Chunk, CHEW and Check – It’s how the brain learns best!

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.
— Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912)

Imagine you have the honor of watching a top chef prepare a delectable meal just for you. You gaze, wide-eyed as the chef carefully slices and dices the ingredients, perfectly sautés them, and then masterfully displays them on a plate before you. The presentation is perfect. The colors pop. The proportions are just right. The garnishes add the tiny accents that pull the whole meal together. You see the undeniable nutritional as well as gustatory value of the dish in front of you. You pick up your fork to partake of the glorious meal.

As inspiring as the chef’s presentation has been until now, the experience would, of course, be wholly incomplete if it stopped there. You would only have a limited understanding of the flavors based on the scents and knowledge of the ingredients added. It isn’t until you begin to chew on your food that you put all of the pieces together. The more you chew, the more you experience the textures & nuances of the dish. It is then easier for your body to digest the meal and utilize its nutrients.

As you probably guessed, we’re not waxing poetic with the intention of whetting your appetite for a delicious meal. This elaborate picture relates to what we do every day in the classroom. We craft our lessons like a top chef prepares a five star meal. We are masterful in our presentation. We consider every educational ingredient before adding it to the experience. But do we always give our students enough time during the part of the lesson where the “real learning” takes place – the “chew” section of Chunk, Chew, and Check? We must ensure that students have time to savor the lesson – time to chew on the material so their brains can work through and retain all of the scrumptious nuggets of information.

Research shows that for every chunk of instruction, the brain needs time to process that information. Current recommendations for this timetable are as follows:

  • 5-7 minute chunk of direct instruction for K-2
  • 8-12 minute chunk of direct instruction for grades 3-6
  • 10 -14 minute chunk of direct instruction for grades 7-12

Students retain 50% of what they learn from talking things through, but only about 20% of the students do any talking in an average classroom. Give all of your students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the topics learned in class by incorporating more time to chew on the subjects with their classmates.

Infinite Horizons has just the recipe for the juicy processing part of your lesson. Sprinkle any of the top 10 most engaging CHEWING activities into your lessons to maximize ALL of your students’ learning potential! Head to our resource page on the website or click the resource button below for a more detailed description of each of these strategies as well as other tips and free resources.

     1. Core Groups with Jobs

     2. Numbered Heads Together

     3. Turn and Talk

     4. Walk and Talk

     5. Stand and Share: (For discussions that involve several responses or for reviews.)

    6. Vote on Your Feet

    7. Stop and Draw

    8. Clock Partners

    9. Musical Matches

  10. Think/Pair/Share and Reflect/Pair/Share