Teaching Strategies for the Classroom (page 2)
Keeping Students Engaged at the Front of the Classroom
There are a variety of teaching tools that can be used to deliver instruction. Utilizing them correctly will maximize their potential as they assist you and your students in your presentations. Your choice of teaching tools will depend on the options available at your school site, but it should further reflect your own preferences.
Whether you use a chalkboard or a whiteboard, it is at the board where most of the direct instruction takes place in the classroom.
- Keep the board easily accessible.
- Make the board the focal point of the room. All students should be able to see it easily.
- Post your name, the date, the daily agenda, key standards to be covered, and the student count (boys, girls, total) every day.
- Tips and tricks to help you maximize the benefit of the board in your classroom include the following:
- Flat paintbrushes work well for cleaning chalk trays, allowing you to sweep the chalk dust directly into a dustpan.
- Old socks make great erasers for whiteboards.
- You can remove permanent marker from a whiteboard by tracing over the marks with a dry-erase marker and then erasing it.
- Some boards are magnetic, which makes them a handy place for temporarily posting student work, instructional charts, or posters. Keep the magnets in one corner for easy access.
Screens are needed for projection when using an ELMO projector, LCD projector, document reader, or overhead projector. Screens are permanently installed in many classrooms.
- Use a whiteboard to project onto, if one is available.
- Project onto butcher paper if no screen or whiteboard is available.
- Test the setup before using it, adjusting the distance and focus of the equipment.
Geography is very important, but it is often lacking in the daily curriculum. Using maps can be a fun and interactive way for students to learn geography.
- Check the maps that are available in your classroom. Are they relevant to the curriculum?
- Make good use of the state, continent, and world maps that are often attached to the top of the chalkboard, whiteboard, or bulletin board for easy access.
- Practice using maps, and have the students interact with them as well.
- Know your map terminology: legend or key, scale, compass rose, longitude, and latitude.
- Choose a location and challenge students to find it. “Where is Fiji?” Make this a daily challenge. Students can also research the location, for example, “What industries are in Fiji?” “What do Fijians eat?” “What language do they speak in Fiji?”
Overhead projectors have always been popular teaching tools. They allow the teacher to present and model written material to the whole class at the same time.
- Keep the projector in an accessible location so that it is easy to set up.
- Keep the owner’s manual and refer to it when needed.
- Take care with the cord placement. Tripping over the cord could cause an accident, resulting in injury and/or damage to the projector.
- Look for overhead instructional sets, especially for math (for example, money sets, shape sets, fractions). Keep these sets in a storage container near the overhead projector for easy access.
- Keep working “overhead pens” in a variety of colors near the projector.
- Make sure you have a working bulb and an extra bulb for backup.
- Use overhead transparency sheets. These can be held under running water and rinsed clean.
- Make copies on overhead transparency sheets to model work for students. These can be stored in plastic sleeves, which can be written on with overhead markers. Rinse the sleeves clean and store them in a binder for future use.
- Use overhead transparencies with small groups of students so that they can record their work on them and then present it to the class.
- Keep a roll of paper towels and a spray bottle of water handy for cleaning the projector.
ELMO Projector or Document Reader
An ELMO projector or document reader can transmit images directly from a document hard copy, a computer screen, or even what is on a teacher’s desk to a large screen for viewing by the entire class. This type of equipment is a valuable teaching tool, because it allows students to see actual demonstrations of lessons. More and more, it is replacing the overhead projector in the classroom.
- Set up the equipment and practice with it before using it with the children.
- Take care with the cord placement. Tripping over the cord could cause an accident, resulting in injury and/or damage to the equipment.
- If a bulb “dies,” turn off the equipment, let it rest for a few minutes, and then try again. A bulb may fail temporarily but not yet be burned out. Bulbs can be expensive, and it’s worth it to try to avoid unnecessary replacement.
- When not in use, the equipment should be turned off to conserve the bulb’s life.
- Always store the equipment in a secure place.
An LCD projector allows teachers to display many types of media, including pictures, images, student-made videos, PowerPoint presentations, and lecture notes—all of which can be stored on a laptop computer. You can even type in students’ oral contributions during discussions for immediate display.
- Set up the projector and practice with it before using it with the children.
- Establish a connection between the laptop and the projector, typically by pressing the F5 key and the command key simultaneously.
- Use an adapter that comes with a Mac laptop in order to connect the laptop to the LCD projector.
- Use the projector for computer instruction of programs like Microsoft Word. If students are sitting at individual computers, they can follow the lesson and practice each step as it is modeled on the LCD projector.
Teacher Tools Station
Establishing a teacher tools station with everything you need right at your fingertips is important for smooth delivery of instruction. This can be a drawer storage bin on wheels positioned next to either the teacher’s seat or the presentation equipment (such as an overhead projector or ELMO projector). It could also be a designated drawer of your desk if you do most of your presenting at your desk.
- Practice your planned daily routine: Think to yourself, “What do I need to present this lesson?” Stock your teacher tools station accordingly.
- Suggested tools for your teacher tools station include the following:
- Stapler, staples, masking tape, Scotch tape, paper clips, and scissors
- Tissues, paper towels, lined and plain paper, Post-it Notes, notepaper, pens, pencils, erasers, and markers
- Word cards, math flash cards, and extra blank word cards
- Dry-erase markers and cleaning spray if using a whiteboard
- Stickers, rewards, and incentives that you are using (tickets, coupons, tokens)
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