Sharing just a few ideas/strategies that I have picked up over the last few years and that have made a positive difference to my teaching.
1. Greeting students at the door
Probably one of the best strategies I have learnt so far. Doing this has allowed me to greet each student as they enter, checking if they are ok (verbally and/or visually), ensuring they have everything needed for lesson, setting the atmosphere, monitoring and guiding the inflow of students into the room or space.
2. Setting expectations
I come from an outdoor ed background and incorporate a version of a group contract with each of my classes. They can be simple verbal agreements or written, and have students (and the teacher) set expectations for behaviour, learning, respect for equipment self and others, and any other aspects valued by a particular class.
3. Explicit learning intentions
I believe students should know what they are going to cover in a lesson and know how they can demonstrate that they have understood and can apply what they are learning. The last prac placement school I was at did this through explicit Learning Intention and Success Criteria statements, given at the beginning of each lesson. These can be referred to at the beginning and end of the lesson, but also during where you can link with particular steps or conclusions reached.
4. Teach from all over the learning space, not just the front of the classroom
Doing HPE outdoors is usually easy to move around, but the traditional classroom can be a bit more challenging. It is important however to move around to each area of the class, especially to check students progress, help or prompt where needed, and minimise disruptions. Using ICT’s has helped me do this on previous occasions. My presentations, diagrams or workings etc go through my laptop and I step through them using my iPhone. Apart from being the cool teacher who can control his computer with his phone, it enables me to be anywhere I need to be, and progress through the lesson or annotate as I go.
Great for me in HPE, but I have also used them in maths. On one occasion for example I used a categories sorting game, where students move to different locations in the room depending on their response to a question, as a way to introduce gathering and representing data in statistics. Apart from being a bit of fun, it gave students a chance to relax and stretch, and also use some real data that was interesting and relevant to them.
Thanks to everyone for sharing what has been useful to them also on their blogs and the forums – have picked up a few more ideas to try next prac.