Monday, April 6, 2015

Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites {Chapters 8-10}

I'm back to with more Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites.  I am combining chapters 8-10 because honestly, I struggled to think of ways I use chapters 8 & 9.

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 was about using similes, metaphors and analogies.  After reading through the different ways to use these, the only way that I could think of that I solidly use this strategy was through the teaching of inverse operations in math.  We have talked a few times about how we can check a subtraction problem's answer by using addition.  This is also a way we have started to build some fact fluency.  

Tate says this is the most effective strategy for students because it helps build connections.  I guess that mean I had better find a way to incorporate it more!  One way for me to do this would be through examples and non-examples.  Instead of simply doing sorts, I could have students sort examples/non-examples and explain why.  This would be a little higher level and the explanation would help build their vocabulary as well.  Win-win!

Chapter 9

Chapter 9 is about mnemonics.  Again, this was not a strength for me.  The only one we have used is good old ROY G BIV for the colors of the rainbow.  Believe you me, we have that one down pat!  Well, if that works, why not try another!?!  Holly at Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten hosted the link up for this chapter, and has so many great mnemonics listed in her post.  A few I plan to use are some of the spelling ones, and I like the weather ones to use next year when we do the weather unit.  I love the idea of the kids coming up with their own mnemonics.  I could see my students really getting into this!

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 is about movement.  These quotes reminded me how important incorporating movement is:

"Any task learned when we are physically engaged in doing it remains in our memory for a very long time." {Allen, 2008}

"Movement not only enhances learning and memory but it also causes neural connections to become stronger." {Hannaford, 2005}

One of the ways I use movement is through Go Noodle.  I think this has become a staple in many classrooms, and it is no wonder why!  Another way we move daily is through HeidiSongs.   We L-O-V-E HeidiSongs in my classroom.  We have been moving and grooving to our sight words, phonics sounds and various math songs all year.  While I wash the breakfast tables each morning (we eat breakfast in our rooms), students are singing and dancing with Heidi.  Parents tell me all the time how impressed they are with their kids' spelling, and I attribute so much of that to HeidiSongs!  If you haven't used her stuff, look it up on YouTube and give it a try.

I use reading centers in my class to keep kids from being in one place for too long.  This isn't really movement throughout a lesson, but it does keep them up and going by rotating every 10-15 minutes.  I have also tried some alternative seating this year.  I borrowed an exercise ball from a partner and recently ordered 2 Hokki Stools.  This is the first year I have really noticed (probably more actually paid attention) to the different positions in which students learn best.  I have 3 kiddos who will happily stand all day while working.  After seeing them do this over and over again, I thought, why should I stop them.  This obviously works for them!

My kiddos love games.  One of my favorites is Double Double from Greg at Kindergarten Smorgasboard.   You can read more about it on his post.  We also modified it for subtraction by playing "Zero, Zero".  Each time you get doubles, the kiddos are up and moving.  They definitely know their doubles and are well on their way to building fluency in other facts as well.

Jack Hartmann has kept us moving while learning.  I have a few of his DVDs and CDs, and they are fantastic for teaching concepts with movement.  I personally like the DVDs because I don't have to create the movements on my own!

Sorry for the long post with no pictures!  I'd love to hear how you use these strategies in your classroom!


  1. Analogies....I went to a talk once and she was so supportive of using these in your classroom. She said they support that higher level thinking. I need to do more too! I want to look at Heidi songs this summer to see how I am incorporate it into my instruction!

    1. There are lots of HeidiSongs to check out on YouTube. It amazes me how much my kiddos love them and pick up on them so quickly!

  2. Please Check Our New Products... Let's Join With Us