Making Practice Count

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I have never taken a class in martial arts, but I have certainly enjoyed watching Bruce Lee’s moves in his action-packed films!  Let’s face it!  The guy was physically amazing, but more than that, he had a way with words!   

Lee was more than just a famous martial artist!  He was also an actor and a philosopher with a long list of inspirational quotes tagged to his name.  Many of his famous quotes are still being used today to trigger personal growth, and one of my favorites says: 

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

This particular Bruce Lee quote reminds me of the importance of practice.  Practice, of course, is the repetition of an action with the goal of improvement.  When we practice something over and over again, we naturally perform that particular skill with more ease, speed, and confidence.  

According to educators, Annie Bosler and Don Greene, practice affects the inner workings of our brains.  In a popular TED-Ed video entitled:  How to practice effectively…for just about anything, these two teachers put together a lesson that includes four simple steps to follow.  The steps include:

  1. Focus on the task at hand. Minimize potential distractions by turning off the computer or TV and putting your cell phone on airplane mode.

  2. Start out slowly or in slow-motion. Coordination is built with repetitions, whether correct or incorrect. If you gradually increase the speed of the quality repetitions, you have a better chance of doing them correctly.

  3. Frequent repetitions with allotted breaks are common practice habits of elite performers. Studies have shown that many top athletes, musicians, and dancers spend 50-60 hours per week on activities related to their craft. Many divide their time used for effective practice into multiple daily practice sessions of limited duration.

  4. Practice in your brain in vivid detail. It’s a bit surprising, but a number of studies suggest that once a physical motion has been established, it can be reinforced just by imagining it.

Bruce Lee became well-known as a professional martial artist, actor, and philosopher because of hard work and lots of focused practice.  As human beings, we can all benefit from applying these 4-steps to practice just about anything effectively.

Increasing Retention with Purposeful Movement

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Is purposeful movement an integral part of your instructional toolbox? I was reminded lately of the power of using motion to assist the brain in the retention of information.  I recently set a goal for myself to memorize a favorite portion of scripture, I Corinthians 13, The Love Chapter, which is commonly quoted at weddings.  As I pondered how to best attack this lofty goal, I was reminded of the units that my former coworker and I designed for our third grade students, years ago.  

You see, we took the vocabulary words in the lessons and brainstormed rhyming definitions that incorporated movement. We found these to be quite successful with the classes in assisting them not only to retain the information, but also to have fun while learning it! So, personally, I used this same method to learn the verbs and phrases associated with knowing how to love unselfishly, and it worked!

Now, I am not a brain expert by any means, but there is certainly something that takes place in the mind when you add purposeful movement to words or phrases. It adds that extra bit of distinctiveness which sticks in the memory bank and causes retention levels to soar!

Why not try adding some motions with muscle to your classroom lessons? It does take some preplanning, but it adds fun and a reason for movement to the learning process.  The Shurley English Jingles are a perfect learning tool to help you add movement into your language arts lessons (…and you can find them for FREE on our YouTube Channel).

As you listen to and learn the jingles, think about each line of text. Pay careful attention to the most important words, especially the verbs. Think of purposeful movements you can associate with the texts of each jingle. You will improve the community feel of your classroom by involving kids in the choreography planning, so don’t be afraid to give them the reins. Of course, you will need to be the final judge about whether the motions they want to use make a good association to the jingle text, but their engagement in this process will be invaluable to them in the long run.

FREE Language Arts Jingles from Shurley English

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If you’re ready to learn English definitions in a fun and easy way, Shurley English Jingles are for you! Using domain-specific language, our definitions for the parts of speech and many other important language arts concepts incorporate rhythm, rhyme, and movement. Jingles provide the tools for critical thinking during sentence analysis and writing.  

Our multi-sensory approach provides an active, hands-on learning environment in which kids truly understand and retain language arts skills for a lifetime. (We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Jingles are an extremely effective way to learn information!) We invite you to incorporate Jingle Time into your classroom or homeschool today!

For the first time in 30 years, we are excited to offer our Shurley English Language Arts Jingles for FREE! Getting started is easy…

  1. Go to the Shurley Instructional Materials YouTube Channel.

  2. Subscribe so you will know when a new jingle is uploaded.

  3. Have fun learning language arts definitions!

P.S. Don’t forget to share these jingles with your friends!

What’s next? Have you learned all of the Shurley English Jingles? If so, take the next step! It’s time to show students how to apply this knowledge to sentence classification, where they learn the parts of speech and correct sentence structure. These skills serve as the foundation for students to write better sentences, paragraphs, and essays. The result—successful writers! Let’s get started.

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Kim Shurley

Kim Shurley is a wife, mother, educator, and wanna-be rockstar. She graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock with a degree in Marketing in 1999. Upon her graduation, Kim joined the Shurley Team, where she collaborates on product development and promotion with her mother-in-law, Brenda Shurley.

Kim believes wholeheartedly in the work she does in curriculum development, which is why she homeschools her two children in the summer months using the Shurley method of instruction. After all, educating children is what this family-run company is all about.

In her spare time, Kim can be found adventuring in the mountains of Colorado with her family.