Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
Prayer and Meditation
I expend significant time and energy preparing lessons to meet the needs of my students, only to watch some students withdraw to a hazy wilderness I cannot break into or comprehend. I suppose it is only fair to say they may feel the same way about my lesson plans. As I create my lesson plans, I commit my work to You and ask that Your guidance direct my efforts. Let me be open to last minute changes to my plans, especially at those moments when everything seems to be going wrong in my classroom and I feel disheartened and disappointed.
The Actions of Prayerful Teaching
- Research has proven (though many teachers ignore the fact) that students cannot listen for more minutes than their age. If a child is seven years old, that child cannot listen any longer than seven minutes straight—tops. If a child is sixteen years old, that child cannot listen any longer than sixteen minutes. This includes general class discussions, question/answer sessions, or anything else that requires listening. Some activity involving the student must take place when the age in minutes is reached. The goal of that activity must be clear, relate to the lesson just presented, and be achievable. It may be completed independently or with a partner(s). It need not take a long time, but it is a must before demanding more listening.
- Build student focus into every lesson. Student need to know on what to focus. Just like a GPS device guides travelers to their destination, students need a guide to their learning destinations. They need to know precisely what they should be able to do by the end of a set period of time. “In ten minutes you will….” “By the end of the week you can all….” Student should each have a visible reminder of the goals they achieved.
- Give choices to demonstrate achievement whenever possible. Every student learns differently and has different abilities. Giving two or three choices allows students to take some control and responsibility over their learning. This may be as simple as offering an opportunity to select between two graphic organizer for a short focus session or as involved as demonstrating a unit learning goal through a choice of learning modalities.
- Value the role music and art play in the lives of students and in the learning process. Social Studies—Play soft background music from the geographic region, county, or era which is being studied. Analyze the music in relation to the subject matter. Math—Sing the multiplication tables. Visit YouTube for math-music videos. English—Study poetry and metaphors found in song lyrics. To teach grammar, rewrite lyrics to tell a story adding in students’ own twists and turns to the plot. Science—There are many ballads and songs t,o be found on a YouTube search which make it much easier to remember scientific principles. These are just a few suggestions. An Internet search will turn up many more.
- Get students physically active and moving about for optimum learning experiences. Acting out formulas, math problems, events, or stories in small groups to be presented to the class will enhance memory and understanding. Your most boisterous students may turn out to be great hams and liven up and enrich learning for everyone.
Challenge of the Week
Be mindful of those little spur of the moment changes you make to your lesson presentations that enhance teaching and learning in your classroom. Select one day of the week and mentally keep tabs on how often you adjust to your students’ responses to learning.
Blessings and Prayerful Teaching,
Elizabeth A. Wink