Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cognitive Tools....

This week I have explored tools that fit under the cognitive theory of learning. Cognitive tools allow students to learn in a more meaningful manner by causing students to actually think about information instead of simply regurgitating it for a test (Orey, 2001). 

Check out this catchy song to help with your understanding of cognitive learning

One particular tool that is very advantageous in kindergarten is advanced organizers.  We created a concept map in Inspiration.  This concept map allowed students to organize thoughts on the life of the Pilgrims. 

One tool from the resources that I plan to implement more in my classroom is virtual field trips.  From a practical standpoint these are advantageous because our district is no longer financially able to provide field trips for our students.  As a teacher of kindergarten students this is very disappointing because students are able to gain so much more understanding of a topic by actually experiencing it and making connections to prior knowledge (Laureate, 2011).  Virtual field trips allow students to experience places and concepts that were impossible in the past.

This week our class took a tour of the Pilgrim Village and learning about the first Thanksgiving.  You can take this virtual field trip by going to Scholastic-Thanksgiving.  Imagining life so long ago is very difficult for a 5 year old, this field trip helped make it real. The students were so excited to go on a field trip, even if it was only a virtual one!

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from


  1. Melissa,
    Like your school, my school can no longer financially support field trips. My second graders are also learning about life long ago. Although we are located only 30 miles from New Salem (a historic village where Lincoln once lived), it was not feasible for me to take them there. Instead, we took a virtual field trip of a pioneer village ( They were engaged the entire time! They were discussing what they saw and comparing it to their lives now with no prompting from me!

    Virual field trips are a powerful learning tool in today's low-funded, but technologically-rich schools!

  2. Stacey, Thanks for the link. It's a shame that most schools are unable to go on field trips. Fortunately, we now have virtual field trips. I'm sure they will only keep getting better as well.

  3. Melissa, I never would have thought that a district would cut field trips; there are so many trips that are totally free. The virtual field trips are a great learning experience. The purpose of field trips is to accompany classroom experiences and enhance instruction, which is the main focus of cognitivism. You will likely do more with the virtual field trips than some teachers are able to accomplish on traditional trips.

  4. Melissa, I also used the same scholastic link this week with my first grade kids. My kids were completely in to learning about the Pilgrims and Indians and being able to watch a virtual field trip really allowed the kids to see and understand what it was like back then. Without this video, I doubt the kids would have really been able to grasp the understanding and hardships that the Pilgrims really went through