When the LeaDo Learning Centre arrived in Heidi’s classroom, she wanted to get her sixth graders involved in the launching process from the start. The learners participated in preparing the learning materials according to Heidi’s instructions, by taking photos of all their workbooks and printing them out, then cutting and laminating the pictures to fit in LeaDo’s numbered pockets. If children get to participate, it usually increases their interest in new materials and how to use them.
Heidi’s strategy worked well: children are excited and have learned fast how to work with LeaDo. For the learners, lessons are more active than before and as a teacher, Heidi finds it ever easier to differentiate her teaching to meet the needs of learners with different skills. In addition to differentiation, Heidi finds that LeaDo easily enables creating structure to group work, projects and weekly learning goals. The colourful pockets help a lot. Did you know that the colours are not random? The pockets are colour coded to support the implementation of the new, renown Finnish national core curriculum for basic education.
Heidi’s tips for starting to work with LeaDo:
Involve your learners in preparing the learning and instructional materials, for example taking photos and laminating them
Make detailed step by step instructions for the learners
Plan the differentiation process carefully: are the tasks similar for everyone or is there specific, different level tasks for some students
Start with mathematics, math tasks are relatively easy to differentiate!
At the beginning it’s essential to use a lot of time to practise the basic idea of how to work with LeaDo. For example, when instructions are put in the pockets and not given by the teacher, learner’s need to be reminded to go and check from the pocket if they forget the instructions. LeaDo clue cards can be used at first to mark the time for taking a break with LeaDo gymnastics, but eventually learners will learn to recognise themselves when they need a break. When using the learning centre, It’s good to remember that everything doesn’t have to be new and exciting. It’s ok to put normal, everyday materials in the pocket department, such as task sheets or exam papers that children can collect themselves from the pockets.
Some materials, such as exam papers, are used only once. Those instructions that can be used multiple times, is best to laminate. On the laminated surface it’s easy to write instructions, questions or other information with a permanent marker. If you need to add more text, you can print it out and add it to the laminated picture with a paperclip.
It takes time to learn new ways to work, but perseverance is the key to success. Teachers who use LeaDo in their classroom have reported positive development of peaceful learning environment, self-directed learning, learning motivation and concentration skills. When you start using LeaDo, it helps you to have an open mind and innovative ideas, but you don’t need to create everything from scratch. With LeaDo, you always get a comprehensive teacher’s manual as well as the necessary support materials!