On Tuesday I wrote a few basics about why students experience failure to visualize.
Yesterday I wrote about three things that can cause students to struggle with visualization.
For the next few days, I want to begin a few ideas for some practical ideas for teachers and parents to do when their students struggle with visualizing.
If you don't want to read the previous posts, here is a little catch-me-up...
If you can't visualize what you read then all comprehension breaks down and your brain is just trying to hold onto words and phrases. No deeper meanings.
3 things that can contribute to struggles with visualization:
1) Screen Time
2) Lack of Background Knowledge
3) Limited Visualization Experiences
So, if we know students come to us with struggles, what can we do?
How to Sharpen the Mind's Eye Part 1
I'm working on a list like this for parents over on Cowtown Caroline for later this week.
1) Rich Experiences...Visuals for the Physical Eye Sharpen the Mind's Eye
This can feel almost impossible or daunting for teachers to provide for students. Teachers are often working with limited time and limited resources. Not everyday can be a parade, you know?
But there are those days... The days where you can make your lesson a little more of a parade. Or those magic days where you get to go on a special field trip.
Basically visuals lead to visualization. (Thank you, captain obvious.)
Take those special days, and when they happen pour language and vocabulary ALL over them.
And then milk them for all they're worth all year long!
This was extra special...every year we took our 5th graders to the Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown. This helped build a lot of background for anything involving caves.
I wrote about this Oil Spill Simulation years ago. While it is primarily a science lesson, it gives a visual experience.
We had a winter celebrations festival a few years ago, and my students studied Hanukkah. None of my students knew much about it, but researching, working and celebrating at the festival gave them lots of visuals.
This post gave instructions on how to create a blubber glove to help students have a sensory experience to learn how blubber keeps you warm.
We all know that multi-sensory activities and field trips are engaging, and useful in content areas such as science and history. But, these activities also help reading SO much, because students have such a deeper understanding, and they are able to visualize these things.
The more vocabulary and rich experiences a child has, the better they will do as readers.
2) Build Background Knowledge in Prereading
Sometimes we cannot create elaborate activities or go on mega field trips like I discussed above, but there is always time to spend 3 minutes showing pictures or a movie clip. If you're blessed with a large screen or projector of some kind, this is extra fun.
There is always time for these types of activities. These 3-5 minutes of building background buy you a whole lot of comprehension. I've even done things like show movie trailers that had the same setting as a story to help kids get images going in their heads. They love that!
Students visiting the beach! ;-)
So basically I'm saying, if you want your kids to visualize, then take them to the zoo and do science experiments! Not exactly...but kind of! :-)
Stay tuned tomorrow for some more nitty gritty ideas that can be used for lessons or for small group instruction!
And just for fun, here are some cute pics of my own little pumpkin at the zoo...