Monday, April 6, 2015

8 Teaching Styles to Dazzle Little Minds

Can you still remember songs you learned in elementary school? Or do you learn best by reading something in print? Maybe by jumping in and learning as you do something for yourself?  Are you good at logic puzzles? Or do you notice color pairings everywhere you go? If we stop and think about it, it's obvious that different people--no matter their ages--have different learning styles. Most people have more than one style that works well for them.  To best help our young students, we have to make sure to develop teaching styles to connect with each of these learning styles.

The 8 Learning Styles

My Primary music mentor, Sharla Dance, breaks down learning styles into 8 categories:


She talks about these learning styles extensively in her book, To Teach a Child a Song, which you can learn about on the accompanying website.  Here is a brief description of each style with an example singing activity.

Spiritual:  Learning through the Holy Ghost. One activity is playing a silent video of the Savior while you sing "I Know That My Savior Loves Me."

Still from one of's Bible Videos

Visual:  Learning through interacting with something you see.  One activity is putting together a puzzle cut from a picture of the garden of Eden, while you sing "Follow the Prophet."

Learning through pictures

Movement:  Learning while you move.  One activity is a pattern of stomping, clapping, and snapping while you sing, "The Church of Jesus Christ."

Learning through movement

Musical:  Learning through a focus on the music itself.  One activity is hand bells with "Did Jesus Really Live Again?"

Hand bells

Logical:  Learning through use of codes and clues.  Mostly for senior Primary.  One activity is figuring out that the letters on the board correspond to the first letter of each word in "The Holy Ghost."

Can you crack the code?

Words:  Learning through focusing on the words of the song. Mostly for senior Primary.  Note that not every child learns best this way.  One activity is unscrambling key words to "Come Follow Me."

Learning through words

Nature:  Learning through connecting with nature.  One activity is to have the children visualize ocean waves and then compare that to the feeling of the music in "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus" as you move your arms like waves.

Learning from nature
Cooperative:  Learning through interaction with others.  One activity is a class working together to illustrate a line from "He Sent His Son."

Learning through cooperation


As we think of applying these learning styles to Primary music, the prevailing principles are 1-Utilize a variety of teaching styles each Sunday, and 2-Utilize a variety of teaching styles for each song, over the course of weeks and months.  My weekly posts that share my outlines for singing time are good examples of how to implement these principles.

In case your learning style includes charts and lists :), I'm sharing a spreadsheet that can help in your singing time activity planning.  Click here to view and download the file.  I've filled in a few weeks with the activities from this blog's singing time outlines, to demonstrate one way to keep track. Some activities tap into more than one learning style, and that's great! Feel free to alter this according to your own style and needs.  If you decide to use this outline, or if you have another way to plan singing time that works great for you, please comment and share.

Happy Singing!

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