I admit: My natural inclinations as a teacher are not wired for kinesthetic or visual learning. But, in thinking about the students I teach this year, in particular, the sixth grade Spanish 1 students, I knew that such activities would have to become a greater part of my repertoire.
Right now, the sixth grade Spanish 1 students are learning verbs to describe activities, in preparation for using me gusta (I like). So, I searched the Internet for introducing Spanish vocabulary in a way that tapped multiple pathways. I found one here.
However, before I could implement the aforementioned, I needed to create a photo slideshow to present the vocabulary I wanted to teach. This meant writing each Spanish word on its own slide, along with inserting a visual representation. I know that what I did was neither novel nor life-changing; it’s all been done before. That said, given the visual and kinesthetic dimensions of the process, the students engaged fully, and participated actively.
I gotta tell the truth: I have given plenty a side-eye to teachers who spent time and energy to creating vocabulary presentations/slideshows. No more. Today, I was a direct witness of this tool’s effectiveness. Not only of the vibrancy that learning new vocabulary can have, but also that when students engage more than one of their senses, the learning does in fact take root much more deeply.
With my high school Spanish 1 students, I used the visual/kinesthetic approach to introduce Spanish subject pronouns. The activity can be found here. As I introduced each Spanish subject pronoun, the students gestured and said them aloud in Spanish. We then did a walk-around activity, where the students touched and gestured each Spanish subject pronoun I said in English.
As a teacher, open-mindedness, and a willingness to try new things, are the elements that keep my teaching fresh, and my own level of engagement high.