My POV: Applying Learning

Before everyone heads off for Winter Break a quick reflection on kids: their learning and how they transfer the didactic to the practical. A whirlwind of subbing has my mind ablaze with thoughts, ideas and questions. So I continue with My POV meanders.

We sit with our students during whole groups, small groups, peer groups and one on one instruction in the hope that what we discuss, present and teach is understood and integrated into their background information (kid’s schema) of what they know.

We see in social emotional development that transference from one situation to the next is often based on age, experience and the many opportunities to consolidate authentic experiences before children are successful. This is also true in all venues of play from block building to construction manipulatives to navigating the outdoor climbing structures, to riding bikes, swimming and sports. If you’ve seen a youngster trying to traverse those monkey bars at the park, you know what I mean. From resilience to success takes time.

In similar ways numeracy skills learned with hands on materials to “math talks” to application takes time.

In similar ways literacy skills learned with letter sound skills and sight words using various modalities then applied to reading and writing takes time.

As I reflect on what I call the “transference of learning to application,” I wonder how this works for our diverse learners? Is drill and practice an option? How do the programs you have, work with your students? How do we adapt our lessons to meet their needs? We know one size doesn’t fit all, but where is the “give” that’s okay?

img_6945   img_6811  img_6062   img_6045

The collage of rock climbers are my grandkids. The others are from my kinders a few years ago and a 2nd grade class that I subbed in.


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8 Responses to My POV: Applying Learning

  1. adunsiger says:

    Faige, I wonder if so much depends on the individual child. I’m not a fan of worksheets, and I question a lot of “drill types” of activities. Our new Kindergarten Program Document states the importance of a play-based and inquiry-based learning environment, and even highlights “not to do worksheets,” but that said, direct instruction still plays a role. I wonder if the answer here lies in the underlying question that’s part of our new document: “why this learning, for this child, at this time?” If we always ask ourselves this question, will we also respond accordingly? Yes, I’ve done mini-lessons on how to form certain letters, how to add or subtract groups of objects, and how to read and write certain words, but these mini-lessons tend to happen in small groups or 1:1 with children that are ready for this learning at this time. Maybe to make this happen, we need to teach and support student learning even more in small groups. Is the environment itself really at the heart of this matter? I’m curious to hear what others think.


    • faige says:

      Such thoughtful questions! I think we’ve all been in the position of using worksheets. I’m not a fan but have seen its usefulness at the right time for the right purpose and for those who are ready and in an environment that is supportive of the individual learner. But nothing can take away from hands on authentic/child initiated wonder and discovery.

  2. adunsiger says:

    Thanks Faige! I also wonder if it’s the worksheet we need or the direct instruction. Is there another way to maybe instruct? What might be the value in using one option versus another one? If we’re getting rid of worksheets, why is that, and what’s a better option? Maybe considering these questions will lead to us uncovering some different possibilities.


    • faige says:

      Worksheets are often used as an assessment of the instruction, whether in whole or small groups or one on one. I don’t think I’ve used worksheets as a tool for instruction per se. Seeing them used less in kindergarten was something I advocated for. But now retired no longer in the classroom subbing has its drawbacks: limited say
      and rewards: hindsight And sharing my reflections.

      • adunsiger says:

        Thanks for sharing, Faige! I wonder if they need to be used in this way. I can’t help but thinking about Reggio Emilia and the 100 languages of children. If we truly believe in these 100 languages, do we need to give more options for students to share their learning? This is something that I think about often.


      • faige says:

        I do too! Worksheets to assess might be the most expedient way but certainly not the only way!! Those 100 Languages certainly give us food for thought, don’t they?
        In my last few years in the classroom rarely used worksheets for assessment or otherwise. Kinders are clever, diverse in their learning and thinking and I wanted to respect that as well.
        I see that often in your posts about the kids in your classrooms.

      • adunsiger says:

        Thanks Faige! Even if expedient, I wonder if worksheets actually consistently give us accurate data. Is it that the children don’t know the concept or can’t express their thinking in this way? Thanks for the great conversation!


  3. Pingback: 10 Ways For Practice & Student Ownership to Co-Exist – HonorsGradU

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