Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Reviewing, and Learning, the Facts
I feel hands-on learning is always best, but there are some things where review and even memorization are necessary. Multiplication facts for one, and foreign language vocabulary for another.
The best thing we did to facilitate this(starting about 8 years ago) was put a giant white board in the dining room, and on it we write down bites from each of our subjects...sort of like a study guide when you are studying for a test. If there is something I want them to remember for this chapter in History, it goes on our white board, and so on...the board has expanded since I now also have a high schooler and junior high student, as well as five children learning 4 different foreign languages.
We use the information on our whiteboard for review, discussion, quizzing, and learning whenever we are in our dining area. We talk about what we are learning, and we review often. We also use empty spots on the white board to help teach math principles and in some cases, it's also a doodle pad. The board's contents changes from week to week. Sometimes it is loaded with information, and sometimes it isn't so full.
Currently on our board we are focusing in on foreign language. This is more because of the ages of my children. They are beyond rote learning in most other subjects, and are all in separate science and history books now that my youngest is nearly 10. With five children learning four different languages (German, French, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese---yes, Mandarin Chinese...I still marvel at that one), our board is consumed with foreign language tid bits.
Another section of the whiteboard has a calendar. I created the calendar using electrical tape and dry erase markers. On it, we write out our engagements for the month. Just below it, we have a line that says "Today is Tuesday, January 13th, 2009", which one child writes out each day. I usually have the child who is working on spelling the days of the week and the months do this task (though now, they are all beyond this)! We also have put this exact line in German, French, Italian, and Chinese on the board, to help those learning the language to get this down as well. Learning numbers, days of the week, and months is important.
We even have a Chinese-language calendar on the board to help my daughter learn the days of the week, months, and numbers as she learns her Chinese. A calendar is a must for learning English days, months, and numbers first of all (in early elementary), and then later learning these same things in a foreign language. You can buy a ready-made hanging whiteboard calendar, or you can buy a sheet of melamine board at Home Depot (about $18 for a 4'x8' sheet of it!!!) to make your own.
In the past, it's included items such as sight words (irregular words),the alphabet, math facts, current phonics digraphs and diphthongs, history, parts of a flower, poetry, music notes, music chords, diagrams of the constellations in the night sky, and so on.
Our board is actually a 4x8 foot of melamine board with 1x1's around it in a frame, and dry erase markers hanging up neatly on the wall in a flower pot.