Children needs tools to internalize difficult rules, so I focus on making information accessible through movement, mnemonic devices, songs, and chants.
The application of learning requires metacognition to happen automatically, and in order to build that automaticity, information needs to be explicit and arrive in different parts of the brain.
Movement and music are vehicles for utilizing both hemispheres of the brain. Research has shown that using these tools increases cognitive ability and language acquisition–both things that are necessary to implement any kind of learning, but specifically grammar. The part of the brain that handles movement is the part that remembers first. The second part is the song.
The way I apply this in the classroom:
–First, I introduce short snippets of music with movement try to get information into the students’ bodies and create an inner monologue.
–Next, I post evidence of our ditties and mnemonic devices somewhere in the classroom that the kids have to move their body to get to.
–Then kids start collaborating to write their own mnemonic devices. This is a key for lifelong learning.
This approach takes subjects that seem difficult and inapplicable and puts it in kids bodies and in their minds.
About Marie Krueger-Miller
Marie Krueger-Miller began teaching after working as a stage manager in opera, theatre, and dance. She has taught in Houston for sixteen years wher...