What Pickle…(part 1)

I like pickles. Bread and butter are my favorite if you are ever at a farmer’s market pick me up some OK, thanks! My daughter on the other hand from the time she was 2 would order her Chick-fil-A sandwich then say AND NO PICKLES please.  Isn’t it funny how two people can have almost same personality and even look alike  and one HATE pickles and the other order extra?

Me and the Pickle Hater
Me and the Pickle Hater

Well our students are like that as well. Just because they are all the same age, from same community (well my kids are from a HUGE variety of communities, but that is not typical) does not mean they are all the same. They all learn different, and they create different.  Nothing they will do will ever be the same.  That is what make standardization so frustrating!

A student reminded me the other day that I teach the same thing “like 3 or 4 times a class, can’t ya just do it once?” Yeah I could, but only part of the class would even 1. pay attention and 2. remember what was said.  I have 90 minutes of class time.  I will never complain about block scheduling.  Only one day of the week (usually) I lecture.  My lectures are never the entire 90 minutes (I think even I would die of boredom!). The kids are usually assigned activities or PBL problems for the other times.

I usually spend 45 minutes on lecture.  The thing is, I DO NOT lecture too much during that time! I try to reach all learners. I do all the below focused on the same piece of content.

  • I assign quick, short reading passages (We are required to give factual/textual reading because school weakness on standardized test)
  • Classes usually begin with a short “what if…” or role play writing assignment.
  • I always show a show a short video clip of the subject matter (this will be more difficult now because Alabama no longer will pay for United Streaming)
  • I give information on the subject (there is your real lecture)
  • We always act out 1 or 2 things I’m teaching (a cold front pushing the warm front, etc)
  • Lastly I always assign them to draw images or diagram, especially in science.

I’m not telling you this because I have the perfect way or that I’m a master teacher – I’m far far from it. I’m telling you this, because as I sat and watched my kids today with only 11 more days with them, I was thinking about how different all of them are.  Wondering which students I didn’t reach as well as I should have because their learning styles were emphasized.  I hate that thought.

I had a friend tell me the other day that I was “nuts focusing on 90 something people to reach, Jesus only focused on 12,” and pointed out that others still learn or you still can reach them even if not the ones you are not focused.  That is hard as a teacher for me to accept.

So back to where I started, kids all are different, which means they learn different.  We need to focus on all of them. Even the ones who do learn from hearing a lecture – just don’t do that the entire time or the rest will die of boredom! This is a reminder for me, and hopefully to you as well as you prepare for next year!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Great write up, Amanda! You basically answered my questions that I posted in my blog post today (http://blog.simplek12.com/education/are-you-catering-to-different-learning-styles-in-your-classroom/) –> I was so interested to see how we are catering to the different learning types of students. You really helped me paint a picture of what IS being done and what CAN be done to ensure all students are gathering the information needed, regardless of learning styles.

    Great post!

  2. I love this post! Your explanation is simple and right on. I quoted you on my blog for my teachers to read. Thanks for your insight!!!

  3. Those are great ways to help reach students’ learning styles (preferences). Lately I have done a lot of thinking about oral literacy. You might think about adding more out loud reading among those students that want to. I allowed students to break into small groups or partners to do read alouds while other students chose to read silently to themselves. Just an idea…

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