We all have that one thing that gets to our core. One thing that sneaks up and grabs us by surprise. One thing that hits a nerve or sparks a vivid memory. What is that one thing for you? A song? A name? A picture? A smell? Many of us will probably agree that whatever it is…it is tied to one of our senses.
Our senses can take us back in a split second to the warmth of the concrete under our feet on a hot summer day at the public pool. How? For me, it’s a song. Ever hear a song and the most vivid memories come flooding in? How about that one dish that your grandma used to make? One bite or smell and you are sent back in time to the comforts of grandma’s kitchen.
Tell me…where does this take you?
With this one I start out as a kid hearing this blast at full throttle from my brother’s bedroom. My mom screaming…”turn that down”. Then it turns into a more recent memory of my son’s football team going to state and the parents all lining up to cheer them onto the field. Funny how one little song can take me back to so many different places.
Senses are a very powerful part of our deepest memories. They are our key to remembering details that otherwise would be forgotten forever. This is why I use sensory activities and beautifully written and illustrated books to teach comprehension. I appeal to my students’ senses in hope of creating a memory that will last.
I teach struggling readers. I do so in a short little window of 20 minutes 5 days a week. My time with them has to be golden! I have to make the most of every minute. Stressful? Maybe. Challenging? A little. Impossible? No!
A watched a scope tonight given by Chris from Famous in First. He talked about teachers creating a stage, an atmosphere, an environment of excitement and entertainment in their classrooms in order to engage students and create meaningful lessons. I agree, but you know what? I really don’t feel like I’m acting. I might look like it and after watching a few of my videos teaching, I do look like I’m acting, but honestly…I’m not. The truth is, if you believe in something enough others will want to believe too. I create a feeling of excitement for my young readers simply by being passionate myself.
Yes it takes time to earn students’ respect. One in which they truly trust in you, but once that is gained and they know and understand you are “in it” for them, they will join in your excitement. They will hop on board your little teaching train and ride anywhere with you.
Below I will show you a couple of the books I use to teach Visualizing. Since visualizing is such a sensory skill I spent many hours looking for the right books to introduce it and practice it. These authors are some of the best at “showing” not telling. Take a look and see what you think? Would these books work for you? Would any of them inspire you enough to teach with passion and excitement? Try reading a few out loud. See if any of them have a sensory effect on you. If so, give it a whirl with your students. Have them listen and draw what they “see” while you read. Share them and enjoy the different perspectives!