How To Ask Students To Draw A Picture For Math Three Ways to Improve Learning Readiness Through Play

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Three Ways to Improve Learning Readiness Through Play

Can your unique learner improve his learning skills?

Yes! It’s actually easier and more fun than you think. You can enhance your child’s learning readiness in a way that feels like play.

Let’s start with a better understanding of learning readiness. It’s not about how quickly they can finish a timed math quiz, or the way they print. Readiness to learn occurs after basic developmental skills are in place.

Students who are ready to learn know how to take in and make sense of the information around them. They know how to recognize patterns. They may consider different explanations before selecting the most likely one. This type of problem solving should occur when performing arithmetic, reading, and writing. However, these skills are first developed outside the classroom.

You can’t achieve this with more math worksheets or print practice. How can you help your unique learner improve their readiness to learn? The answer may surprise you.

Readiness for learning occurs only when the building blocks of development fall into place. If your only learner has some developmental gaps, don’t despair. These gaps can be filled with play-like activities.

Here are three ways you can use play to improve your student’s readiness for learning.

Try one more time

The first area to focus on is improving your child’s ability to practice “try again” strategies.

Start by stretching your child’s attention span by having them “hang in” a little longer. Play with that toy a little longer, work on that difficult puzzle just a little longer, read a little more, and encourage them to “stick” with the task you’ve assigned them, a little longer.

Keep this goal of yours, designed to help your child, a secret. Without talking about it, start modeling this behavior yourself and when you play together.

If you’re playing with toy cars, stretch the game a bit further by adding a new and creative dimension. You might enjoy having the cars driving in a simulated parking lot in the simulation zoo.

If your child is reading a story, have them look at the pictures a bit more. Ask your child to describe all the things that are red in the picture or all the things that make a sound.

Invent a new way to play with the backyard bowling game and teach your child to stretch their imagination.

Teaching your child to stretch their imagination to “play longer” will help improve attention span for academic pursuits.

Look for opportunities for your child to “think a little harder” or “try one more time.” Encourage and support their efforts. Help your child enjoy feeling his mind successfully wrap around a problem.

Teaching your child to “hold on”, problem solve and execute one more try can help keep the mind engaged in a productive way. This might be trying to find the lost sock once again or solving the problem of how to put that bike wheel back on the bike frame. It could be figuring out the best solution to the day’s puzzle or finishing your task independently.

We want children to enjoy using their minds and develop ‘try again…’ strategies. They will need them at school and for the rest of their lives.

Improve spatial awareness

Being ready to read, write and do arithmetic requires good spatial awareness. If spatial awareness is not innate and automatic for the child, academics will be a challenge.

This means that children need to understand three-dimensional space. They must be able to navigate their physical body in, over, under, through, around and explore all physical spatial relationships.

Navigating the space seems simple to us because with just a glance, we can easily see how to go to the bathroom in a busy, unfamiliar restaurant. The visual sense of space develops after experiencing it physically. We may not remember learning this skill, but we sure did.

Our children need to learn this skill too. They must learn the words to describe physical space and be able to separate themselves from that space.

The ability to separate then allows them to learn to observe the objects, people, places and things in the space around them. This in turn translates into the ability to visually judge space without having to physically move around the room.

The development of spatial awareness can be very well achieved through games. Here are some examples of games that kids love to play that also develop spatial awareness:

• Simon says

• Hide-and-seek

• Red light, green light

• Chutes and Ladders (board game)

• Obstacle courses

• Treasure hunts

Your child will never know that you are actually working to develop their readiness to learn.

The unique learner who has difficulty sequencing, reasoning, and solving problems independently literally needs physical movement (often more beneficial than added homework) in order to facilitate effective thinking.

Balance and movement

The ability to physically experience the world around us depends on the sensory system that perceives movement in relation to the space around us. This sensory system is the vestibular system. The vestibular system provides our brain with a strong need to maintain balance.

Our need for balance alerts the muscular and joint system. This system has its own set of receptors, called proprioceptors. The proprioceptive system allows the body to respond smoothly to different changes in the center of gravity.

Most physical activities require the integration of the vestibular system with the proprioceptive system.

When these systems work together properly, the student is ready to learn.

In many unique students, these systems do not work properly. This is a big reason for his academic struggle. It affects the ability to sit in a position ready for learning. It affects the student’s ability to look and listen. It distracts their focus on a subconscious level as their brain pays attention to information from the vestibular system that indicates the student might fall out of the chair. These are just three of the hundreds of ways these systems affect readiness to learn.

Movement, exercise, sports, martial arts, yoga, dance and juggling provide excellent opportunities for the movement and balance systems to stimulate and help facilitate brain function.

You can support your unique learner’s growth by incorporating movement as part of the fuel needed to grow the brain. A more typical student may seem to respond well to practice, practice, practice. A single learner seems to respond best to practice, movement, practice, movement.

The more you play “strategically” with your unique learner, the more improvement you will see in their readiness to learn.

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