As we settle into 2019, it’s time to take stock and take charge. At this time of year, apathy can set in for teachers and students alike so we’ve put together our guide to supercharging your classroom for the year.
7 EASY WAYS TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR CLASSROOM!
1. Chart it out
In order for learning to be effective, students need to understand what their goals are and, how to achieve them. As a teacher, it’s your task to make sure that each and every student understands the why and how of their learning path. Try adding a large chart to the classroom which details every step of the journey to reaching the overall goal. You can buy these online or, if you’re feeling creative, make your own. A visual reminder is a great tool for keeping students on track as they progress through the year.
2. Real life learning
In 2019, introducing STEM learning to classrooms is more important than ever before. Even if your school doesn’t officially have a STEM curriculum, you can introduce these subjects into other lessons – for example, you can introduce engineering by discussing with students how objects in the classroom work and operate. Introduce the engineering design process and work with it.
3. Natural learning
Encourage students to think about their studies outside of the classroom by introducing mini-projects. Each Friday, try asking students to bring back an item from nature found during their weekend. This can be a simple leaf or a fossil or shell and can form an ongoing discussion about the world around us.
4. STEM and STEAM bins
STEM Bins and STEAM Bins are an ideal hands-on solution for early finishers, morning work, centers, fine motor practice, indoor recess, teambuilding, calm down centers, Makerspaces, or positive reinforcement of behavior. They are also a creative and developmentally appropriate form of engineering for elementary students.
The management of STEM Bins depends on you completely, as they can be used during multiple times of the day. “Challenge Yourself” cards take structures to the next level, allowing students to improve and enhance their structures.
Provide blueprint recording sheets, flipbooks, and writing templates that can be either copied for each student or placed in page protectors for students to draw creations with a dry erase marker. Writing Prompt cards are also provided to allow for literacy extensions.
What can be in STEM bins?
What Are My Students Learning?
Teacher Questions and Prompts
STEM Bin Covers with Labels & Photos
Lower Grade STEM Bin Task Cards
3D Shapes Task Cards
“Challenge Yourself” extensions
Blueprint Recording Sheet
Foldable Recording Booklets (My Creations, My Design Process, My Invention)
Writing Prompt Cards
Writing Extensions (four line types)
5. In it together
One of the best ways to keep your classroom running smoothly is to get your students involved. Assign each student a chore or task such as collecting books or taking attendance in order to make students feel that they are an integral part of the process. In order to introduce new knowledge to your students, try starting with what they already know. For example, during lessons on technology, ask each child for an example of technology in the home and put these on a chart. This will help students to assimilate new information by starting with something familiar.
6. Thinking aloud
They say that a driving student who has first been given lessons by a parent or friend automatically brings bad habits to the learning process and, the same can be said for classroom learning. At the start of a new lesson, students will often have preconceived ideas about the subject picked up from their parents. Encourage students to look at a subject in different ways and to explain their own ideas in order to challenge them.
7. Motivate and inspire
Sticking with the STEM theme, try introducing one new inspirational figure every week, such as a famous inventor or scientist. Make sure that you keep these even in terms of gender and spread them across the STEM subjects. Start the week by putting a picture and mini-bio of the subject on the wall and encourage discussion of their achievements in order to inspire students.
By getting your classroom organised and introducing new ways of thinking, you can make sure you have a great year – and help prepare your students for the next stage of their education.