Updated: Oct 24, 2019
A major element of my teaching is based on the power of color and animals in learning. The first thing I did when I started teaching was to buy 2 HP printers and create virtually all my lessons in color! Along the way I was also able to adopt some extraordinary (and very beloved) pet animals into our classroom to enhance and inspire our learning environment!
Today’s post will focus on giving you a couple tips on how to add more vibrancy and inspiration to your classroom or home. Let’s start with the power of color!
TIP #1 = ADD COLOR TO YOUR CLASSROOM OR LEARNING ENVIRONMENT TO BUILD VOCABULARY & SPELLING SKILLS
Our world is colorful, and vibrant! We think, live and breathe in color. In addition, color offers an inherent visual stimulus and helps children in their ability to concentrate and stay on task. Whether I am volunteering at Skid Row (an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA), teaching special needs children in more formal settings or even adults, such as senior citizens at assisted living facilities.
Simply put: Color excites the brain! And excitement makes BRAINS GROW!
ACTIONABLE TIP: Create or (download) COLORED WORD PUZZLES to help inspire and develop vocabulary/spelling skills in your children.
GBS Color Coded Word Puzzles (2 Sided) that feature important words, phrases & vocabulary. One side is color-coded & the reverse side is black & white.
Although seamless and naturally fun, these puzzles help children recognize patterns and exercise their fine motor skills. In my case, I often have my students use dry erase markers to complete the color-coded side first.
How does it work?
When the word “ROCKET” is blue and “MONIQUE” is red, the students tend to find these words much faster and are able to circle or cross them off at the bottom of the page. This leaves them with the thrill and satisfaction of completing (and succeeding) a challenge whilst helping their minds develop the necessary cognitive skills they will need for real-world interactions!
TIP #2 = LINK WORD PUZZLES & GAMES WITH OTHER CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES SUCH AS ANIMALS!
“You see generally speaking, we as humans, are naturally inclined to appreciate and connect with animals.”
The “MONIQUE” puzzle word from the example above was actually inspired by our classroom pet spider that I adopted for the class. In an effort to inspire in my children a lifetime passion for learning and cognitive development, I decided to adopt a few pets into my classroom.
And.. what a difference this makes! Wow!
You see generally speaking, we as humans, are naturally inclined to appreciate and connect with animals. It’s not a learned skill, but an inherent instinct. While children with special cognitive needs may need support with intellectual abilities, they are often INCREDIBLY NATURALLY ADEPT at connecting with and appreciating animals (as well as nature!). In fact, much has been written about this subject in the scientific community, so more on this to come in future posts!
Many of the children I work with come from broken homes and families. A relationship with animals can be an extraordinarily POWERFUL healing tool for their cognitive development. When humans have a genuine and personal connection to animals it can create new synapses in their brains. Without getting to technical, this personal connection ultimately creates new neuron networks in the brain and can thus very realistically trigger intellectual improvements and development!
In short, playing with and befriending animals can make us smarter!
Thus, I often attempt to link my COLORED WORD PUZZLES with our classroom pets and my children’s love for animals. Together with their animal friends, I often give my children word puzzles to work on knowing that it will encourage speech & language skill development as well as teamwork!
(I recommend laminating them so they can be used many times as well as with dry-erase markers.)
THATS A WRAP
Thats it for today’s post! Thank you so much for reading! I would LOVE to hear your experiences with colors and animals! Please feel encouraged to share your personal stories below in the comments or by emailing us directly HERE!
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