We are currently in the age of hands on learning, and students everywhere are rejoicing. Long gone are the days when young students sit at a desk, take notes from the board and call it a day. I believe this was one of the main reasons kids would resent school. Hands-on learning allows students to engage in kinesthetic learning; they learn by doing, not by simply reading a textbook. By being involved in the learning and activities, it not only provides a more fun way to learn, but allows for differentiation in the classroom. Everyone learns in a different way, and as a teacher, you want to incorporate multiple styles into your teachings. Hands on learning, especially with young students, will keep them captivated and engrossed in the lesson.
Tips for Teaching Hands-On Learning
Integrate movement into your classroom. Having stations set up involves a lot of classroom management. However, it is a great way to bring about movement and learning in your classroom. Set up small groups of desks around the classroom, each group having a different activity. Students are encouraged to work in a group while maintaining that learning. Not only are they rotating to different stations, but the activities themselves can also involve small movements.
Take a break! Breaks let the brain relax and allow for students to be even more productive. Throughout the day, take five-minute breaks as a class. Older students may need to just walk around and stretch, while younger students may love to take a dance break to a GoNoodle video! Who doesn’t love a good dance break!? For more relaxing breaks, there is Cosmic Kids Yoga.
Anchor charts, diagrams and more. Use multiple methods to teach the same lesson. If you are having a discussion, try and integrate a short YouTube video that relates to your discussion. Pause in-between to continue discussion about what you are watching. Having a PowerPoint with pictures is a great visual tool. What’s even better than both of these things? Having your students create their own videos, and their own Power Points. Having a big group discussion with the integration of videos and pictures is a good way for the initial learning. It also gives students a chance to be in cooperative learning groups. A history lesson can involve the students’ video taping a reenactment of a historical event. An English lesson on Othello can involve students creating an alternate ending, and acting it out. Anchor charts are not only useful for visual students, but kinaesthetic learners can find use it in as well. There is a small movement in walking around the classroom to read the anchor charts, and may be the bit of movement that students needed.
The fresh outdoors. Anytime you can find a way to bring your lessons outdoors, you should absolutely do it. A change from the typical classroom setting can be beneficial for all learning styles, and kinesthetic learners will be able to move around more freely. Even taking those breaks outdoors could be really advantageous.
Create Creative Minds. Encourage creativity in your classroom. Encourage st
udents to think outside the box when creating a project, or solving a problem. Encourage them to become active learners. When students feel as though they are taking their learning into their own hands, there is not only a sense of independence, but motivation and accomplishment.