Teachable Moments; Hands-On Interactivity the Key for This Teacher Kindergartners Need Continual Engagement to Learn, She Believes

Article excerpt

Byline: Kelli McDaniel

Francis Christian is dedicated to providing an environment filled with interaction and stimulation to instill her everyday lessons into the minds of her kindergarten students at Pinedale Elementary School.

Her classroom is stuffed with interactive activities designed to help the children with their reading and learning skills. Christian believes that hands-on activities create effective learning results for children.

Young students need almost constant interaction to stay on task, she said. So it's no surprise that her classroom is rarely quiet and still. Instead, Christian starts off the day with a variety of songs, allowing the children to dance and sing along.

Christian makes learning fun, but there is an important reason behind each lesson.

"Her methods of teaching are all research-based, and strategically well-planned lessons help students to be more successful," said Principal Alicia Hinson.

On one recent morning, after finishing a story about scuba divers and the ocean, Christian gave the children the opportunity to observe and touch actual scuba equipment. One student was allowed to put on the wet suit, diver vest, flippers and mask to experience what it would be like to dive in the sea.

It's one of many ways, Hinson said, that Christian brings life into learning.

Once the reading lesson is over, her students report to different activity centers around the room. The lesson is usually incorporated into each center, where students rotate between working with brightly colored letters, additional reading and using the computers.

At one of the centers, students used a computer reading program called Mimio that is equipped with games and activities to help build the children's reading skills. Christian tries to incorporate other technology in her classroom, too. Mimio has an application that will project an interactive image on Christian's white board, which, she said, makes for even more hands-on learning. …