Making Visual and Auditory Learning Kinesthetic
By ISJL Education Fellow Mackenzie Haun
Though we at the ISJL do our best to include many kinesthetic activities in our curriculum, it is not a part of every aspect of every lesson. If your classroom is very active and learns best through kinesthetic learning, we encourage you to adapt activities. Here are some examples of different ways that programs can be modified to include a kinesthetic component.
In every lesson of the Kindergarten Curriculum, one of the activities included is Story Time. While Story Time can seem like an inherently non-kinesthetic activity, that does not have to be the case. Depending on the book, educators have many options to boost movement and creativity. For example, teachers can pick a word that the students have to listen for and encourage the group to perform a dance move or hand motion when they hear it. Another idea is to select phrases such as “they walked around,” “he skipped,” or “she danced” and instruct students to act out the lines.
Third Grade Example
In Lesson 8 of the Third Grade Curriculum, there is an activity called Teaching Time: The Man Who Walked with God. It is currently written and coded for solely visual and auditory learners. Part of the program includes creating a story about the dove that flew away from Noah’s Ark and sharing it with the class. In this instance, teachers could add a kinesthetic element by producing a play about the dove’s journey after departing the ark, rather than just writing or telling the basic story. The skit could even be presented to parents or other classes!
Fifth Grade Example
Lesson 4 in Fifth Grade includes a Siddur Scramble. Students learn about Hebrew root words and search through a siddur or prayer book to find examples of terms that share the same root. To add a kinesthetic component, classes could play a memory game featuring the Hebrew words. When students discover a match, they collect the word cards only if they can express whether or not it contains the root word that they learned that day. The game could also add bonus points if the fifth graders can recall what the word means.
Eighth Grade Example
During haYom: Modern Tower of Babel, which occurs during Lesson 2 of the Eighth Grade Curriculum, students listen to music from all over the world that include different Jewish languages. Another approach to help classes enjoy the diverse songs is to begin a rousing game of musical chairs! For an added challenge, every time a person sits down that individual will need to say one of the words that they heard and try to translate it. This will ensure that the group continues to listen to the music as they play the game.
Adult Education Example
In the program Southern Jewish Cuisine, which is soon to be distributed within the ISJL Adult Education Curriculum, participants engage with a poignant poem. The activity is originally scripted as a discussion, but a way to make the exercise more kinesthetic is to encourage participants to stand up during the piece when something read is meaningful. After the poem is over, the leader can invite participants to share the parts of the poem that were significant and structure the discussion through personal anecdotes.
These are only a few examples, but hopefully the ideas inspire creative program reorganization! Please reach out to your fellow for help with adaptation work or anything else you need!