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Kinesthetic Options

I teach English composition and would like to have more suitable strategies for the tactile learners in my classroom. Would having students write an essay on the computer (after a lesson on how to write) be an example of a kinesthetic exercise? Thanks.

Hi Sandra,
This strategy is a good one. You might also have the student do a "walk through" of their composition. They could describe verbally what they are going to write about, do a mini-play on the topic, etc. This can also be done with student learning groups if the class is large.

Kinesthetic learners can be reached easier, if you involve them in the learning process more. Typing and reading are not enough for kinesthetic learners. I am a kinesthetic learner with dyslexia and in order for my teachers to reach me they had to use activities that got me up out of my seat.

Perhaps you can have your kinesthetic learners write about something that they tactilely know how to do-making, creating, building. Thus, you could combine the goal of good descriptive writing with an area they feel comfortable in discussing. I know many of my students freeze up when asked to write an essay about themselves or their opinion, but find it easier to write about something concrete. Also good discussions and role playing can work. I also never think students are never too old to be read to. I frequently read passages aloud and then we discuss. Many students who are not great readers enjoy this and the feedback is good.

The module said that working in a standing position is helpful for kinesthic learners. Perhaps using the old practice of having students approach the board and writing there would be beneficial. Doodling and using different colors were also suggested. These ideas could easily be incorporated into a chalkbard/dry earase board activity.

While it is a challenge, with a bit of lateral thinking, we can no doubt come up with many options for the kinesthetic learner: jigsaw puzzles or building-block towers that allow the student to literally piece together the compnents of the lesson; drawing pictures or creating sculptures as an alternative to writing papers; educational hot-potato-style games (or more elaborate dodge-ball games if your classroom size and legal department will permit them); speeches delivered using International Sign Language or semaphore; dramatic tableaus, choreographed dance numbers (hey, it seems to work on "Glee").

Other ideas?

Hi Scott,
With kinesthetic learners it can be a simple as having them outline their perceptions of the lecture. Demonstrate what they consider to be the major points by putting them on screen or the board. The point is to engage the learners in movement. Doesn't have to be dramatic just movement of any kind. This way the body mind connection is made and the students become more engaged in the learning process.

Hi Scott,

I played a lively game of "Survivor" with one of my 400 level Literature classes. Last person on the island got extra credit. The voting was brutal!

Perhaps you can try to incorporate a game show aura and use a "host" personality to liven up the class from time to time.

The Kinesthetic learners will process material best through a physical activity in conjunction with learning new course content.
In Fashion Sketching, I will draw the initial methods on the board for the fashion figure using set measurements.
Afterwards, I allow my students to team up into two groups and challenge them to draw the same figure on the board! They stay energetic and enjoy processing the cognitive material.

Hi Kathleen,
Good way to let the students use their different intelligences and abilities to create a product. I am sure they get very excited when they come up with a design and then get to share it with others.

I play Jeapordy with my classes at least once a term. It is a good way for them to group up and work as a team, as well as challenge them on multiple levels. The students enjoy the competition (and it sometimes gets fierce), and helps them to prepare for upcoming tests. The team with the highest score at the end gets extra credit. Teaching classes like A&P and Medical terminology, this is a great way to get participation and energy into the class.

Hi Beth,
Good to hear about your success with Jeopardy. It is one of my favorite games to use with my classes as well. The students really enjoy the game and get really competitive while playing it. They always do better on their quizzes after reviewing in this way.

This subject reminds me of the time in college when I was taking a course on the New Testament of the Bible. We were to write a paper on a New Testament topic and I was temporarily in a great deal of angst about it as I was not feeling inspired. I was an eager art student then, and was very 'into' the life drawing course I was taking at that same time. Suddenly I thought of an idea of a 'kinesthetic option' to do instead of a paper, which would tie into what I was learning in life drawing, and that was to do a surrealistic drawing depicting Paul's 'Seven Messages to the Seven Churches' in the Book of Revelation. When I presented it to Miss Ingalls, my professor, a dear woman who was about to retire, she embraced the idea, and I did indeed do the drawing in lieu of a paper. The results were great, and she showed the class, giving me an additional boost of confidence that I could indeed become an artist, which I am to this day. As a teacher, she really contributed to my academic 'well-being' by being open to my kinesthetic project, WHICH HAD DIRECT RELEVANCE TO THE MATERIAL I WAS LEARNING IN THE LIFE DRAWING CLASS THROUGH MUCH REPETITION AND TRAINING!!! I have resolved to be a similar type of instructor as Miss Ingalls -- open and encouraging, yet with the necessary boundaries of expecting to see results from my lectures and demonstrations in the students' work. And I must add here that doing that project for her course enabled me to learn much more about the "Seven Messages to the Seven Churches" than producing a paper on the subject. I hope that relaying this story will be a contribution to some instructors who could benefit their students by allowing them to seek other alternatives to learning than particular assignments the standard way that they might have outlined. After all, isn't 'learning' the bottom line?

Hi Anne,
What a great and inspiring story. You were very fortunate to have such a teacher because she helped to share who you are today. Talk about a legacy! We should all aspire to reflect some of the insight that this lady had into how to be an effective teacher.
Bless Miss Ingalls and the impact she had on her profession and the lives of so many students.

Hi Sandra,

I teach Speech and am trying to find different ways to appeal to my tactile learners as well. One thing I've done is to find a stress ball that we throw around to practice impromptu speaking (everyone gets a turn and must speak when the ball is thrown to them). Perhaps a similar concept could be used when you're reviewing your course content (e.g. grammar skills)?

My students and I will play hangman with the glossory words for each chapter of our book. I think it is fun and motivating for my students.

Dr. Gary,

I do like the jepordy and hangman tactic to help your tactile students learn. I teach culinary arts and have mostly tactile learners in the class. They love to learn by producing something that uses a technique or method of cooking that was demonstrated to them in the classroom. There is also a portion of the cirriculum that deals with nutrition where the students seem to have the most difficulty. Can you suggest a method to help me teach these students?

Hi Robert,
I would try and make a game of the nutrition part of the curriculum as well. You could have the students do comparisons between different menu items or put the nutrition content into the Jeopardy game and use teams to drill on the parts they need to memorize. Hope this ideas will work for you.

Thanks Dr. Gary,

Sometimes I can't see the obvious. Making the nutrition portion of the class a jepordy game is a fantastic idea. I'm also considering making the sanitation information all students should know in a hangman game. What your thoughts Dr. Thanks again, Robert

Hi Robert,
I would do it. My students really like hangman, which we play when we are reviewing. The thinking involved in solving the puzzle really gets them involved in the material. Go for it!

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