How Reading In Motion Designs Activities
To create each activity in the curriculum, Reading In Motion uses the Child Learning Model, developed by Elizabeth Johnston, Reading In Motion's Director of Program Development. The model has four parts: prepare, explain, practice and reflect. Each Reading In Motion activity includes these four elements.
Reading In Motion teachers use a variety of methods to prepare students to learn necessary new skills. Teachers may motivate students by challenging them, or by tying the new skill to a subject that students already find interesting. They may build the new lesson upon prior knowledge that the students already possess. Often, they must deactivate misconceptions and apprehensions that students may have about learning the new skill. This step is essential to assure that students are not bored, overwhelmed or confused by the new skill.
The second step in any Reading In Motion activity includes an explanation of the new skill. This explanation can take the form of a verbal description of the new skill, a mini-lesson on the new skill or a demonstration of the new skill.
By front-loading, the teacher can provide essential information to the students before they learn the activities. The opposite method, back-loading, involves providing information to learners after they've had an opportunity to explore and discover the new skill on their own. Reading In Motion uses both methods to create effective lessons.
When students are prepared and have the necessary conceptual information, they are asked to practice the skill. Since the Reading In Motion activities are arts-based, students have the opportunity to do what an artist does, which is--practice, practice, practice. Our methods are engaging so that the students are not bored with the repetitions, but rather find them a fun way to reinforce learning.
The final step is to check what sense the students are making of the activities so that we can solidify and expand their learning. One method that Reading In Motion uses is journaling, in which students take five or ten minutes after a lesson to write or draw about what they’ve just experienced. Often, as a catalyst, they respond to probing questions provided by the teacher. Another helpful method is verbal, shared group reflection, which allows all the students to benefit from their classmates’ insights.
Reading In Motion's Prepare-Explain-Practice-Reflect process can be used to plan one lesson or a whole series of lessons. Skills that take some proficiency may be prepared in several lessons, then explained, then practiced for several lessons. The Child Learning Model is particularly useful for planning a lengthy series of lessons that are all targeted to teaching the same skill.