"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller

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Fran Richardson
Welcome to my blog!I'm a teacher in a beautiful, small, rural town. I moved here a few years ago, but I have taught over 20 years in this same small town that is now my home. My experience is in teaching second, third, and fourth grades with one year in sixth grade. I am always reading, learning, and reflecting on what goes on in my classroom. I love the work that I do with the parents, my fellow teachers, and most all-my students.I hope you will enjoy reading my blog.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More on Active Participation

I am a firm believer that to be a good teacher, you truly have to be creative. To keep students interested you have to keep them ACTIVELY  PARTICIPATING, and often, that takes a great deal of creativity and thought. In previous posts, I have already written about how many authors and teachers suggest this  simple strategy as a way to manage a classroom and prevent discipline problems.  The longer  a kid sits passively, the less engaged the brain is, and the mind will wander after about 10-15 minutes, and often the body follows!
Carol Glynn offers some simple ways to get the class up and moving in her book and video, Carol Out of The Box.

Here’s a creative  and simple way to keep students engaged  that  is easy and very do-able even for content areas as well as older learners and can be used in any subject area including reading and math.

Carol Glynn

Rae Pica, a movement and learning author, teacher and speaker, states on her website the reason why this type of movement and learning link should occur:

Eric Jensen labels this kind of hands-on learning implicit – like learning to ride a bike.  At the opposite end of the spectrum is explicit learning – like being told the capital of Peru.  He asks, if you hadn’t ridden a bike in five years, would you still be able to do it?  And if you hadn’t heard the capital of Peru for five years, would you still remember what it was?  Extrinsic learning may be quicker than learning through exploration and discovery, but the latter has greater meaning for children and stays with them longer.  There are plenty of reasons for this, but one of them just may be that intrinsic learning creates more neural networks in the brain.  And it’s more fun!
from Rae Pica’s website Moving and Learning.

Creating  MORE Neural Networks IS THE KEY!
Who wouldn’t want to be part of the classes in Carol’s video?  Moving, singing, writing,talking are all ways to keep kids engaged, and if  you  watched Carol in action at the workshop with the adults, you can see it's very EASY. You ,too, can have the same results.
In my classroom after watching the video, I was convinced it was worth a try.  I took a boring textbook reading lesson about the parts of a New England village and assigned each student a role. There was a field of wheat, a  waterwheel,  a stone mill, a cobbler,  a blacksmith, the stocks, a meeting house- yes I had to assign multiple roles, but everyone was up and participating. It was loud, it was fun, and months later, the kids remembered who was the waterwheel  ( I can still see the poor kid spinning in circles ), and that mills were important in New England’s economy!

Out of the box thinking can be done- simply in any subject, any grade, and in literacy and reading classes,too.  Some examples could be the solar system, the parts of a circuit, the parts of a cell, order of operations in math, story elements in literary fiction, genres, and the list goes on.

Challenge your self: Think of what you teach that you can try some of these “out of the box”  experiences with your class this year.


allisong said...

This post on active participation goes right along with a form of teaching that I have become passionate about: Whole Brain Teaching.

The idea is to teach in 30 second to 1 minute chunks using gestures, and then allow the students to teach each other using gestures again. It really incorporates all learning styles. It is fast paced and so much fun!

Check out some of the videos to see Whole Brain Teaching in the classroom!


Fran Richardson said...

Thanks for sharing, Allison. Amazing blog and resources you have there!:)


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