Mean, mean 13 Part 1

I was trying to explain to Sprite with the help of Intellectual Dabrowski why the answer to the maths problem was 5 and not 2.
We were going quite well until the other Dabrowski dogs joined the conversation.

Intellectual:” It is really very easy. I am sure Sprite really understands the tables and the number grid and the formulas. She probably just wrote the number facing the wrong way. I told her she should check it again and she didn’t!”

Sensual: “No, it is not just really easy! Sprite did check it again but the numbers don’t look the same in the book. In the book the numbers are just flat and black on white paper but really they should be 3D and all different colours. The colours all have different smells too.”

I had wondered before whether Sprite had a degree of synaesthesia https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/what-colour-is-christmas/ and had spent some time researching it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia  and http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com/2005/02/autism-imagery-synesthesia-and-genius.html   and http://www.mixsig.net/

And then, of course, little Imaginational Dabrowski wanted to add some embellishment to Sensual’s comment.
Imaginational:” And all the numbers have characters and stories too. Two is a graceful swan. Maybe Sprite thought she needed a graceful swan to balance the equation.”

We have used Allie Golon’s maths strategies for Visual Spatial Learners http://www.visual-learners.com/support-files/nbf-6-9-10.pdf  and one of these was to create poems or pictures or stories about maths facts.

We have also used the memory training methods on the Memory Sports website at http://memory-sports.com/category/memory-techniques/

And I have shown Sprite how numbers can be turned into pictures as a mnemonic devise for remembering lists such as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21)

“It IS really simple! She understands it. She just drew the number backwards!” reiterated Intellectual.
“I’m not sure now” said Sprite.
Emotional Dabrowski pressed her head against Sprite in a comforting way.
“Ok how about we work through the problem again “I said “Let’s illustrate it with butterflies”
“I like butterflies” said Imaginational “they are so pretty and they float around on the air currents. I could watch them all day!”

“Why bother counting them when you can chase them?” called Psycho Motor as he rushed outside.
“I want to go outside now!” said Sprite.

Reading up on VSL

I could see that the problems Sprite had been having with studying for the History exam were due to the way the subject had been taught to her and also that she did not have enough understanding of her learning style to make notes in a way that would help her to remember.
The History text book had been very dull with large blocks of small font text and very few illustrations and the teacher had been mainly reading from the text book and only writing the occasional word or date on the board. Sprite had only written down the things that were written on the board; so now when she reread the notes they did not make any sense and the Memory Elephant had not been able to add anything more.

I could also foresee that if Sprite started drawing and appeared to be doodling and fiddling in class the teacher would probably assume she was not paying attention. Sprite and I did some role playing of Sprite asking permission to make pictures with her notes in a respectful way.

I also made an appointment to talk to the teacher and looked for information about the Visual Spatial Learning style that I could take with me. I chose the article ‘I Think in Pictures, You Teach in Words’ by Lesley Sword which I found on Lesley’s Articles and Handouts Page of her Gifted and Creative Services Australia website http://giftedservices.com.au/handouts/index.html

Fortunately when the teacher read the article she could see very clearly how it related to Sprite and also several other students in the class and was anxious to learn more.

I lent her the book ‘Upside down brilliance’ by Dr. Linda Silverman http://www.visualspatial.org/udb.htm
She wanted a copy of her own and I referred her to Helen Dudeney at Australian Gifted Support http://www.australiangiftedsupport.com/index.html
I read the parent companion book ‘Raising Topsy-turvy Kids’ by Alexandra Golon and found that she also had a book for teachers and one for students. http://www.visual-learners.com/books-visual-spatial-learners.html

So Sprite is now happily reading ‘If you could see the way I think’ and I will be giving the teacher a Christmas gift of The Visual-Spatial Classroom Differentiation Strategies that Engage Every Learner http://www.visual-learners.com/the-visual-spatial-classroom.html

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