Two weeks ago, we shot video for Grade 4 Lessons 4 over a two-day period with 28 4th graders. Four 45-minute lessons – auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and linguistic. Each introduces a strategy that builds student multimodal skills, which then the teacher uses to deliver other curriculum concepts. All four lessons explored elements of a piece of literature (“I Love the Night,” by Dar Hosta), each through a different lens.
On Day 1 we did the auditory and visual lessons, learning about pitch and Orff instruments, and about improvisation as a critical element of communication. The students created a melody to a “Welcome Night” poem, and added an accompaniment with a bit of guidance. The visual lesson explored characters and setting in the book, especially focusing on character outlines, and creating shadow puppets by following a prescribed, sequential set of directions.
At the end of day 1, as we closed the visual lesson, I asked the students to consider the amount of time they had spent on the visual task, and whether they thought it was worth the time, when there were so many other demands academically. One very thoughtful young lady said she thought it was worthwhile because it was engaging and fun. Another very thoughtful young lady said it was fun, but not worthwhile in the end because it didn’t teach her to do anything important like reading or math. (Honest – these are her words and not mine.)
On Day 2 we taped the kinesthetic and linguistic lessons. The kinesthetic lesson started with Zudio, and pairs “walking down the avenue.” You’ll see from the accompanying picture that the kids finally loosened up a bit and started having fun. They explored several formations and ways of moving, then improvised in groups to create a dance to their Welcome Night song. During the linguistic lesson, we took all the parts and put them together with narration, improvising a LOT.
At the end of day 2, the young lady who the day before had shared her skepticism about the worth of the activities, raised her hand without prompting. She said that she had really enjoyed the day, and that she had rethought her answer from the day before. “I think it IS worth the time to do Total Learning, because everyone has a different way of learning, so we all had a chance to explore in all those different ways. We learned to understand more about each other, and about the information in the book. The way you put those lessons together, Dr. Sue, it was brilliant! I can see how this kind of learning really helps us see the connections.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself!