Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Kinesthetic

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday!

Today's subject:


That is the adjective form of the word, kinesthesia, which is defined below.

1. the sensation of movement or strain in muscles, tendons, and joints; muscle sense.

It originates from the Greek words kinein-"to move" + aesthesis-"sensation".

It is most often referred to when discussing the learning styles of children. As in a child who learns best by doing is a kinesthetic learner.

If this concept reminds you of something that we've already discussed here, you're right. Kinesthesia is hand in hand related to proprioception. They are both part of the same sense and sometimes the phrases are used interchangeably, even though they have some technical differences. Proprioception actually helps your brain recognize and identify where you and all your body parts are in any given space. Kinesthesia refers to the actual movements created by the same muscles, joints, etc. So they are partners, really.

It should be no surprise then that kids who have proprioceptive issues might also find learning easier through kinesthetic means. What does this mean?

It means they need to move! And through movement their brains can process and remember and organize information. And of course different children's movement needs will vary from child to child and even day to day.

Check out this helpful video:

Our Kinesthetic Kiddo

Zak is definitely a kinesthetic learner. He is and always has been a hands on kid! He loves experiments, and makes projects out of everything.

He is much more successful at spelling when he bounces on the exercise ball or hula-hoops as he spells, which is huge, because for years I just thought he was a really poor speller, and that there may not be anything we could do about it. He's not about to win a spelling bee any time soon, but he can now incorporate correct spelling into his writing in general most of the time. Before, he spelled out a large number of words phonetically, even relatively easy words, despite the fact that he reads with ease. His improvement with this technique is wonderful!

There are several subjects at which Zak excels, but still needs frequent proprioceptive breaks to wake his system back up and help his mind focus, such as math. He generally focuses much better when the work involves some kind of manipulative, and he grasps concepts much faster this way.

Spatial concepts are challenging for him, such as bending shapes with his mind, or mentally fitting together geometric figures into a grid. These are areas that he truly needs a 3-D model to fold or cutouts to move around into the grid.

Perhaps surprising as a kinesthetic kid is how much he enjoys reading and how much he can retain even without movement breaks. From my research most kinesthetic learners aren't often tolerant of long reading segments, period. Even so, as much as he loves to read, he loves to share, and act out or show what he read even more. No doubt this contributes to his great retention skills by reiterating what he read with movement and speech. (Oy, lots and lots of speech! ;)

Helping a kinesthetic kiddo learn is a lot of fun and challenges me to be creative and come up with unusual ways to teach essential skills. And aside from the rogue science experiments, (secretly dissolving an egg's shell in vinegar in the closet!) the rest of the messes that make learning so much more impactful for him are worth it. Most of the time.

For some interesting tips and lists see this handy article below:

Wishing you a very kinesthetic day!

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