The biggest lesson I learned when working with children who lacked focus and attention was that if I could engage the children’s fingers or hands in their learning, their focus would go wherever their fingers went. Follow the fingers became my motto!
Child1st addresses the needs of children with short attention spans by delivering concepts instantly through visuals, minimizing the need for protracted focus, engaging the hands and body of the child in every concept he/she learns, and by providing short lessons with a minimum of auditory direction.
In the Easy-for-Me™ Reading Program, children learn everything using their hands and bodies. The program depends on visuals to deliver new information and allows plenty of time for hands-on work that engages the learners. The Easy-for-Me Reading Program also includes extensive use of markers and whiteboards in the process of learning to read, drawing the attention of children and providing them with the ability to reflect back and work out their own learning.
Teach number sense and beginning Addition & Subtraction in a fully hands-on method that works wonderfully with active children who need to be fully engaged physically in their learning. Subsequent math skills can be found on our main Math category page.
SnapWords® are super effective at jump-starting active children in reading because the images allow active children to "snap a mental picture" of the word embedded in an image. This method is effective because it is done so quickly - and recall is very good. Children remember the word, the picture, the body movement all at one time.
Above, I shared about using a child’s body as a way to help him/her stay focused. I’ve learned some other strategies that have helped my students that I want to share as you teach a child who has trouble staying focused.
I grew up in a time when we were supposed to sit in our desks and face forward and pay attention, so when I started to teach, I arranged my desks in rows, and expected my well behaved students to sit, face forward, and pay attention. One of my first graders taught me that while this arrangement might be convenient for the teacher, it was not workable for him. We worked together to come up with a new arrangement that did not disturb the rest of the children, yet still allowed him the freedom to learn in the way he needed.
I’ve written a lot about how traditional teaching methods are perfectly suited to left-brained learners, and how right-brained children seem to be in the minority. Short of doing a massive overhaul of our educational system (don’t hold your breath on that one!) what can we do? I want to share some ideas of how to help children develop the stronger connections between the hemispheres in the brain that will enable them to succeed in school.
We know that children’s brains are rapidly developing from birth, shaped by the experiences they have. We also know that our experiences dictate not only which neural pathways are formed and strengthened by frequent use, but also which ones end up being pruned because of disuse. The first ten years of a child’s life provide a window of opportunity for brain development that is unmatched in an older person. It is critical for us as parents to pay very close attention to the experiences we provide our developing children so that we can ensure they grow and develop to their greatest potential. We know about brain development in theory, but I am not sure the extent to which we understand the implications of our modern society on the brain development of our youngest generation.
What does it really mean when we say multisensory? The accepted, traditional teaching techniques typically used in the classroom meet the needs of (left-brained) sequential learners. Concepts are introduced in a step by step sequence and are practiced and reviewed using drill and memorization; children must also show evidence of their learning in a particular time frame. This is all very good for children who are left-brained or sequential learners. The problem is, of course, that while the approach to teaching is great for those children who are sequential, every learner is taught this way and this traditional approach is ineffective at best for all the non-sequential learners.
Parents, if you suspect your child has ADD or ADHD, or if he’s already been diagnosed, a must read is the book Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World by Jeffrey Freed, M.A.T., and Laurie Parsons. Just drop into your local bookstore and, at least, read the preface and intro. See if you can find your child described in those pages and see the wonderful hope extended to you if you do find your child described.