Making Connections

I have spent over fifteen years teaching low-income urban children, and certain realities have come to light during that time. The first of these is that, no matter what curriculum was being used, I ALWAYS had to modify it in order to reach all of my students. (Luckily, I always worked in schools where such modification was encouraged, or I might have been in big trouble!) I used the principles of Multiple Intelligences to create accommodations for my low-income students, who often were not verbal learners. Here’s one modification that was effective consistently:

 Catch and Answer

Your kinesthetic learners will do well at this! Every teacher should have, at the very least, a plastic beach ball on which they can write questions, math problems, letters, sounds, numbers, etc. for students to answer, solve or identify. Many school supply stores sell such items pre-printed, but for the budget-minded, the plastic beach ball works just as well. Many dollar stores sell them.

 How it works: Write the questions, math problems, letters, numbers, or whatever you want your students to practice on the ball. Have students stand in a circle. The teacher may choose the first student, or the students may pick. Here’s the key: the students must make EYE CONTACT with the person to whom they will throw the ball next. Students answer the question nearest to their RIGHT thumb when they catch the ball. If they don’t know the answer, they can pass and throw the ball to someone else. Teachers monitor the activity to make sure all the questions are answered, or if not, to help with questions to which none of the students are able to find the answer. This activity may be used with just about any subject.

 NOTE: I’ve used this in grades from K4 all the way to 10th, and the students love it! One modification teachers can use for classroom management is to have students stand at their desks, instead of in a circle.

 YOU know your students best. Have fun!

Kimberly BallouComment