As I studied my students today, talking, exchanging ideas, swapping manipulatives, showing off white boards, I wondered to myself what really makes a great lesson? We’ve all planned and prepped to create that perfect lesson, only to have it fail miserably and painfully. Nothing like having to reteach a lesson or reflect on what was the missing component to bring a little reality back into the classroom.
I started making a mental list of items that I find necessary to have that special lesson:
1. Engaging…it needs to get your students involved from the get go. The students need that by in right from the start.
2. Hands-on, teaching can be messy…so let your students get their hands or whatever body part they need to learn the lesson.
3. Limited teacher talk, this is a no brainer, set up the lesson, guide the lesson, and let the student talking begin.
4. Collaboration, students need to learn to listen and be able to share ideas with each other. Many times students can explain a concept or idea better than a teacher can.
5. Multisensory, allow for learning in multiple ways and not just the standards of visual, verbal, or auditory. Try interpersonal, musical, written, mathematical, or kinesthetic.
6. Movement, yes, get them up out of their seats so they can think better and clearer.
7. Time for a exploration, students need time to explore the concepts, make connections, learn and understand concepts, and be ale to come to conclusions on their own.
8. Prior knowledge, don’t forget to set up some background knowledge and vocabulary before you jump in with both feet.
9. A goal or objective, make sure you are clear of what you want to accomplish with your students.
10. Patience, flexibility, a sense of humor; allow for time for thinking, learning and reflecting. Be flexible with all of the above and allow for the unexpected. Make sure you laugh along with your students and be able to laugh at yourself, because your students will be sure to point out all of your flaws.
11. Have fun…try to remember why you are a teacher!