A successful lesson is one that reaches each and every child. The tricky part is that children have a wide variety of learning styles. How do you plan a lesson that is effective for such a diverse group of learners?
Another consideration is that most learners don’t fit just one specific learning style. Students need to explore through different modes before approaching mastery.
Addressing Multiple Modalities of Students in the Classroom
The key is to plan and facilitate lessons with multiple modalities. You may have also heard this referred to as multimodal learning through visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile means. I like to keep to simple and call it the see, say, hear, and do model.
There should be clear visual elements to support the lesson. This includes anchor charts, digital displays, presentations, etc. This is extremely important for visual learners and ESL students. Visual learners may also greatly benefit from graphic organizers, pictures, and graphs.
One tool I find extremely helpful to address the needs of visual learners is the use of interactive student notebooks. Students have a handy visual representation that they can reference in their notebooks at any time.
Students need to have opportunities to speak during the lesson. It may not be possible or practical to try to call on every student. A more efficient approach is to encourage turn-and-talk or structured partner talk within the lesson.
The key to implementing turn-and-talk effectively is to make it highly structured. Student A should have a turn to talk for a set amount of time, and student B should have the next turn to talk for that same set amount of time. The expectation is that every student engages in speaking about the topic.
This lesson component comes naturally to many teachers. This aspect of the lesson includes talking, explaining, reading stories, and discussing. Auditory learners may require a lot of verbal repetition. If you feel like you are repeating yourself throughout the lesson, you’re probably on the right track!
Students must have some kind of task to do during the lesson, whether it’s writing, building, manipulating or other kinesthetic movement.
Kinesthetic and tactile learners greatly benefit from opportunities to role play, use manipulatives, or explore through project-based learning.
The need to address these 4 learning styles is so important that I actually write the words “see, say, here, do” at the top of my lesson plans. This serves as a reminder for me to incorporate each modality in every lesson.
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I’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you plan lessons that meet a variety of learning styles?
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