themselves as human beings. But if she loves her students and has high expectations of them, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities will develop, and their future will be assured.” (President Monson “Only a Teacher” Jan. 1990)
Teaching is not for the faint of heart, but for those who dare to serve and want to change the world through the minds of those they teach. What kind of teacher will I be? Will I motivate my students to gain a love of learning or will I destroy their self-esteem through my incompetence? The work we perform in the classroom has lasting effects. What will your legacy be?
To function smoothly, classrooms need to be run like a democratic government. As a teacher, I will be the designated leader who runs the classroom and directs its instruction. I will enable my students to influence the workings of the classroom by assigning class jobs, providing leadership opportunities, giving them choices regarding instruction and activities, acknowledging and respecting their voice in the classroom, and encouraging civility and self-governing behavior. Because my students will be the beneficiaries of my instruction, their participation in classroom affairs is essential.
Classroom jobs will be one way for my students to participate. Through class jobs I will teach them several valuable life skills. As they take ownership of various classroom duties, my students will learn the value of responsibility. Beth Lewis, in an article about classroom jobs in elementary school classrooms, said, “If we want to teach children to be responsible, we have to trust them with responsibilities. Classroom jobs are an effective way to enlist students in the duties of running a classroom.” The classroom cannot function without the help and participation of each member. Its success depends upon each student diligently completing his or her assigned tasks, which teaches them that part of being responsible is being dependable. Class jobs will also help my students more deeply appreciate their educational experience because working for their education will build their satisfaction of it. Hard work is another valuable skill my students will develop through class jobs. Because the flow of the classroom depends upon each member faithfully fulfilling his or her responsibilities, my students will learn that working hard is very important.
They will also learn that hard work is a key ingredient in the recipe for effective leadership, which is another important aspect of a democratically-run classroom. I will teach my students that true leaders are hard workers. We will study historical accounts, watch movie clips, and read stories about powerful leaders who exemplify a strong work ethic. I will also teach my students that true leadership requires leading by example. I will assign students to be group leaders when we have activity centers or participate in other class activities. They will be expected to model appropriate behavior at the centers and will encourage group members to follow instructions. Inspiring their peers to behave appropriately may be challenging at times, but these group leaders will learn that they cannot inspire change in others without being an example first.
Effective leaders also respect agency and the voice of each individual, which are two closely connected elements in classroom democracy. Each is essential for students to have a meaningful educational experience, and there are several ways I plan to provide them. I will provide a variety of classroom activities for my students to choose from. Students learn and perform in different ways, so they need freedom to choose activities that reflect what they know and can do. It is also important to me that I know what my students are interested in. I will start the year off by having them fill out a short information sheet where they can record their interests, and I will use their responses to plan future classroom activities. This will show students that their voice is being heard and that it influences their choices in the classroom. I will also have brief class meetings periodically where my students and I can discuss their thoughts and feelings about our classroom environment. They can tell me what they like and what they think should be different. This will show my students that I consider their interests in the choices I give them. (more…)
Teaching Strategy #2
Give each student 1-3 plastic chips (or checkers). During a small group discussion, a student puts a chip in the middle of the circle when they get a turn to talk. Everyone must get rid of one chip before another can be used by anyone.
- Every student gets a chance to talk
- Students learn from each other
- Keeps them on-topic
- Small groups create a safe environment for students to add to the discussion/project (especially good for English-language learners)
- Pre- or post-assessment
Any topic can be discussed using this strategy. Some topic ideas include:
- phases of the moon
- group book discussions
- geographic locations
- The teacher can listen in and see what students still need to learn and where to guide instruction.