Homeschooling Tips for Spatial Learners
October 2010 Inspire!
Today’s teachers know that it is important to use a multi-sensory approach to teaching since different students learn best using different modalities. Some students are visual learners while others are auditory or tactile learners. This article will look at ways that a parent can support their child if they learn best visually.
A few famous visual-spatial learners: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci (from http://watertown.k12.sd.us/gate/VisualSp.pdf
- Students can take notes using pictures instead of words. Use one sheet of paper for a section of text. Let the student use symbols to represent the information. They can be silly pictures, as long as they remind the student of the information. Encourage them to draw arrows between symbols to show relationships or chronological order. When it is time to study for the test, have the student use his picture to explain the information. Be sure he identifies each symbol and its significance to the picture as well as relationship to other symbols.
- Use colored pens or markers to write facts that need to be memorized, such as spelling words, sight words, vocabulary words, or math facts.
- Outline the shape of words that need to be memorized.
- Have students draw pictures or cartoons for words that need to be learned.
- Encourage the student to “make a mental video”, picturing words and other important information in his mind.
- Use the Internet, television, videos, and other visual tools to supplement the material read in books.
- Spend time on the visual elements of the textbooks (maps, diagrams, cartoons, photographs, etc.).
- Whenever possible, provide models for the task the student is expected to accomplish, particularly in grammar and composition.
- Use color-coding to help children with sequencing. For example, something underlined in red would be first, blue would be second, green would be third, etc. The student can then apply this technique to a variety of situations: setting a daily schedule, going over directions for an assignment, organizing brainstormed ideas for a report or composition, outlining the steps to a math problem or scientific procedure, or recalling the events in a story or historical time period.
- Older students should always preview before reading. Use brightly colored index cards for flash cards, math facts, vocabulary, notes.
- Students should always preview a test before working on it.
- Display the alphabet on the wall.
- Have the students glue a large letter printed on a regular 8 1/2 X 11" paper. Have students make mosaics of the letter by pasting small colored paper shapes, dried beans, small pasta, plastic bottle caps, buttons, or other small item onto the letter. Then, have students cut out and paste pictures that go with each letter all around the letter. Pictures could come from magazines or clip art.
- For works of literature, read the Cliff notes or visit the website www.sparknotes.com to get an overview of the plot before reading.
- Read a story or book that’s out as a movie
- Visit a favorite author’s website
- Leave colorful notes for your child
- Illustrate a song
- Read comic books or the comic section of the paper
- Books for primary readers who are visual learners: David MacCaulay’s books i.e. The Way Things Work, Where’s Waldo? books, I Spy books, Animalia by Graeme Base
- When studying famous people, find their pictures in books or on the Internet. (You can even make flash cards on which you would place the person’s name and his or her picture.)
- Have the student draw pictures or diagrams instead of taking notes or doing math problems.
- Play pattern games, complete mazes and puzzles
- Sorting colored objects or candies to learn about parts of a total (fractions)
- Folding paper or paper towels to learn about fractions
- Telling analog time and answering questions about clocks/calendars
- Estimating weight of household items
- Write to a pen pal
- Write captions for photos
- Create a photo journal
- Create sentences on the refrigerator from letter/word magnets
- Make lists
- Young children should make letters in the air before writing.
- To help students learn the parts of speech or for diagramming sentences, color coding can be helpful. For younger children combining the color with a story or other word association can further reinforce the concept.
- Read the lyrics for a song while listening to the music
- Play 20 questions to figure out a mystery item
- Record your student reading or telling a story
- Have child describe an event or show
- Have child tell story from wordless picture book
Reading Suggestions for Spatial Learners
Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner by Linda Kreger Silverman
Visual Math: See How Math Makes Sense by Jessika Sobanski
For Beginning Readers
Chicago and the Cat: the Camping Trip by Robin Koontz
To the Tub by Peggy Anderson
Ice-Cold Birthday by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Iris and Walter by Elissa Haden Guest
Emma’s Magic Winter by Jean Little
Mr. Putty and Tabby Feed the Fish by Cynthia Rylant
My Dog. My Hero by Betsy Byers
I Dream of Trains by Angela Johnson
Whales on Stilts by M. T. Anderson
The Original Adventures of Frank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson
The Wright Sister: Katharine Wright and Her Famous Brothers by Richard Mauer
Journey Home by Yoshiko Uchida