I have already talked about warm up exercises to start the class with Routine Part 2 so let’s move on to the main part of the lesson.
In the main part of the lesson you want to teach new content or revise taught content with your students. You also want to make them be interested in whatever you want to teach them, as it is a proven fact that kids remember things better if they are interested in them. It must be an urban legend that little children can’t be taught more than 5 new words at once. Personally, I believe in that children can recall a lot of names, vocabulary if their interest is triggered. You can try them right now.
Ask them how many Pokemons’ names they can tell you. Record their answers and be surprised. The big question is, how to make them be interested. You can try various activities with them. In some lessons you find it that children want to switch activities often. Other classes they are happy to carry on with one particular activity. Let’s see how we can put it in practice.
The next step of the classroom routine is the main part of the lesson. In this part prepare different activities alternating: whole class activity, group work, pair work or individual tasks to complete.
The main part of the lesson usually starts with introducing new content. For me the first step is always check on previous knowledge. To begin with this activity is quite important as it gives you a general idea on your students’ knowledge which is always a good starting point.
I will give you examples of different activities how to check on previous knowledge.
- As a whole class activity: Ask students directly what they know about the topic. Call whoever puts their hands up and let them explain. Ask various questions to make sure they understand what you want to teach about. Don’t expect them to know everything and don’t expect them to explain it correctly. You will do it later, anyway. If they know something about the topic and they start to talk about it, don’t interrupt them, let them talk. It is also a good idea to encourage students to talk and assure them that is alright to make mistakes. Don’t build but destroy barriers.
With young children you can use flashcards/photos to check previous knowledge. Put them in different corners of the classroom where everybody is able to see them. Tell kids to find the photo/flashcard you are calling out and point to the direction where they see it. You can variate the activity, make them move towards the cards. Let children walk, jump, hop, crawl to the flashcards. It works really well with small kids. It is good to check previous knowledge and also useful to practice vocabulary.
- As a group activity: Give students a piece of paper and ask them to draw a mind map about the topic you are planning to teach them. On a mind map they have to put every information (considering vocabulary) their group knows about the topic. Different kids have different knowledge so they can help each other to remember or to learn new things. With young children make them draw things they know and introduce vocabulary with these little drawings. Important note: With this activity, be prepared of a lot of noise. Although, it depends on the number of your students. As a group activity they have to talk to each other, compare and discuss their thoughts. Agree where things go on the mind map. Don’t expect them to work quietly, they probably won’t. But obviously you can remind them to talk quietly or whisper otherwise they distract the other groups.
With even smaller kids who are not able to draw the way you would recognize it, use flashcards or photos of things you are willing to teach them (they might not have previous knowledge, anyway).
- As a pair-work activity play word ping-pong with them. To check vocabulary on the theme. After they finished the activity, make sure you put words on the board and make them check correct spelling.
- As an individual task children can do the same mind map they do as a group activity or they can complete a little chart about I know and I want to know.
These are some examples of starting a new topic, a new lesson as part of the classroom routine.
Next thing when you observed and have an idea what your students know about the topic you can start introducing the bits they don’t.
Make the more advanced students talk about their mind maps, list of words... etc they know about the topic, let them teach each other and correct their mistakes wherever needed.
It is a good idea not to interrupt students when they try to express themselves. The most important thing is to let them communicate with or without mistakes. If they are confident enough and not shy to talk then you will have more opportunities to correct them.
When you introduce the new topic, think about children with different learning styles. Give them a chance to explore different ways. Some need to read, others need to listen to texts, watch videos, or move as they learn. Vary your sources, don’t rely only on text books, worksheets or the online internet games.
After you introduced the topic, let them have some individual practice. This is when children can deepen their knowledge.
They can also practice in pairs and discuss their difficulties between them. Make sure that you are there for them if they have any questions they didn’t understand. Don’t let them go home with doubts.
This is basically the core or main part of your lesson.
Only one part left to discuss on. Cool down or the end of the lesson. Which you can find in another post.