Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter in the Woods - Bear (Learning Styles)

We kind of got stuck on Day 3 about Bears for a few days.  We began the lessons on Friday and we just happened to wake up to snow.  This is not a normal thing in the Pacific NW.  So everyone was really excited.  I might have been the one who was the most excited.  When the kids woke up I had all the blinds open so they could see the snow that had fallen and soon after they woke up more snow began to fall.  I asked the kids if they wanted to run out in the snow and they all turned me down!  I couldn't believe it.  Apparently they don't realize how rare and special the snow fall is and that it could stop and melt away any second.  So I strongly encouraged just a quick run out on the deck in their boots and jammies. 

What is great, is that on bear day we were suppose to talk about footprints in the snow.  So I encouraged the kids to step in some fresh snow and admire their footprint.  After breakfast, I bundled us all up and we walked down to the mailbox on the sidewalk that had not been traveled much yet so we could make some more fresh tracks in the snow. 
Making some fresh tracks in the snow.
Following some tracks in the snow.
Just for fun, here are a couple more of the winter bears playing in the snow.  Lucy and Peter didn't actually like the snow that much.  I was surprised.  When I offered to get Peter bundled up to play he said "no, I will stay where it is warm."   But Lachlan loved it, and spent a lot of time in the snow.  I had to try to tease him into a smile here.
When we came in I asked Lachlan a few of the discussion questions about bears.  Like, what would you do if you met a bear in the woods?  "I would tell him, it's okay, I am his friend, I am an animal rescuer."  Oh boy, this is great in a little boys imagination, but I think we might have to work on the reality of wild animals.  I am not sure his approach would go over well.  However, since I doubt, at this point in his life he will be alone in the woods, I am not going to burst that bubble quite yet.

Next I asked him, where would you sleep if you lived in the woods? "A cave, with a nice bear." 

I keep thinking that someone reading this post might think, no big deal, she is just asking questions and you might quickly skim over this part.  But I just can't stress how amazing these open ended questions have been for us.  Recently Mother Goose Time posted a link to their blog with a post mapping out the different learning styles.  This is their image below.

Obviously, I love this image because of all the cute kids on there.  But it is also really nice to reflect on all the different ways they get to learn and most importantly which learning style seems to work the best for my children.  When I read their notes under each picture I suddenly realized that Peter does well at learning Visually.  He has recognized letters and numbers so quickly and easily.  Lachlan has had a tougher time picking up on the actual symbols of the numbers and letters but the sounds they make and counting has come pretty easy.  I feel like he falls more into the Auditory category.  The part that made this click for me is when they say children who are auditory learners prefer listening to or telling stories.  That's where the importance of giving him time to process and answer these discussion questions is so important. 

What's funny about this, is that sometimes, it's just so darn hard to get him to listen!  That's where sitting down at the table has come in so handy.  He is usually willing to listen at the table and we have some great discussions.  But this makes me feel even better about those days that we just can't seem to get anything done, but, the discussion questions.

Kinesthetic would be the other learning style my boys really enjoy.  They do a lot of acting out of everything they learn.  In order to get them to do things I have to ask them to do it by asking which ever animal they happen to be at that moment. 
"Rhino, can you please put your drink cup away?"
"Mom, I am not a Rhino, I am baby bird."
"Oh, well then, baby bird can you please put your drink cup away?"
I need to harness this imagination they have and their love for acting things out more for learning purposes.  Mother Goose Time provides plenty of opportunity, I just need to take advantage of it a little better. 

The rest of the day we just enjoyed our snow day.  I put the Counting Card and the Foam Shapes up at the top of the learning tower.  Lucy took advantage and so did Peter by counting out 4 squares and placing them on the Counting Card. 

Then Friday night, all turned south when first Peter then Lachlan started getting sick with the flu.  It was not a fun few hours.  After they were all done it was my turn and I was sick through the night.  Not great when 28 weeks pregnant.  I didn't get any sleep and was not really available most of the day Saturday.  They were feeling better, they bounce back quick.  So their Dad let me rest and took them out for some fun adventures. 

When Sunday morning rolled around, I was so sick of being sick, I really wanted to do something with my kids.  Church was out of the question because I just didn't want to share our bug with everyone.  As always, I turned to Mother Goose Time and the last thing we had left to do from our Bear day - the craft.  I asked Peter, who was the first one up, do you want to make a bear cave? "Nope", okay, well I am going to make one.  So I got out all the supplies, sat down on the floor and got to work.  It didn't take long before Peter was interested.  He did amazing at cutting out his bears.  Big stride forward in his abilities there, so exciting.  Later, Lachlan woke up and put together his bear cave.  Here are our finished caves. 
MGT had us encourage them to role play with these caves and bears.  I started us out by taking the little bear out front and saying "hey, this is my cave, stay away" in a gruff deep voice.  The boys thought that was great and did the same.  Later Lachlan built a cave fort in his room and hid in there, telling his brother "this is my cave, stay away."

It was a fun topic and I love gaining more insight into the ways my children learn.  I did know about and studied these learning styles back in college.  But I can't say I was too interested in the topic at the time.  I know I will be referring to this nice synopsis again and again to better fine tune and fit the curriculum to my children and how they learn best.  Another way to individualize the curriculum. 


  1. As a (7th grade) teacher, I used these learning styles all the time when writing my lesson plans. Funny thing now, is that I can't tell you yet how my own kids (ages 3 and 5) learn best - and maybe that's why I love MGT so much, they incorporate all these learning styles in each day's lesson plan so my kids are good knowing they get to do a little of everything.

    1. You are right, it's so nice that all the bases are covered everyday. I think I might need to get my hands on MGTs assessment tools. It was really nice to think about their learning styles in more depth. I like being able to focus on their strengths and to be more understanding of the areas they struggle with.