Teaching a classroom full of young learners is not easy, but there are three things you can do to help your lessons and your day run as smoothly as possible. These essentials are taught to educators during the GrapeSEED Foundation Training, but they can apply to educators teaching any lesson or program in any classroom.
Always plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to plan each lesson in advance. Lesson planning templates and tools are available online, if needed, and may be available if you are using a specific program or supplemental program. For example, GrapeSEED provides a tool to automatically create GrapeSEED lessons for teachers if they choose not to create their own. Be sure to include movement or action activities throughout the lesson, roughly every 5-8 minutes, to give students a break and to keep them engaged. Once you have a lesson plan, know it inside and out so you can keep the lesson flowing smoothly. Also be ready with a back-up plan in case problems pop up, which they often do when working with little ones.
Prepare everything for the lesson ahead of time and practice it if you are unsure about timing or some other aspect. Lay out materials in a way that they are easily accessible and in the order they will be used; this will keep things moving along without disruption and help you avoid losing students’ attention. Memorize materials before the first lesson so you can perform activities correctly, keep activities flowing, and to avoid confusion for the students.
- Predefine Expectations
Make a list of your expectations as you plan and prepare for a new lesson or activity. Keep them realistic and within reach so you and your students aren’t too often disappointed. Explain to your students what is expected of them before the first lesson or at the beginning of a new activity. Make it clear what you want them to do so they can understand and repeat the desired behavior; keeping it short and simple will help. Expect attention but not perfection: students should follow along, participate, and remain focused during the lesson, but even then they are not going to get it all right every time. Keep in mind that they may be excited about the new activity, so try to get them back on track while keeping the lesson moving forward.
Do you have additional tips to help a classroom of young learners run smoothly? Let us know on the GrapeSEED Facebook page!