Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tactile Learning--Shaving Cream!

There are different ways we all learn.  You may have heard of this before.  It's generally referred to as "learning styles".  We all can learn from various learning styles, but generally one style stands out more than the other.  The three main learning styles are visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic.  I'm sure you understand visual and auditory learning.  It's pretty self explanatory.  Visual learners (Oh me! Pick me!) learn best by seeing.  Auditory learners learn best by hearing.  Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing.

Kinesthetic is the form that is most usually stated.  It has to do with moving the body or doing a physical activity to reinforce what is being taught.  Tactile is linked along with it.  It also has to do with learning by doing, but it has more to do with touch and using fine motor skills.  Hands on learning is key for a child who learns best with this learning style.

All learning styles should be used in the classroom, and I feel it is important for me to use all with Little Man as well.  Right now we are learning to write our letters.  He really has no interest in this.  I think it has to do with wanting to do things right and not being a risk taker.  He isn't confident in how to write them, so if we are journaling and I ask him to write his letters he says "I don't know how".  He does well at tracing, but I want him to be able to do it all by himself!  Bring in THE SHAVING CREAM! :)

I sprayed some shaving cream on the counter and had Little Man rub it into a big circle.

Then I told him to a letter to make and he had to draw it out with his finger.

Look at that perfect H!

Then you just rub it away when you're done.

It's a perfect time to make a mistake too.
You can see he made his "C" backwards.  I just had him erase it and we made another.
You may notice my hand in the bottom right.  I had my own mini circle of shaving cream.  When we got to a tricky letter... or one he may have made a mistake on... I (visually!!) showed him how to do it step by step.  Then I made him do it on his.

I also had these letters out and he could look at them and use them as a reference.
It also helped us keep track of what letters we had already done and which ones needed to be practiced.  (Also the paper towels near by were necessary!)

I was a little nervous about this.  Little Man does NOT like getting his hand dirty.  He hates using glue and wants his fingers/hands wiped the minute he gets a dot of paint on them during arts and crafts time.
Luckily, he LOVED it and thought it was the coolest thing ever!!!
We will definitely be doing it again.  He did a much better job doing it in the shaving cream than he does on paper, it's great practice, and it's a great way to build up his confidence.

A few tips...
Don't use super cheap/old man smelling shaving cream.  You'll be smelling it all day!  I use to do this activity in my classroom (with spelling words or word wall review).  Once, someone donated some of the cheap-o stuff.  Of course, being the resourceful teacher I am/was, I put it to use.  Unfortunately, people were asking all day long, "What's that smell" and "What's going on in your classroom today?".  The bonus is, it's an easy way to get your desks cleaned! :p

Also, you could use this activity for multiple lessons.  It doesn't have to just be writing letters.  It could be for drawing shapes, writing ones name, practicing spelling words, writing numbers, and so much more.  Go ahead... break out the shaving cream.  It's great fun!

More tactile learning ideas coming your way soon....

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