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Sunday, October 21, 2012

VSL Learners: Part eight: Creating a visual-spatial classroom

Here's the assignment:
Create a blog with at least 8 entries to share resources and/or strategies with other educators, administrators, and/or parents. Be sure to include pictures, links, etc. in your blog. Make sure to describe how the resource or strategy might be useful to you and how it would impact VSLs.
We have come to our last lesson in the class.  I plan to write one more blog entry after this one, sort of  a summary of the class.

Use a variety of evaluation methods.

    a prezi
  • Allow students to show their learning in a variety of ways.  Papers, posters, prezis, powerpoints, movies, skits, oral tests and quizzes, and interviews are all methods of testing and evaluating.  All have their advantages and disadvantages.
Use a variety of teaching methods
  • Lectures have only one major advantage.  A large amount of information can be disseminated in a short period of time.  When used, lectures should be accompanied by short quizzes (whether graded or not) that test what the students have just covered (clicker questions).  This allows for a change of pace and for a quick check on whether or not the students understand the material.  Lectures should incorporate discussion, pictures, sound and movies when possible.  Students should be allowed to stand up and move around periodically.  As a colleague says, "The mind cannot absorb what the butt cannot endure."
Keep the room comfortable and well lit and interesting.

  • I enjoy my room.  I try and keep the room at 70 F give or take two degrees.  If the temperature gets much over 72 F I start to feel sick.  Golon claims that this (70 F) is the optimal temperature for learning.

    • Golon also claims that posting new items in the room is necessary to help retain interest.  I don't do so well  here.  I put up some posters and leave them.  Two of them (sequoia trees) have been up for years!  Golon also gives recommendations for wall colors and carpet color (p. 160).
    • Natural light is preferable to artificial light.  My school was designed fairly well in this respect.  We have a lot of natural light.
    • Although Golon claims that students do better listening to music, I disagree with letting students listen to ipods etc. in class.  I am listening to music now as I write this, and I have no problem in principle to students listening to music.  Many students, however, spend so much time playing with their music device that they get little work done.  
    • Golon cites research as showing that certain smells such as peppermint help students learn and improve mental ability. (p. 161)

    Other teaching ideas
    • Present material visually as well as orally.
    • Use maps, diagrams, charts, photos, etc.
    • Use hands-on activities whenever possible.
    • Give students enough time.
    • Encourage color coding notes
    • Venn diagrams
    • Using fantasy  (I want to do this with my students this year by having them visualize the journey to the center of an atom.  I could do something similar as they explore a cell.)
    • Use metaphors - How is a car/factory like a cell?  How is the body like a car/factory?  
    • I've been thinking about having my Physical Science student create sentences, words and puns with the element symbols and names.  I usually just have them memorize the name and symbol, but results have been going down in the last few years compared to ten years ago.  Can you find He3 below?

    Sources for images

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