A message about hands on learning…

Sorry for the delay in last Friday’s (Sept. 23rd) post. I came down with an awful cold/flu all weekend and didn’t get nearly enough done. I guess my immune system isn’t quite used to being around so many little kids all day long!

Things have been going great in the K/1/2 room and now that we are in the full swing of things, our learning is really taking off! Last week I started teaching Science and things have been going great. We are using the Gr. 1 curriculum this year and will be covering basic topics such as animal shapes & sizes, animal homes, animal food (food chain) animal coverings, how animals move, animals grow/change, and the importance of caring for animals. On Thursday, I had a very successful lesson on animal sizes. We categorized animals as big, small, or average using a ven-diagram. We talked about animals from far away (we call them exotic animals), animals close to home (local animals), wild animals, and pets! (We even know that the fancy word for pets is domesticated animals) All of these animals came in many shapes and sizes! Then came the really fun part for both me and the kids. We used yarn to measure the length of some animals. Turns out a beaver is a whole lot smaller than a gorilla. The biggest animals we measured was a whale. The kids loved going into the hallway to work and it was neat to see them so amazed at the shear size of something. We even laid down next to the yarn and found out that it takes 10 of us laying head to toe to be as long as a whale. The kids were talking about it all day, and I loved knowing that by engaging them in this hands on lesson I had really gotten through to them. Animals are in fact different sizes, and we can group them based on size.

We have also been doing a lot of hands on learning in Math as we finished up our patterns unit and began our numbers unit. My school uses the Math Makes Sense Program that requires students to use manipulates to show their thinking. It is a great resource and seems to be really effective. For visual learners, the manipulatives are a great way to see the math. For all students, hands on activities are way more engaging then worksheets. I have yet to hear the words “Math is boring” so that makes me really excited! 🙂 We have been using the smartboard in our classroom as an interactive tool which is another great way to incorporate that hands on learning, clearly so essential in the primary grades.

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One thought on “A message about hands on learning…

  1. Great post Allie! It is so true – when we “interact” with learning, it stops being a chore and it becomes a fun thing to do. As I was reading through the post, I kept thinking about the Art Therapy class that I am in. We work with various media, engaging our hands, and our imaginations, to work through some very serious emotions. And in my job, whenever I hire someone, the first question I ask them is, “How do you learn? Do you like to be shown, or do you like to ‘do’?” The vast majority tell me that they learn better when they are physically engaged in the learning. Good job!

    I really loved that the children lined up on the floor to see how big a whale is! That was an awesome idea!

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