Thursday, October 11, 2012

Part 3 with Projects for Visual and Active Method

Become a Visual and Active Teacher

1.  Start with the student. Ask each student this question:  "How will you use this information?  What do you want to do?  What do you love?"

2.  Ask the student to do something difficult.  Perhaps it is talking on the telephone.  "Oh, no, Steve, I don't want to."
"Oh, I don't need this in my job.  I can use email."

This is an important exercise.  When students try to avoid doing something, then it is perhaps important.  We can learn through fear.
3. Learn about "styles of learning." For most students, books are boring.  Most students are not linguistic learners.  They learn by another way.  Only 20% learn by reading.  Many other students learn by copying the teacher or their friends.
4.  Use and visit to allow students to connect with students.   Look for more tips at and click “56 tips.”
5.  Connect with my students. Go to on Facebook and find interesting contacts.  If you are a teacher, write to me with your request.  Ask your students to write my students.
6. send email each week to your students...  more homework.
7.  Sometimes it works if you are a dancing bear.  A dancing bear gets attention in the classroom.  
We don't want to be sleepy!
We want to personalize the education, but some students want more energy in the room before they start participating in their own learning.

Send me your suggestions.   This method is still evolving.  

This method is based on the work of Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor, who created the Met Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Frequently Asked Questions
Mr. Mac, why is your class so noisy?
That's what many students ask.  I answer, "It's okay for students to discuss the problems.  They just need to whisper.  Students learn when they discuss and learn from each other."

Sometimes times there are students who don't like the noise, so they can sit outside the class to find a quieter place to study...perhaps alone, perhaps with a smaller group....  we need to find the right balance between "noisy" and "creative and cooperative.”

Who created the slogan "Visual and Active Learning"?
I don't know.  The idea is simple:  Most textbooks don't move.  Most textbooks are black and white and two dimensions.  The Visual and Active are the third and fourth dimensions, adding depth and time.  One of my students told me, "You teach Physical Math" and another told me, "Now I can see it."  A third student said, "I understand it now because I can feel it" so it's Visual and Active.

What is the central mission of a Visual and Active Teacher?
ANSWER:  The V-and-A Teacher tries to grab the attention of students and engage them in the lesson.   Edu-Tainment, which is Education and Entertainment.

You can observe a Visual and Active person in action by searching “Dennis Yuzenas” on Youtube.  He was the Visual and Active Teacher of the Year for 2004.
His web site is and he creates interesting "books on CD" to engage the attention of students.
Write to him at

An example of a Visual ESOL teacher on Youtube is “Cary Elcome pronunciation”...  correspond with him at

For interesting seminars about how to integrate technology in the classroom and how to infuse Visual and Active techniques into your lesson plans, hire one of the consultants at

Most consultants want a commitment or payment up front.  

I prefer to be paid on results that you obtain rather than on effort that I’ve made.  This is like a consignment store.  I place my skills in your location and we wait until something positive happens.  If we see results (increased attendance, increased retention of teachers, more smiles in the classroom, students who say, “I really like this school”), then we can decide what the training was worth to you and your school.

When I'm retired, I want to look back at the schools and classrooms where I entered.  The typical consultant works with at most two clients per month, spending most of his time cold-calling to look for new clients.  The typical consultant spends 80 percent of his time hunting for the next project, 20 percent actually in training and working with teachers and administrators. 

I'd rather be busy (giving workshops daily without upfront payment) and paid later only by satisfied clients than to work only when I'm guaranteed a check.  Let me come into your "village" (your school) and share what I have learned from other Visual and Active teachers.   


Look for Patterns
Look for Patterns (tm) is a trademark held by Steve McCrea
Content on this page is copyright 2005.
If you look for patterns, if you identify the cycles in life, then you are educating yourself.
Here are some ways to practice looking for patterns:


1.  track the price of a stock -- choose a stock that you are interested in! and click on FINANCE will be a good place to start.

2.  HERE is an exercise about an 

3.  Analyze 
the thoughts of Mr. Friedman (he talks about Geo-Green Politics.  What does he mean?)

4.  Here is the 
introduction to GIFTED CLASS by Mr. Mac.

Decide on ONE PROJECT and work with it each week until it is completed.  This long-term project can be something that you do alone or with other people.
 create a yearbook on CD with photos that you collect from teachers and other students
- write a book of short stories
- collect suggestions for "better living" or "tips for studying better" or a cook book and put these suggestions on a web site or in a photocopied book.
- start a school newspaper
- write a column for the school newspaper
- interview one teacher each week and compile the collected interviews in a book for students to keep at the end of the year.  It could become part of the yearbook.
- make a video showing an interesting topic
- interview adults, asking them "Tell me about an interesting book that you read when you were a young person."  
- create a list of questions from your history or science class and ask adults... You might find it funny because many adults think that they don't need to know stuff from middle school now that they graduated from high school.   
Example:  Who was Napoleon Buonaparte?  
What is photosynthesis?
List the planets in order from the Sun to Pluto.
Jay Leno on the Tonight Show uses this method to obtain funny interviews

Memorize poems.  If you need some suggestions, go to 
DATA web page

There are at least 180 essay topics that teachers usually give students... why not start and practice writing some of them?  You can get started today!  Push yourself... don't wait for a teacher to give you these topics.  Then we'll put your creation on the internet for others to read!

memorize some interesting quotes

Learn another Language...  
Here is a link to a Spanish page

Visit and see if you can describe each of the shows that are presented (using US Tax dollars).  Then visit some other radio stations and compare the content of the shows.   Conservative Radio, Rush Limbaugh Show, etc.   Do a search on "conservative radio" to learn the names of interesting radio commentators.

TV Katie Couric and her team present many useful tips on the TODAY show.  What is today's best tip? 

Choose three newspapers and read the same story in each newspaper.  
Find the differences.  Sometimes newspaper writers leave out some information or emphasize a certain fact.  Can you explain why or guess why?   

Look at newspapers from other countries.  See if you can guess the vocabulary. 
If there is an important story, maybe you can see a pattern.  What does "Papa" mean in Italian?
edizione straordinaria 
Addio a Giovanni Paolo II 

Go to a web site and learn about another country.

Open any volume of the encyclopedia.  Read an article that you find interesting.  
Now talk about that subject for one minute.  What new things did you learn?  Can you communicate what you learned by a powerpoint presentation?  Or by drawing?  or by discussion or can you teach a 5 minute class about what you learned?

Get a program called 

What language do you want to study?
Someone called Arabic "angry spaghetti."   Do you have a hunger for learning about other languages and other alphabets?
Where can you go on the internet to learn new words in another language?

If you speak English, you can teach to millions of other people.  
They hunger to know English and you, even if you are not yet an adult, have a skill that these millions of people are willing to pay or trade to get...  you speak English.  Why not use your talent in some way?
-- volunteer at a language school to give conversation lessons
-- volunteer at a church or other social organization (such as which offers classes to immigrants.
(check with your parents before you do these ideas)...

Some organizations don't "make a profit" -- what does that mean?  
How much of their funding goes into fund-raising?  50 percent, 15 percent?
Visit these web sites and compare their revenues to cost of fund raising:

What do you do with your dominant hand?
open doors
eat with a spoon
throw a ball
hit a golfball
shake hands
reach for objects
What can you do with your non-dominant hand?

How can you push yourself to do more?  Why are you just reading this list of exercises?  Why not DO something, now...?

Send your suggestions for more exercises.

S. Mccrea
Fort Lauderdale, FL 
Teacher    954 646 8246  
Fort Lauderdale, FL

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