Making lessons both memorable and fun brings magic into any classroom. Instead of looking to a room of passive, bored faces, you can transform your learners into active, engaged participants. I work with students one-on-one, and this is what makes my practice a success. I often tell my students, if you don’t love coming to our sessions, I’m not doing my job.
16 Strategies that Can Transform Your Classroom or One-to-One Sessions:
- Don't call home assignments, homework, but come up with a name that is more appealing and motivating such as home fun. Also, when introducing a new lesson or assignment, think like you are selling a product, and be sure to create fun and enticing names. For instance, I do not teach script or cursive, I teach roller-coaster letters! Furthermore, generate excitement for upcoming topics by showing your own enthusiasm.
- Bring the arts, music, and games into assignments. Many students enjoy fine arts, acting, music, and making as well as playing games, so try to integrate these into the curriculum. Encouraging these creative options can also bring the fun factor into learning and make academics more memorable too. If you don’t want to do it yourself, I offer a number of multisensory lessons/products that will do it for you.
- Encourage your students to complete my FREE Passive vs. Active Learning Profile offered free here. This will help them learn to manage their own learning and develop metacognitive skills.
- Mix up your approach and integrate multisensory learning activities into the classroom such as acting, small group work, and creative hands-on activities. Consider teaching to all 12 ways of learning, so that you can reach all of your students.
- Make your lessons colorful and allow your students to use color too. I have a huge collection of colored pencils, crayons, gel pens, magic markers, dry erase pens, and Frixion pens, highlighters and markers. Frixion pencils, highlighters, and markers are erasable, so there is no reason why they can not be used for all subjects! To learn more about them CLICK HERE.
- Incorporate fun and creative learning stations in the classroom, so that students can move around and process with other peers.
- Give students assignment options so that they can make a choice on how they would like to demonstrate their knowledge. Make sure the options tap into different learning modalities.
- Make connections between new information and prior knowledge so students learn to encode novel material in an organized, accessible fashion.
- Tell a story about the lesson content that can help with both memory encoding and retrieval. If stories are humorous, it’s even better. For example, Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia. I tell a story of a group of Sumerians sitting around a table braining storming a name. Out of frustration, one of the men blurted out “Uuurrrr!” The other men turned and said, “Yes! That’s it!”
- Creating rhymes and catchy ditties with academic content can make recall an easier process. You can make your own, encourage your students to come up with them, or you can search for them on Google or YouTube.
- You can provide a visual association or you ask your students to create their own visual associations for new content. This can be a mental or drawn image with the information. For example, if you are trying to remember the Spanish word for table (mesa), you can ask your students to visualize or draw a mesa or messy table.
- Auditory associations can also help. A word or concept may sound like something that reminds you of the meaning. For example the word dormant means - lying asleep or as if asleep; inactive. You could tell your students that dormant sounds like doormat. You could then suggest a visualization that a dog is fast asleep on a doormat.
- Graphic organizers, Mind Maps, Concept Maps, and Flowcharts offer visual ways to organize information and thoughts. These are powerful tools that help students make connections and envision the big picture.
- Acrostics are short sentences that use the initial letter of each word or phrase to be memorized to recall information. For example, for learning the states bordering the west coasts, you can use the acrostic COW for California, Oregon, and Washington.
- Hooking helps students connect the question to the answer, so that information learned can be easily accessed. This is a great strategy for remembering vocabulary words because the answer is embedded in the question. For example, the word “lent” is in the word “benevolent.” If someone lent you something, that would be a kind action.. Therefore, the word lent, in benevolent, provides a hint that can lead to the definition.
- Allow students to teach the material. They say you never learn something until you teach it, so give your kids the opportunity to do so.
If you would like to learn about Dr. Warren’s multisensory lessons that integrate these ideas CLICK HERE. However, if you would like to learn more about memory strategies as well as other helpful learning tools, consider purchasing Planning Time Management and Organization for Success. This publication presents methods and materials that guide, and support students in the areas of learning strategies, time management, planning, and organization (executive functioning skills). It includes agendas, questionnaires, checklists, as well as graphic organizers. You will also find advice and handouts for reading, math, memory, motivation, setting priorities and incentives programs. The materials accommodate learners of all ages from elementary to college. I offer a free sample assessment from the publication too, as well as a free video on executive functioning on the product page. To Access this Click Here
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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