“How can we sing this? How can we act this? How can we create this?” In her classroom, Rona engages students with kinesthetic learning.
Goalbook reached out to our partners in search of teachers who have transformed traditional teaching into personalized learning experiences for their students. One educator who is finding new ways to reach her students is Rona Cue, a Special Education teacher at Blenheim Elementary and Middle School in Blenheim, South Carolina. Recently named her school’s Teacher of the Year for 2014, Rona’s creative blend of kinestetic learning, engaging activities, and best-practice instruction ensure all of her students reach their maximum potential.
Before starting her career as a teacher, Rona had an interest in Fashion Design: today, her innate sense of creativity is no doubt a key factor in her unique approach to designing instructional strategies that provide multiple means of access for her students. What makes Rona’s classroom unique is that she recognizes the inherent value of kinesthetic learning with her students and helps them explore by creating or modeling the concepts they’re attempting to master.
Her unique approach sprung from the need to adapt instruction for students. She saw some of her students struggling a couple grade levels behind their peers, and recognized that she needed to try a new approach: repetition and drills just weren’t getting through to them.
Rona’s solution was to transform the traditional notion of her “classroom” to involve a variety of hands-on learning experiences whenever possible. Students build a model of the body systems or use sidewalk chalk to draw math problems on the ground in front of the school. Students cut open wig stands and use them to illustrate the various parts of the brain, or “bowl for questions” during review sessions.
Personalizing learning for students isn’t just about leading engaging educational activities: ultimately, this approach leads to academic success. Rona confirms, “kids remember content better for assessments and their detail and know content-specific vocabulary. Science means more to them when it is done with their own hands; it is empowering when it is something they created.”
Ultimately, when students are taught in kinesthetic lessons, it has a significant impact on their academic performance. CAST’s research embodies this type of instruction with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, which encourages instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone through representation, action and expression, and engagement.
Despite having accumulated an extensive collection of instructional materials over the years, Rona continues to be a leader and innovator. She is always asking herself, “how can we sing this? How can we act this? How can we create this?” By continually refreshing her approach, Rona has been able to ensure that all of her students have an opportunity to engage in meaningful learning activities.
We can only imagine what it would be like to be a student in Rona’s class: there would be a new, challenging, and meaningful learning activity to look forward to every day!
Do you know a teacher like Rona, who makes every day unique for students? Leave us a comment below or send us an email!