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How-To: Energize Your Classroom

Create a Multisensory Classroom Benna Golubtchik

It is every teacher's dream to teach each child in a way that meets his or her unique needs. But the reality is that teachers cannot always individualize instruction to meet the needs of each student. Effective teachers present a variety of learning experiences which enable their students to use their preferred learning styles. By structuring assignments which tap into their students' strengths, teachers can provide their students with ways to be successful. In a multisensory classroom, students gain self esteem because they are given the chance to demonstrate understanding and mastery of their subjects. They express themselves through their most highly developed learning styles. (See How to Recognize Learning Styles.)

Asking students to evaluate the process by which they learned something is a useful diagnostic tool. Good questions for self-assessment include: What did I learn? What did I like best about the assignment? What part did I find most difficult? What skills do I still need to improve? As students become aware of their strengths as learners, they become empowered to take charge of their own learning.

Of course, as you look at the list of suggestions below, you will see a great deal of overlap between the activities and their suggested modalities. That is wonderful. The more senses we stimulate through our assignments, the more experience our students will have in developing their underutilized potential!

Tactual/Kinesthetic learners think using both feelings and movement.

  • molding or making a 3 dimensional model such as a physical map
  • mapping a location
  • diagraming a procedure
  • demonstrating a process by physically acting it out
  • creating unusual, colorful designs, shapes and patterns, to illustrate a scene from nature or history
  • creating games such as Trivial Pursuit which others can play
  • developing crossword and other puzzles for others to solve
  • constructing a time line and filling in details
  • writing how-to books
  • investigating authentic problems and developing possible solutions
  • drawing or painting a picture, poster, chart, graphic representation, or sketch, representing learned content
  • constructing props and costumes to dramatize an event dramatizing or role playing a literary or historical event
  • building a shadow box or diorama display
  • creating a dance or movement which tells a story
  • going on field trips to appropriate sites
  • participating in learning centers
  • learning outdoors
  • constructing a family tree
  • using whole body learning such as acting out vocabulary words or a sequence of events
  • constructing projects, and making diagrams, models or replicas of systems or procedures
  • building puppets and putting on a show related to content
  • pantomiming a sequence
  • playing charades
Auditory processors think in rhythm, volume, tone, and pitch.

  • identifying rhythmic patterns in music or poetry
  • performing a rap or song which summarizes information
  • writing an original play, rap, jingle, cheer, or song
  • composing music which conveys the theme or mood of the lesson
  • interviewing a famous person with knowledge of a topic or whose accomplishments are admired
  • inviting a guest speaker (real, historical, or literary), and planning appropriate questions
  • studying or making oral histories
Visual processors receive information through seeing pictures or words. Factors such as size, color, brightness, distance, and location are important.

  • writing a journal
  • creating a real or imagined correspondence between historical or contemporary characters
  • writing newspapers of a different time period, complete with contemporary news, fashion, entertainment, and feature items
  • researching, comparing, and contrasting music and art of different cultures or time periods
  • rewriting difficult information in a simpler form for an audience of younger students
  • reading poetry
  • writing their own poetry, stories, ideas or thoughts
  • composing scripts which depict historical events
  • using vivid imagination to visualize how literary or historical characters might have changed events
  • utilizing a camera or video camera to create a pictorial report
  • creating a "web" organizer, Venn diagram, or concept map to explain information to others
  • developing color coding systems to categorize information
Research has confirmed that many "at risk" students have difficulty with sedentary activities and respond well to tactile, hands-on activities (See How To Recognize Students At Risk). Wise teachers will creatively adapt and incorporate a variety of learning activities into their curriculum.

Have fun!


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