There are five paths to long term memory
- Semantic - understanding words
- Episodic - associated with location
- Procedural - repetition of movement
- Automatic - conditioned response triggered by a stimulus
- Emotional - feelings
Teachers rely on semantic but emotional is the most effective. The article gives potential reasons for this but I prefer less specific banter..It is what it is...I've seen it. In addition to reasons, the article also lists ways to enhance learning. Here are some we have done and will continue to enhance learning to make emotional connections.
- Act out the book with "characters"
- Do real world math. Just yesterday at a birthday part a kiddo was adding up his loot for a future trip to target. 15+10= $25 bucks man! I have to caution myself on this. Sometimes just play should be play....it is not ALWAYS a lesson
- Field Trips (more on that below.)
- Draw during narration
- Build Models- we did this as part of a homeschool lego class
- Experience Books
Here are some things I WANT to do:
- Graphic Organizers
- Use various techniques such as videotaping to encourage narration
- Ask less, listen more
- Build a peer group, of just a couple of kid, to see if this encourages narrating. (More on that in a later blog as peer narration is talked about extensively in the article.)
- Build more models
Making ConnectionsAnother interesting point made is that those who are experts in a certain area tend to put info in much larger chunks. I know Andrew is a 'global' thinker. I recently blogged on my arts blog about how Andrew made a connection between waves in a puddle and the vibrations on musical instruments. I don't think this way- but i'd like to. I have a short long term memory. Aut-2-B-home recently directed me back to the Childlight Reviews and an article on scaffolding learning. I had read it, printed it, and even narrated on it via my blog...and still I forgot quite a bit. But I do have the general sense in my brain. I wonder how you make those global connections better as an adult??? I guess just doing it more helps you get better;)
The next section in the article tells us more on this- the HOW to make connections.
The best way to relate information read or presented is to correlate it to personal information. This could include graphic organizers or even pictures from a field trip. We have done oodles of Experience Books so perhaps I will pull these out even as we re-visit the same places over and over again. . Other ideas to cement things to personal experience includes field trips. I ponder how the public schools do field trips all the time- but what do they DO at the field trips??? I have seen them at Cranbrook, the Detroit Zoo, and the Detroit Institute of Arts with clipboards, worksheets and pen answering specific questions as related by the teacher or instructor. I think providing direction is important and it often frustrates me that Andrew wants to go off in his own direction; but when he does that he often finds his own connections. I need to continue working on the GUIDED participation as I don't feel that is cemented yet but it is sometimes nice just to go for a walk and see where it takes us. It is difficult to toggle back and forth between the two. (Any suggestions are welcome.) But these connections / discoveries are much greater for the child when made by the child. We need to provide the scaffolding but let the child remove the tarp to discover what is underneath.
Spencer, Jennifer. (2008) Improved Reading Comprehension Through Retelling. Charlotte Mason Educational Review. pg 13
Wolfe, P. (2001). Brain matters: translating research into classroom practice. Alexandria, VA. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.