Creating Lesson Plans: Easy And Fun
As a tutor, I use the eclectic method, and much of my teaching is based on games, play and real life experiences. When I do use curriculum, it is chosen based on the children’s learning styles. Following is a template that I often use:
Objective: List what my objectives are for each child. For example: Johnny will learn to to measure inches with a ruler. Billy will learn the basics of algebra.
Supplies needed: Make a list of all needed materials. Note: I prefer not to use multiple choice activities, because it discourages analytical thinking. If my kids get bored or object to what we are doing, I use games like Ring Around The Phonics, Math-U-See, or Simon Says to add spice. I find curriculum created by home school families is much more effective than the traditional curriculum. You will be surprised at the difference if you have not tried this.
- The old one room school house approach is highly effective because the children learn from each other as well as from me. We have all seen how little ones look up to, and learn from older children. It works in the reverse as well.
- Most of the children I work with are having difficulties, and usually need this added activity which helps build self esteem. It can be done in various ways besides the way I give you here. I have the children sit in a circle (circles encourage discussion), and a stuffed hart is passed around the circle. Whoever is holding the hart receives the groups total attention, and is the only one allowed to speak. Each child is asked to tell about their day (or some other topic). As the discussion winds down on that subject, each child is instructed to say (or write on a card) something positive about each child in the circle. The rules are explained: It must be positive, and it must be true (children respond more to compliments from peers). If they do not know something personal, they can say something about the child’s physical appearance. Children sometimes find this awkward at first, but end up insisting that we do the activity. There are other activities, and variations of this one that I will explain at another time.
- As a group we discuss or go over the lessons for the day. For example I might have an older child help me demonstrate to the younger children how to measure inches and feet with a ruler. I like making it experiential as much as possible. We sometimes measure dad’s shoes, and/ or each child’s shoes. I have even measured the dad’s shoes which just happened to be 12 inches. Then we used the shoe to measure the length of the room. It helped the little girl remember the difference between inches and feet.
- The younger children observe, and are allowed to participate in the activities for the older children, just like in the old one room school house.
- One can even help the children build a bird house or solar panel in this activity. A trip to the grocery store can be turned into a lesson about weights, money and addition/ division. While cooking, the children can be taught how to follow directions from written material (the recipe), measuring (1/2, 1/4, pint, pound, ext), and even sequencing. Life is a great teaching tool. It is a great time to get dad involved too.
Individual Activities (often done but not always): The objective here is to have each child practice and develop what they learned in the group activity.
- I might add a game to keep them motivated. I can teach up to 4 children at one time even if they are on 3 different subjects or levels using Ring Around The Phonics (can even be used to spice up math work sheets, and even 6th graders enjoy it.). It is one of my favorite teaching tools that is well worth the investment.
- Sometimes they will work independently on their own individual activity on the computer, a work box (much like a play station except in a box), or in workbook. My goal is to get them use to formal education, but not destroy their natural desire to learn. If we want the children to be self motivated as teenagers, it is important to nurture their natural desire to learn that all children are born with. Read more about that and grade level requirements Here.
Discussion / Evaluation: It is important to evaluate with the children as soon as possible so bad habits are unlearned quickly. This can be done individually or as a group (While doing the activities is an excellent time to do this if possible). It can be accomplished in a discussion (hart and circle mentioned above can be used) .
My Personal Evaluation: At the end of the day, I decide what needs to be learned or reinforced in the next lesson (how much of my objective was accomplished). I also think about what I could tweak in my approach.