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Developmentally-Appropriate Instruction

Kelly Gleeson

Regent University
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Introduction

Whether an activity or lesson is developmentally-appropriate for a certain age group is

important to keep in mind. You must have the balance between an activity being simple enough

for the students to do independently, but being challenging enough for the students to learn and

grow. Hands-on activities are an active teaching technique that can be developmentally-

appropriate for all age groups. Active teaching techniques change the page of the classroom,

and are a creative way to increase students involvement, motivation, excitement, attention, and

perceived helpfulness and applicability of the class (Solomon). Lessons and activities in the

classroom must also promote cultural awareness, as in keeping in mind and being respectful of

all backgrounds. Effectively engaging students in learning is the most important part at any

developmental age.

Rationale and Reflection

The first artifact I have included is a picture of my students doing an activity called Roll

and Read. Not only does this activity promote student-centered learning, it promotes

cooperative learning. Students take turns rolling the dice, and then they must decide who has the

highest number. The student with the highest number then gets to fill in the missing letters to

form a word, and must tell the group if it is a short or long vowel. The rest of the group must

then decide together if that student is correct. This process repeats until the first student gets their

entire card filled.

"Kids learn through all their senses," says Ben Mardell, PhD, a researcher with Project

Zero at Harvard University, "and they like to touch and manipulate things." But more than

simply moving materials around, hands-on activities activate kids' brains (Cleaver). The
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students love this activity because it is so hands-on and is like a game for them. They work

together very well during this activity, and like being the teachers who decide the correct

answer. Long and short vowels are a skill that we enforce every week, so it is appropriate for

them to be able to do this activity without help. Students learn best when they are doing an

activity that interests them, so having educational games is a great way to reinforce skills in a fun

way for the students.

The second artifact included is a hands-on activity for practicing money. This activity

was great because the students needed all the practice they could get. Because it was a hard skill

for them to master, we practiced money often. Using this hands-on activity was a great way to

still keep them interested in practicing the same skill repeatedly.

The students would lay out all of the cards, which were puzzle pieces. They would then

take turns trying to find pairs by matching the correct amount to the coins. This activity

promoted sharing and taking turns as well as the math skill. The students were very well-behaved

and played fairly. Having multiple activities like this helps them to learn what is expected when

playing.

After seeing these hands-on activities in action, I definitely plan to have hands-on

activities throughout my daily lessons. A great way to implement this would be to have the

students rotate through them during center time. I plan to have a student-centered classroom, as

opposed to a classroom where the teacher just lectures. I have seen teachers that just have

students complete worksheet after worksheet, and saw the effects on the students. The children

were bored and not engaged at all. Being able to experience both teaching techniques has

definitely prepared me and showed me what I want my future classroom to look like.
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Works Cited

Cleaver, S. (n.d.). Hands-On Is Minds-On. Scholastic. Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3751901

Solomon, E. D., Hackathorn, J., Tennial, R. E., Blankmeyer, K., & Garczynski, A. M. (n.d.).

Learning by doing: An empirical study of active teaching techniques. PsycEXTRA

Dataset. doi:10.1037/e683152011-599