Educators know that new information can be challenging to convey to young kids in a way that sticks.
Matt Levinson, one of the leaders of Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, suggests that teachers incorporate arts education techniques to help kids learn tough concepts — without the fear and anxiety that can come with it.
Remember the first time you learned how fractions work? Or the different stages of the water cycle? What about the dynamics of Greek mythology?
One way to make learning these things easier, Levinson said, is to have students write a song to help them memorize or understand a new concept.
He also suggests this "brain dump" technique:
After learning new material for a set period of time, have students do a brain dump on a blank piece of paper. This serves the purpose of helping the student realize that learning and knowledge acquisition have been happening. It helps to raise student confidence and is also a useful approach for the teacher to receive feedback and see where gaps exist.
Consider using this valuable approach with students as soon as they receive an assessment, before attempting to answer any questions. For some students, holding the information inside their head can cause anxiety and confusion.
Taking a deep breath, dumping the information on a blank page, and seeing what it looks like prepares the student for success on the assessment. This brain dump then serves as a study guide.
To read the rest of Levinson's tips, visit his post at Edutopia.