Learning Styles-the Secret Ingredient to Good Teaching

Do you know your child’s learning style?  Do you know your own?  It matters!  We all tend to teach to our dominant style and if your child’s is different, you’re setting yourselves up for challenging lessons, but not in a good way.

Learning style refers to a person’s preferred and most efficient way to take in information.  Your learning style might be visual, where you like to see things.  It might be auditory, where you prefer to hear information, or it might be kinesthetic, where you prefer to move around and do things to help yourself learn new information.  Some people have a combination learning style, and that’s fine too.  Your learning style also can change depending on your circumstances.  You might be a visual learner when things are going well and an auditory learner when you are under stress.

Find out all about learning styles and how you can harness this understanding to help your student learn more effectively at the free Learning Styles Class.  This on-line course is also designed for students in upper elementary and older, so you can help your child understand his or her learning style too!  There’s an optional workbook available if you need a gradable product for the effort.  Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Fraction Card Games

Got a child studying fractions?  You’ll need some fun ways to practice.  Check out the ideas that I use with my tutoring kids week after week that keep them asking to play!  Visit Great Fraction Card Games.

I’m Glad to Be Back! (Special Bonus for Readers)

It’s been over a year and very frustrating time, but I’m back and able to pick this blog up where I left off!  I’ve had technical difficulties that have prevented my posting from home, but my internet provider has a new carrier and here I am!

I know from counters that I continue to have readers on this blog, so I wanted to say “thank you” to people who’ve been dropping by in spite of there being no new content for these past months!  Sign up using the form below to receive your free copy of Journal Jar Ideas! You’ll get 80 great prompts to use with all ages.  And thanks again for sticking with Educational Tips and Tidbits!

Just visit sandyflemingonline.com to get your copy!

Convince them to follow instructions!

Is your student in upper elementary grades or older?  Does he or she sometimes forget to read the directions?  You and I both know how important that can be, and we also can think of numerous times when we’ve had trouble because of not reading directions.  Here’s a fun activity that might help your student learn the same lesson without the headache of messing up something important!

Type up a list of directions.  These should be things that your student will find slightly challenging, such as finding the area of the paper, adding up all the numerals in your phone number and dividing by 11, or listing all of the prime numbers smaller than 100.  Include a few slightly embarrassing instructions, too, like ‘Sing your favorite song,’ or ‘Say the alphabet outloud and backwards.’  Make the first instruction on the page ‘write your name on the top right corner of the paper.”  Be sure you have enough instructions to use the back of the paper.

Now that you have a list of things to do, go back and make the second instruction ‘Read all of these directions before you do anything else.’  Make the very last instruction say, “Now go back and do only numbers ___, ___, and ____.”  Make the numbers of directions to be done match up with easy instructions on the rest of the activity.

If your student neglects the direction to read before doing anything, he or she will find a lot of work to be done.  You’ll be able to tell who is following directions by listening for the silly out loud tasks you’ve embedded in the list.  And your student will soon realize the value of following directions!!

Have fun with this exercise.

Communication Can Be Fun!

Clear communication is a must-have skill in today’s job market.  A person needs to speak AND write clearly and in ways appropriate to the setting.  That translates into flexible, creative communicators.  Help your child gain those skills through daily practice!  Writing assignments and discussions are just a few tools, though.  Try these day-brighteners when you need a creative new idea to boost communication skills.  You can play verbally or in writing; just make sure you have fun!

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

Put players into teams of two.  Give each person two pieces of paper and pencils or markers.  Have each player secretly draw a design (make it as complicated as you like!), and then get out the blank paper.  Players take turns giving verbal directions to their partner to duplicate the secret design they’ve drawn.

  • A Monster on the Board!

You’ll need a large chart paper, white board or even chalk board for this one.  Colored markers are also a plus.  Gather the group and have the students give directions to draw a monster.  The most specific and descriptive their instructions, the closer your drawing will come to their mental picture!  For example, the kids might tell you the monster needs long, curly hair.  As you work on your creation, point out all of the adjectives flying around, and maybe even keep a running list beside the picture.

  • Robots

Pair players up.  One player can pretend to be a robot that is controlled completely by verbal instructions.  The other player gets to give the directions.  Set some tasks for the teams to accomplish, like picking up a piece of paper, but remind everyone that the robots can do NOTHING that is not in the directions.   For example, if the controller says to bend down, the robot must bend down in place even if the paper is out of reach.  No fair taking unrequested steps!!

These are just a few diversions that rely on clear communications.  What other creative activities can you share?  Please leave your favorites in the comment box below.

Fun with an Old Calendar

It’s January, so that means that most of us are getting new calendars.  The old ones can be a great source of reading, writing and math fun, so don’t toss them.  This is the ultimate in recycling!!

  • Cut the numbers apart and have your child build math equations
  • Cut the days of the week apart and put them in order
  • Cut the month names out and put them in order
  • Tell or write stories about the pictures
  • Put the numbers in order
  • Find the numbers you need to count by 2’s (or 3’s or 4’s…) to 30
  • Do some calendar calculations-how many days between Christmas and Easter?  How many weeks is that?  How many months?
  • Which month has the highest numbered Tuesday?

You get the picture.  Now it’s your turn-what creative educational idea can you share with us that uses an old calendar??

The Power of Positive

No matter who you are teaching and who is doing the learning, remember that the Power of Positive is one of your biggest assets.  Set students up for success, brag on them regularly, and correct with gentleness and kindness.  You’ll be rewarded with students who are eager to learn and ready to take on new challenges.

Take reading for example.  A new reader is bound to make mistakes, but the way that you correct these is probably the most important way that you can encourage your student.  Provide extra support to a struggling reader by reading in unison.  Offer beginning sounds or reminders about letter clusters (OU says /ou/ like ‘out’).  Instead of saying “That’s wrong,” try “oops!”  And remember that not every error needs corrected all of the time.  I limit my corrections on oral reading to mistakes that will interfere with the students’ comprehension.

Math is another example.  Much better to say, “Try another way,” or “can you think of a different possibility?” than “Wrong answer.”  I mark homework by starring correct responses, and leaving the incorrect unmarked.

Use the ‘sandwich method’ of corrections, too.  Start with a compliment, put the correction in the middle, and end with another compliment.

All of these things will help your child build a positive attitude about learning.  What strategies have worked for you?  Please leave a story in the comments section!~

And a Personal Note

I have to apologize for the infrequent updates!  I really do love that you’re visiting so regularly, and I really WANT to update…honest I do!!  But I’m having technical difficulties.  For some reason, my ISP won’t allow me to connect at home with this site.  I’ve tried using a proxy, but that doesn’t allow me to post.  Any suggestions would be appreciated if you happen to be a technical guru.  My own tech guy feels that there’s something wrong in my service provider’s system and so  far he doesn’t believe me.  So I can only update when I’m connected away from home right now.

Meanwhile, I do have other blogs I’m keeping up with regularly.  Check out the Learning Nook or the Job Training Readiness Centeror Teaching Reading to get the latest crazy holiday ideas, fun stuff to do with kids,or some great ideas to help your job situation.

And remember that you can email me at reading (at) allinfoaboutreading.info.

I hope you’ll visit soon!!


Parent Newsletter Available

Hey everyone!  If you teach an elementary class or work with a summer program and want to educate parents right along with the kids, you’ll want to get your free sample of the Parents’ Guide to Reading.  This 2-page newsletter is great to duplicate and hand out to families because it’s full of ideas and information related to reading education.  Look for fun ideas to share with kids, thoughts on the process of learning to read, and simple explanations of teacher-jargon perfect for helping parents understand just what to do to help support their kids’ efforts to improve reading. It’s a great tool to build a home-school partnership. 

And parents, consider printing off this web address and the sample newsletter.  Tell your child’s teacher about it!!

Get your free sample issue just by heading over to Free Sample: Parents’ Guide to Reading Newsletter!

Run Around For Sight Words

Get your active young child engaged with learning basic sight words!  Make or buy a set of flashcards that show basic words that every child needs to learn.  These would be words like go, sit, up, down, run, and could.  You can find complete lists by search key words like Dolch list. 

Spread the words out around the floor of your play area.  You’ll want several feet of space between each word.  Now, call out a word and have your child run to find it.  Call another word and let your child run to the new word.  Keep going as long as excitement is there, and your active child will be practicing vital reading skills while burning up some energy and getting exercise!