Monday, October 3, 2011

Principal Notes: Dancing in Class a.k.a Motoric Memory

This past summer my family took a week long vacation to Cape Cod. One of the highlights of the vacation was my daughter learning to ride her bike without training wheels. The first day we attempted it was at sunrise with the long even parking lot lightly populated by a few people going for a morning run or walk. While my daughter was practicing a nice older couple stopped, and the gentlemen told my daughter, “This might be hard at first but the great thing is that you will never forget learning how to ride a bike - even when you get to my age!” I could see the joy in their eyes as they were recalling teaching their own children.

Brain research has shown us in recent years that taking in information through motor or touch sense is one of the best ways to store information in our long and short term memory. This is why if you learned to ride a bike when you were young you could still get on a bike after years of not riding and know what to do.

This instructional practice is frequently called dancing or getting up and moving around by students. It is also utilized greatly by the Fundations ( Phonics program which is incorporated in grades kindergarten through third. On my recent walk-thorugh I happened to catch two teachers using this well researched pedagogical practice. Below are pictures of Mrs. Babajtis’ kindergarten class using motoric memory to learn and retain in their long term memory vowel and consonant sounds. Also featured below is Mrs. Gover’s class likewise using motoric memory to learn how to find range and other related math vocabulary and processes.

An additional benefit that is evident to the viewer in these pictures is that the students are having fun. My daughter had a heightened sense of independence from riding her bike just like the students in the pictures have more confidence with letters and math. It is so exciting to see students having fun and learning particularly as they are beginning their journey to become life long learners.

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