Many teachers struggle with how to teach. We all know how to go online, download a few handouts, and “plan” around the worksheets or assign the textbook. I did this my first year. In fact, my first year I felt like I was “playing” teacher. The unfortunate part is not only is this a common daily occurrence for many new teachers, but I have observed many seasoned teachers do the same. This is not teaching. This is okay for “one of those days,” but not everyday. When student progress is not where we would like it (aside from the factors out of our control), we need to look at instruction.
Here are three pathways for a delivering an effective lesson and watching your students grow!
1. Write a lesson plan.
Yes, I have witnessed a few teachers not plan. I have also heard stories of teachers who do not write lesson plans. I can’t believe it.They “wing” it. Newsflash–the student progress will also grow wings and fly off in an undesired direction. Students can only progress to the level of your commitment. Remember that.
Many teachers now plan with colleagues. Some schools do this on a daily basis. There are pros to this and surprisingly a few cons. We’ll save that for another blog. Find a good lesson plan format that works for you and your students. Your school may also have a format they use as well.
2. Pace almost everything.
Yes, especially if you teach students who struggle. Pacing a lesson means timing each activity and literally setting a timer. At first, it may feel awkward but eventually, it will become second nature. Include the times on your lesson plan as well because this serves as a reminder to you. This worked well from my SPED students all the way to my honors classes. Middle schoolers need structure. They are still developing. High schoolers can make it with longer, more individualized projects. Hidden secret: This is also ready, convenient classroom management! It gives focus and purpose to your lesson and classroom. More details to come in an upcoming free download!
3. Keep it student-centered!
Oh wait! There are kids in the room! Just kidding, they are the focus of our entire professional drive. 🙂
When you plan, don’t plan to stand in the front of the room and lecture to 7th graders for 45 minutes. No wonder Jacob is silently shooting spit balls through a straw, Lisa is rolling her eyes, and Kevin is sound asleep, passing loud gas, and now the entire class is screaming with laughter. No wonder, they don’t get anything you say, no wonder they play in class, no wonder they don’t turn in work/homework, no wonder the quiz scores are awful. Now you want to quit, and take that corporate job after all. Not so fast.
What is student-centered teaching? It’s simply putting your kids first when planning and delivering lessons by incorporating engaging activities and resources that will enhance their learning.
Ex: If you were using the “old textbook,” don’t assign 3 pages of vocabulary daily for the next 2 weeks. That’s asking for disruptive behavior. I’d act up in your class and I’m grown.
Instead, use the textbook–effectively. Most textbooks aren’t bad at all. Take the vocabulary and introduce the words by playing a vocabulary game such as charades with the kids. Put the kids in teams. Play the game for about 10 minutes. Then move into the teaching notes for about 10 minutes. The kids will already be more receptive to the note taking because they feel more confident using the vocabulary. Next, after the notes. Have the kids do an activity in groups or pairs to solidify what you just taught. They can do this for 10-15 minutes.
Not only will this cut down on misbehavior, but you are not exhausting yourself talking for 45-90 minutes. Help us (smile).
This is a condensed version of the upcoming free download I will be offering!
Teaching is rewarding, wise, and honorable, but it does NOT have to be overwhelming.
So, what was a great lesson YOU delivered that nailed effective lesson delivery? Comment and share below!
Stay in the light–
The Educator, M.Ed.