Making connections is the outcome I strive for in everything I do. Even as a textile artist and teacher. Yarn can connect us to a concept. Yarn can connect us to one another. Yarn can connect us to the wider world. This “common thread” can be powerful. Here is where I will share all the ways in which I use yarn to connect. Even if you don’t knit or crochet, I hope you will find you can connect with yarn as well.
Recently I ran my third annual Stringing it Together workshop for educators in which we use yarn as a part of a multi-sensory approach to reading and math. Sometimes you need to return to the concrete nature of learning before you can help students reach the more abstract level. Our soon-to-be teachers enjoyed the connections they made to yarn and to one another.
Multi-sensory lessons help connect kids to concepts. Here’s a brief rundown on the process:
Our senses have two primary jobs
- To take in information from the outside world “ the external sensory system”
- To organize external sensory information within our own bodies “internal sensory system”
Effective multi-sensory instruction:
- Engages children in learning through their senses externally and internally.
- Presents strategies that help children use one or a combination of their senses.
- Addresses the internal needs of children, thus preparing them to learn.
- Respects and embraces the needs for children to feel safe in taking risks and to feel successful in the classroom.
When planning a multi-sensory lesson, we should consider 3 important elements:
- Body focus
- Sense Engagement
- Mind Connection
It means that students are paying attention and actively using their external senses of seeing , hearing , touching and moving. So think about your senses as you plan. How can you keep the children involved?? You can add movements to a song or get a story acted out. Keeping students physically involved will help keep them focused for longer periods of time.
We used string and yarn in our workshop in the following ways:
- Spaghetti Spelling
- Sticky Sight Words
- Bead Slides (phonemic awareness)
- Reading Response Art
- String Art (math operations & geometry)
- Sequencing Cards
- Food Chains
You can find a sample of a string art activity for math here or on our Freebies & Downloads page.