I recently participated in a professional learning experience with Lute-Stem about multimodal methods at Lehman College. I learned a lot about ways to incorporate strategies for students’ instruction to be more multimodal. During the summer, I learned about the Scratch program, multimodal literacy, the habits of mind, and the review of a child.
There was a lot to consider when it came to applying what I learned in the classroom. In this letter, I’d like to focus on multimodal strategies because I believe this is an excellent method to integrate into our instruction. A multimodal approach means a lesson is introduced in multiple ways; it can be performed using visuals, movement, auditory, reading, and writing to meet students’ learning goals. Thus, ensuring that the students are provided with different approaches subject to their learning abilities.
I would like to propose that we create an activity that incorporates that aspect into the instruction. I would like to implement an activity called “All About Me.” This activity is designed for preschoolers. The students will be given different options to choose from. For example, they can draw a picture, create a poster or record a video of the things they want us to know about themselves. I believe this activity is perfect when including multimodal strategies. Also, since it is the beginning of the school year, it will serve as an introduction to the class and their classmates. This will help to get to know the students and make connections within themselves. Given the age group, the project requires teacher involvement and assistance to complete the activity, which will take about two days.
To do this, we will need paper, crayons, markers, scissors, magazines, posters, colored pencils, tablets, and google slides.
The students will have the option to make either a picture, a poster, or a video to present the things they should know about themselves. The final product will be presented on a google slide to the class.
When the students complete this activity, they will have made progress on these three standards from New York State Prekindergarten Learning Standards:
- PK.SEL.2. Recognizes self as an individual having unique abilities, characteristics, feelings, and interests
- PK.SEL.4. Develops positive relationships with their peers
- PK.ELAL.14. [PKW.2] Uses a combination of drawing, dictating, oral expression, and/or emergent writing to name a familiar topic and supply information in child-centered, authentic, play-based learning
Here’s how I think we might introduce this activity. We could give these directions to the students:
During the morning meeting, the class will gather on the carpet. The teacher will talk about the new faces in the classroom. She will explain that new friends joined the classroom as the new year began. She will then say that an excellent way to get to know each other is by introducing ourselves and the things we like. She will introduce herself as a way to model it for the students. She then will explain what the activity will be about. She would ask the students questions such as “What is your name?” “What is one thing you like to do?” What is your favorite color? “What is your favorite food?”
The teacher will show examples of “All About Me” projects for the students to understand what is being asked. The teacher will work with small groups to assist them when needed. She will work with groups of 4. Before the activity, she will ask the student what of the three choices they would like to pick from. After, she will ask them the questions presented before for them to have an idea. They will be provided with the materials, and the teacher will provide guidance when needed.
I would also propose that the students give each other feedback on their work. They could use this checklist to self-assess and provide each other feedback:
· I can create a picture, poster, or video of the things I like to do
· I can say one thing I like about my classmate’s work
· I can present my creation to my friend
· I can talk about my creation
This activity should take at least 10-15 minutes to complete, allowing time for productive struggle. (Given the attention span of this age group, this activity could take more time than mentioned above). The teacher will encourage the students to ask questions about the project to promote persistence. This will provide opportunities to check if they answered all the questions about themselves and to revise and add what they are missing to their project.
When they have finished this activity, we can ask the students to talk about how they used one of these three Habits of Mind. Since the students are so young, I will ask them questions about their habits of mind to understand the concepts. Some questions will be: “Did you listen to your classmate?” “Did you wait for your turn?” “Did you create a project? “What was one thing you liked about your classmate’s work?” “What did you learn from your classmate?” Following those questions, the teacher will explain that by answering those questions, they are exercising the habits of mind.
· Listening with understanding
· Managing Impulsivity
· Creating imagining and innovating
The Habits of Mind will also be used to give the students oral feedback while they are working and after finishing their work.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this proposal. I hope you see how valuable this activity could be for our students. Please let me know if you have any revisions that I might consider for this activity.
I look forward to working with you on this.
You did such a great job on writing your proposal. It was very clear, organized and understandable. I think the incorporating the activity ” all about me” is a great. One sentence that stuck out to me was when you stated ” The students will be given different options to choose from. For example, they can draw a picture, create a poster or record a video of the things they want us to know about themselves”. I believe this is great because it gives the students options to choose how to express themselves instead of having one way to do something. This shows the students that it is possible to have more than one way to do something. Students have different ways of expressing themselves and this activity will help them to find their way of expressing themselves and seeing how other students express themselves as well.
Overall, this is a great activity that will help students with self-expression and it will help students to understand and get to know their classmates better. Keep doing the great and wonderful work you are doing.
I am delighted by your lesson proposal because you realize the importance of identity work right from the start. Not only that, you are sharing that it is important for students to have options in how they choose to create. Your proposal demonstrates a consolidation of ideas from your summer learning. That is fantastic!
One sentence you wrote that stands out to me is: “A multimodal approach means a lesson is introduced in multiple ways; it can be performed using visuals, movement, auditory, reading, and writing to meet students’ learning goals.” I think this is a thoughtful way to explain multimodal learning because some people may think multimodal learning means all technology when they hear the word. However, as a group, the LUTE Stem group unpacked that it is so much more than that. Additionally, your explanation reminds me that our learners appreciate voice and choice when creating. By designing a multi-modal learning experience that allows for variety, you are offering learners a voice in deciding how they want to work towards expectations.
Another sentence that I resonated with was: “Since it is the beginning of the school year, it will serve as an introduction to the class and their classmates. This will help to get to know the students and make connections within themselves..” This stood out to me because it echoed the ideas of voice and choice again. Since you are focusing on an all about me project, your learners are introducing themselves to the community by sharing who they are but also by how they like to create. This is an important part of an individual as well and it is inspiring that you have decided to allow them to have choice of modality.
Have you seen this lesson on Scratch Jr. Connect? It is called Scratch Jr Art Curriculum: Self-Portraits. I thought you might be interested in this because of your experience with Scratch from this summer and because it is an option that you could offer younger learners on a platform that is appropriate for them developmentally.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because you have shown that developing both the whole child and the community that they are a part of is important to you as an educator. That makes me so excited for your learners!
Thank you for taking the time to read my proposal and comment on it. I enjoyed reading your comment as I found it very detailed and informative.
Something that you mentioned that stood out to me was, “I think this is a thoughtful way to explain multimodal learning because some people may think multimodal learning means all technology when they hear the word.” I initially thought the same way. I thought that multimodal meant integrating technology and had a difficult time thinking of how to incorporate this into an activity that was age-appropriate for Pre-K students. However, after speaking with you, Nicki, and Jennifer and reading the document about multimodal learning, I realized this is not necessarily true. We can make instruction multimodal by teaching a concept using different methods.
Another thing that stood out to me was, “Since you are focusing on an all about me project, your learners are introducing themselves to the community by sharing who they are but also by how they like to create.” This stood out to me because this was something that I wanted to accomplish. I wanted the students to have multiple ways of performing the activity and give them different opportunities to express themselves in the best way that they could. Using this method in your instruction will make it more meaningful for them since they will have different modalities to choose from and address their learning style.
Thank you so much for the recommendation you gave me. I will definitely look into it and see how I can integrate Scratch Jr. into my project when I do it in the classroom.