How do we help students build strong, supportive cognitive skills throughout their school years and beyond?
To be clear, I’m not talking about academic skills here. I’m referring to the building blocks of learning, auditory and visual processing, for example, that support a student’s ability to learn.
I believe we do our children an extreme disservice if, once they enter kindergarten, we replace cognitive enrichment activities with a just-the-facts-Jack approach to learning.
Plenty of teachers out there feel the same way, so I invited a few to share their favorite cognitive skill builders with us. Thank you, Mrs. Dunn, for contributing our first tip in the series.
What is your favorite activity for strengthening students’ cognitive skills?
I am always looking for new ways to reach all of my students when I am teaching. I was searching for a new approach to teaching and learning when I stumbled across Whole Brain Teaching; it was a light bulb moment. When you are teaching basic skills or ideas, you teach in short sentences with actions. The students mirror you. I then have them find a partner, and teach the partner what they just learned. This has worked wonders with my many ELL students as they have a safe place to try out first grade vocabulary through repetition. The hand gestures appeal to the kinesthetic learner, hearing the words and repeating appeals to the auditory learning, and looking at me and the hand gestures appeals to the visual learner.
Check me out Whole Brain teaching:
Mrs. Dunn teaches first grade in Alberta, Canada. She has been teaching for 6 years and loves to use a whole brain approach to learning. Check out more teaching ideas on her blog http://firstgradefunmrsdunn.blogspot.ca/