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Click or Clunk

November 24, 2017

I teach online. For over a decade, I’ve taught students seeking their Master’s Degree in Special Education. One of the first things I tell my students is that it is up to them to tell me if they don’t understand something. Not having a traditional format, I tell them that I can’t see if they’re not “getting it.” 

 

The truth is that sometimes we can look at our kids and tell that they are or are not “getting it.” There are other times, though, when we’re not so sure. Perhaps our kids think they get it but don’t. Or perhaps we think they get it, but they don’t. This can happen any time we are teaching our children something new. 

 

Teaching your children to think about what they are learning is a form of metacognition. Essentially, it means that you’re thinking about your own thinking. If we can teach our children to do that, it can help them academically as well as in practical life situations. One strategy gaining popularity is called Click or Clunk. 

 

Something “Clicks” when children think they understand something and when they are able to explain it back to you. Something “Clunks” when they know they don’t understand or when they can’t explain it back to you. 

 

You can use Click or Clunk in your homeschool starting immediately. First, teach your children what Click and Clunk mean. If you have children who are tactile learners, you may even have something that they can fidget with that clicks or clunks to go along with each idea. If you have an auditory learner, you may make clicking or clunking sounds to go along with each idea. 

 

Second, model the strategy for your children. Read something aloud, stopping periodically and asking yourself aloud if you understand what you read (if it Clicked) or not (if it Clunked). If it clicked, then make the click sound (or have your children do it) and keep going. If it clunked, model a strategy to make it click. That might include rereading the material. It might mean looking up an unknown word. It might mean looking at pictures with the text to help you better understand it. 

 

Finally, have your children practice the strategy themselves. Give them something to read. Depending upon their reading levels, prompt them to stop at the end of a sentence or paragraph and ask themselves if they understood it, if it Clicked or Clunked. 

 

Click or Clunk can be used with any content area and any new information. It is simply a meta cognitive check to see if you understand. But it can also be a way for your children to learn to self-evaluate their own understanding and problem-solve when they don’t understand something. 

 

Try Click or Clunk in your homeschool, and let us know how it works for you. 

 

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