I was inspired by a series of tweet challenges (and blog post) that were bouncing around over the past few days and decided to take it up with my class. Being that they are 7 & 8 year olds, on their first day at school after the summer hols, it was to be a more of an oral adventure than a written one, as I needed them to articulate freely rather than being inhibited by the day-one-writing-blues!
We gathered around the campfire (class sharing circle) and verbalised the idea around the campfire theme. What we do around a campfire? Why do we have campfires when we camp? and so on. The ideas were great! Apart from the suggestion of marshmallows from my student teacher (which got us ALL giggling!) we had a great list of reasons for campfire time - we talk, we take turns, we tell stories, we tell about our histories and families around campfires etc.
From there, I embarked on the challenge - what is one thing I should know about them as a learner?
Deep? Challenging for them to articulate at that age?
Perhaps. But I had already planned my strategy for (hopefully!) getting this big question answered.
I talked about my own learning journey as a child at Primary School and how I wriggled and giggled. I talked to them about how I learn best by fiddling with objects (one of my students has a stress ball that he brings to the mat with him, so this instantly put him at ease). I gave examples of my own time at primary school where I loved to collaborate and talk and argue and lead. After my time of sharing, we tossed the ember (a small ball) to the next child (a volunteer) who shared his learning style.
The class were AMAZING. From talking about learning best with others to learning best alone, wanting to work in a quiet classroom, a busy classroom and a noisy classroom, to children explaining that they were tactile or visual, movers or still, happiest with computers/technology for communicating and so on. WOW. What a portrait of how different learners learn!
I now have the most incredible portrait of the range of learning styles in my classroom. As the year wears on, this knowledge is powerful in enabling me to make choices that allow the children to best be catered for as learners.
I dare you to try it! Share you OWN learning styles to your class, in kid-speak, and just see what they open up and share with you in return!