the 5 sensesSO MUCH TO SEE & DO
so much to learn


 Sensory Learning (#1)

SITE: “Sensory Integration”
• “Understanding Temperament – Sensory Sensitivity ”
• “ Arousal & Anxiety”

Everyone uses all sensory channels to some degree, but the most valued are those we use on a regular basis – from birth – to bring information into conscious. While we all have the same basic brain structures, how these parts work can vary greatly.
EXP: One person sleeps better on their side, another does better on their stomach…..
If we diligently pay attention to how our brain ‘likes’ to receive information & in what form, we can better understand & make sense of what we experience, which helps to improve learning.

AROUSAL: Successful sensory processing (gathering info thru the senses) is strongly linked to emotional well-being, governed by the ’Sensory Threshold’ – our point of initial contact with a stimulus.
‘For most of us, this threshold is high enough that we can tolerate the complexity & stimulation of our environment, & low enough that we can notice new input & subtle changes around us.’ (INSIDE OUT, slide 21)

A suitable amount of sensing allows us to achieve & maintain optimal arousal levels – a combination of alertness, situational awareness, vigilance, level of distraction, stress & direction of attention. (See “Inside Out” slide 18)

In effect, it’s how ready a person is to perform appropriate tasks in a timely, effective manner:
• Top-down (cortical inhibition) – uses strategies such as thinking & self-talk to stay on task
• Bottom Up (cerebellum inhibition) – heavy work with muscles & joints, which regulates arousal & so promotes focus & attention

LOW arousal will limit general interactions, cause depressed emotions & prevent forming primary attachments (parents, mates, children, friends….)
— Extreme under-arousal can cause unconsciousness, possibly from tiredness, fatigue, hypoxia, poisoning or illnesses.

HIGH arousal can show up as hypersensitivity from too much input (especially for Introverts), such as noise, touch, crowds, social anxiety….. Also, low self-confidence, feeling inadequate, constant frustration…..

— Extreme over-arousal can be seen in a range of symptoms peculiar to the individual, the environment, the task and other factors. This may include: panic, aggression, submission, resignation, withdrawal, irrational behavior, mood swings, or unconsciousness. (MORE….)

Learning STYLES vs MULTIPLE Intelligences (MI)
Both are considered ways we learn. However,
INPUTLearning Styles identify the broad-strokes way we gather & store information, using our 5 senses, while —
OUTPUTthe 9 MI posts identify specific ways we express ourselves, having absorbed information via the various senses. (MORE…… excellent comparison)

Learning Styles identify how each of us is most comfortable learning & retaining new information. They indicate how we gather, sift through, interpret, organize, come to conclusions about, & “store” information for further use. Everyone has their own mixture of strengths & preferences, but usually one is dominant.

Info gathered thru our specific style of sensory input affects the way we internally ‘see’ our experiences, & the way we recall facts, even to the words we choose. It allows for more efficient ways to learn, whether formally in school, or in daily from relationships or at work.

Research shows that each learning brain & senses style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, the more we remember.

FAST learners incorporate all 3 main modalities (eyes, ears, body). Even so, our dominant style can help us excel, & can compensate for the less developed ones.

Brain-imaging has found the relevant brain areas:
Aural: Temporal lobes. The right lobe is especially important for music
Logical: Parietal lobes drive logical thinking, especially the left side

: Cerebellum & the motor cortex (back of frontal lobe) handle much of our physical movement
Social: Frontal & Temporal lobes handle much of our social activities. The Limbic system (with the Hippocampus) also influences both social & solitary styles, as it deals with emotions, moods & aggression

: Frontal and Parietal lobes, & the limbic system
Verbal: Temporal & Frontal lobes, especially 2 specialized areas = Broca’s & Wernicke’s (left side of these two lobes).
Visual: Occipital lobes at the back of the brain. Both Occipital & parietal lobes manage spatial orientation.

NEXT: Sensory Learning (Part 3)

Gifted Children – LEARNING STYLES


PREVIOUS : Gifted #2

SITEsLIST of articles re. Learning Styles 

When Bright Kids Become Disillusioned

• How Being A Gifted Kid Affects You As An Adult

More than three-fifths of a person’s learning style is biologically imposed (Restak 1979, Thies 1979). According to Joseph Renzulli: “Gifted behavior occurs when there is an interaction among 3 basic clusters of human traits:
• Above-average general &/or specific abilities
• High levels of task commitment (motivation)
• High levels of creativity 

EXP: Many gifted students find logical reasoning to be their preferred learning style, & for others linguistics may be (Language Arts & Math are not automatically synonymous – as if they’re gifted in one so they must be in the other)

👀 Visual learners learn best by comparing & contrasting modalities (a piece of lit to a video), or may do well in geometry…. Graphic organizers are a great resource for them

👩‍👩‍👦‍👦 Some enjoy working in groups where their leadership skills can be exposed and developed. Others prefer to work independently at their own pace
👍🏽 Some are hands-on kinesthetic learners – while others are auditory learners

The most prominent unique personal characteristics of the G&T are: being Critical, Persistent & Independent of thought & judgement. Studies conclude that there are at least 18 areas of sensitivity. (CHART by Dunn & Price)

Also see posts: “Adult Learning styles

Existential – these thinkers are focused on issues too deep for other kids to understand, & may be prone to depression as they ponder the meaning of life. Careers involving philosophy & spirituality are a good fit

Kinesthetic – the kids who are highly skilled with their hands. As they develop control of their body, they may become hyperactive. Always on the move, these students must find physically active careers

Logical – those who excel in problem-solving & number manipulation. They may be easily frustrated with anything illogical. These students love to analyze everything, often becoming accountants or programmers

Verbal – masters of word manipulation, they can be quite persuasive. Their command of language gives then a love for storytelling, & a tendency to arguing. These students can have careers in marketing or politics

Visual – creating vivid mental pictures, these students thrive in the arts. Seeing the beauty in places where others may not, they can seem ‘overly’ emotional & dramatic. With imagination that never stops, these students make prime graphic designers.

In their BOOK “Teaching Gifted Students Through Independent Study,”  Johnsen & Goree recommend independent study as one of the most effective ways to differentiate and individualize (S & I) learning for the G&T, allowing those students to delve deeply into any topic of interest. (MORE..).

Rita Dunn, with colleagues, has done extensive research on all forms of learning styles. BOOK: How to Implement and Supervise a Learning Style Program, 1996
In Chp 1 Dunn writes that adolescents gifted in a particular area – athletics, dance, leadership, literature, music & math – have similar learning styles across 9 cultures.

Her work showed that most of those G&T students preferred to learn either by themselves or with an authoritative teacher, & only a few with classmates. Even in primary grades, gifted 1st & 2nd-graders got higher achievement & attitude test scores when allowed to learn in their preferred way. (See ‘Social’ in chart above).

Research also documented the influence of time-of-day energy patterns on achievement. Conventional school hours appear to be poorly time for the majority of G&T adolescents, because while a few learn well early in the morning, many more prefer late morning, afternoon, or evening for concentrating on challenging academic studies.

The Gifted Development Center, created by Dr. Linda Silverman 30 years ago, found two main learning profiles, based on brain hemisphere preference:
• Right side dominant are ‘Visual-Spatial’ Learners (VSL)
• Left side dominant are ‘Auditory-Sequential’ Learners (ASL) (MORE...)

Her validated research of children ages 9-13 showed that :
🌱 about 60% are mainly Visual-Spatial
🌱 33% are strongly Visual-Spatial
🌱 23% are strongly Auditory-Sequential
🌱 44% use both styles, with about 30% leaning toward VSL & 15% toward ASL.

QUIZ by Jade Ann Rivera, to help identify a child’s type + other info



Childhood PLAY – Intro (Part 1)

fantasy landTHERE’S SO MUCH TO DO!
Games by myself, games with friends….

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Play (#5)

SITE: Scientific Benefits of Play

BOOK: “Cycles of Power” ˜ Pamela Levin (Developmental Stages)

QUOTE: “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, & the winds long to play with your hair.”  ~ Khalil Gibran

📕 Maria Montessori said “Children’s play is their work….”,  and “toys are their words” was added by modern play therapists. Children are concrete learners, & must experience their world through all their senses in order to make sense of it.
A child’s world is filled with the magic of exploration, discovery, make-believe & play – vehicles for development. Play is the most important activity in their lives – sometimes more desired than food & sleep

• Actually, it’s one of the most powerful tools children have for trying out & mastering new ideas, skills & activities. Much of their early learning comes through self-discovery, an outcome of play. It gives the opportunity to figure out -on their own- confusing social, emotional & intellectual issues. By coming up with new ideas & solutions during play, they gain a positive attitude toward learning, & a sense of empowerment by being in control of their small world, rarely available to them in real life.

Normal BRAIN Development
Although we’re born with some genetic wiring, most of our synaptic connbrain developmentections form in early childhood. This process is shaped by internal & external experiences, & guided by the emotional bonds created between parent & child

So it’s very important to provide a loving family, warm home, with special attention (affection, playing…..), & appropriate education – to ensure healthy brain growth that will lead to a child’s optimum mental, emotional & social development. (Brain Development in Children  – detailed by age & style)

0 – 1.5 yr: Almost all neuron (nerve cells) are present at birth, but most are not yet formed into networks. Greatest growth is seen in sensori-motor & visual cortex, & then the frontal lobe. Piaget’s “practice play” reflects the development of these areas

1.5 – 3 yrs: Synapses continue to expand, reaching about 1,000 trillion – twice the density of the adult brain. so the toddler brain is twice as active.

3 – 6 yrs:  Fastest growth period for the frontal lobes. Processing speed, memory & problem solving increases
6-9 yrs: The synaptic connections in motor & sensory areas are firmly established. Elimination of synapses (pruning) in these areas has begun.  Children’s levels of attention & ability to modify impulses increases.

Everyone is born with a dominant sense – sound, sight, or touch. Less common are smell & taste. V.A.K. list of Preference //  V.A.K. Test  //  Examples:learning tree
Visual learners
> Statement : “Enough with the theories – just show me!”
> Play activities can include computers, CDs, DVDs, charts, diagrams, maps, reading and writing, photography, movies & video

Auditory learners
> Statement : “That doesn’t sound right to me” 

> Play activities can include debating, puppet shows, reciting songs or poems, story-telling, panel discussions, & the use of tape-recording for feedback & correction

Kinesthetic/Tactile learners
> Statement : “That makes me sick to my stomach!”

> Play activities can include demonstrations, dance, body games (rocking, field trips, modeling), play dough, playing instruments, sand play ….

PLAY & LEARNING: Studies at U of CA at Berkley are taking a look at ‘pretending’, which relates to what philosophers call “counterfactual” thinking, like Einstein wondering what would happen if a train went at the speed of light. It seems that children who are better at pretending can reason better about counterfactualspossibilities

❖ ‘Thinking about different possibilities’ has a crucial role in early learning – children at play are like pint-sized scientists testing theories.
They imagine how the world could / might work, predict various outcomes if their theories were true, then compare those ideas to what they actually see. Even toddlers turn out to be smarter than we’ve been assuming, if only we asked the right questions – in the right way. (MORE….)

NEXT: Children & Play – Intro (Part 2)