As an educator (or homeschool parent), your main goals is to facilitate effective learning in your classroom environment. While this is not the only area of focus—as you will also strive to create opportunities for socialization/communication, peer relationships, emotional wellness, and self-confidence—solid and organized lesson structure is absolutely pivotal.
But how can you ensure that your lesson structure actually yields positive results?
Here are a few, key components to include:
1. Proper Transitions
If your learners are going to shift from one class or topic to another, or if you are trying to settle down your child at home, you have to find ways to create a learning mindset and atmosphere.
This can be as simple as asking your student(s) to recall what they learned last lesson before diving into something new, or it can be asking them to share one thing they did over the weekend.
The whole point is to give them the opportunity to reset and refocus.
Additionally, you can also give a few little tasks just to get their brains warmed up. Many lesson plans (click here for some plans to get you started!) offer ‘Door Busters,’ ‘Brain Teasers,’ or ‘Bell Ringers’ that are quick and simple starting problems and/or activities to help your student(s) engage and transition more effectively.
2. Models & Demonstrations of Knowledge
Modeling is so important because learning is not just about getting children to retain facts and figures; it’s far better for someone to understand what they are learning (and why).
The most effective learning fosters practical opportunities; for example, seeing and/or trying something hands-on, working with pair groups, or conducting self-led experiments. In these processes, students will not only gain knowledge but confidence, too!
3. The Summary & Incorporation of Key Elements
Towards the end of each lesson, your goal is to determine what needs altering or addressing. One of the best approaches to do this is to incorporate evaluations (self, peer-to-peer, or teacher-student).
If you’re working with a group of learners, for example, they can evaluate their own or each other’s work, and anything that is not clear can be fixed before the end of the session.
It’s also a good idea to review the standards, goals, and focus areas at the end of the class/session so that your students leave the room with a fresh take on where they are, what they’ve learned, and where they’re headed.
In summary, effective learning is about engaging and connecting new synapses. For neuroplasticity to take place, it’s a good rule of thumb to have a moment of silence after learning a new concept to actually allow the brain the opportunity to review and retain the information.
By adding breaks, transitions, models, and summaries to to the structure of your lesson, your learners will be successful, confident, and engaged.