While some students respond easily to initial instruction, others need different tools. As educators, we’re challenged to respond to these learning differences, keep our eye on the standards, and find ways to teach every student. A great way to help all students succeed is by using Multisensory Learning.
What is Multisensory Learning?
Multisensory learning involves using two or more of the senses while doing one activity. Children take in information in many different ways: by listening, seeing, touching, and moving. There’s a great Chinese proverb that speaks to this:
“Tell me and I’ll forget;
Show me and I may remember;child
Involve me and I’ll understand.”
Using multiple senses makes it easier for students to make connections between new information and what they already know. Here are some ways to do this in your classroom:
Foundational learning starts with the fingers. Many children benefit from visuals and also crave tactile stimulation. Manipulatives can help you reach children on both fronts.
For example, students who struggle with reading may find success through using letter manipulatives to build words or by using word manipulatives to build sentences. And, if those manipulatives are color-coded, the visual cues may help children recognize spelling or sentence patterns, too.
Large muscle movements stimulate the brain by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen. But did you know that movements that cross the midline, such as crawling and climbing, stimulate both sides of the brain?
Get students down on the floor! They can: Play mat games and use activity mats that target all kinds of literacy and math skills. Do giant word sorts on rolls of paper spread out on the floor. Crawl as they practice counting by tens. Pretend to climb an imaginary ladder while spelling words or reciting math facts.
Musical intelligence may be the first to develop, and it continues to flourish throughout our lives. You can have students make or listen to music to create those synapses!
Here are a few ideas: Go online to find songs to play in the classroom. If you have students who love to perform, use a USB recorder like the Easi-Speak™ to capture their voices as they sing upbeat educational chants. Then, replay to help the whole class build their skills in a fun way.
Remember that music with visuals, physical actions or manipulatives is even more powerful. So, encourage students to tap their toes, dance along or create artwork as they listen. Or, how about playing clapping games with a partner while chanting rhymes or alliterative tongue-twisters?
Graphic organizers allow students to see connections and critically analyze data by making abstract concepts more concrete. Try introducing story webs, sequencing charts and timelines into the writing process.
Each student can use info from their own writing to fill out the organizer, check that their writing makes sense, and includes all the right elements. You can also challenge students to create a new visual (like a poster, collage, drawing, or painting) based on a completed graphic organizer. Graphs can be integrated into sorting activities by having students tally their sorting results and display their findings in bar or line graphs.
Brain-based activities allow all learners to succeed. To stimulate your students’ brain cells, add these multisensory tactics to your program and help everyone flourish!
Tell us about some of the ways you use Multisensory Learning in your classroom at firstname.lastname@example.org!