If you imagine that coming back to school is hard for teachers, imagine the dilemma for a child. Not only are they to be greeted by an unknown teacher, but they have no idea what to expect in the coming year. Developing a lesson plan for that first day back to school can make the world of difference. Associate this with activities which help give the children the incentive to work, and you have a winning combination. The back to school lesson plan and activities associated with it can make the teaching experience rewarding, and the pupil experience easier.
Developing the plan.
Knowing what the curriculum for the next year is, the teacher should prepare a plan which is flexible to a certain degree. The amount of work achieved within each term should of course be taken into account, though what a teacher cannot anticipate is pupil aptitude. By having a plan which is flexible, this takes much of the stress out of the plan and simplifies it. Draw down what you expect to be covered within the coming term, rather than year, because this allows you to present the children with an exciting overall plan of what to expect.
It’s a great idea to have plans which include activities they can look forward to. Outings and projects which stir their imagination can be presented on your plan, so that children are enthused rather than intimidated by it. Produce a sheet to give to students, but bear in mind their apprehension, and try to make this as informative and student friendly as possible, bearing in mind the age of the children and the level of their education.
Activities to get the children familiar with teaching methods.
In the opening class, activities which help children to see how you work helps them to settle. If you can have a quiz or something which requires interaction between pupil and teacher, you can use this as a tool so that children can see how you respond to their answers. This may take the form of a display where children are encouraged one at a time to think up imaginative answers. Themed to suit the kind of work they are going to do in the next term, this really does help the teacher, but also helps the child as teachers will be able to see strengths and weaknesses and their approach to them is vital in the first days of term. Try to be understanding and flexible, and use the experience to show children that their teacher is sensitive in approach to weakness and appreciative of achievement.
Activities to get the children familiar with each other.
Group projects are ideal for this. Even if the term is started on a less than academic level, what you are doing is teaching them teamwork. Splitting the class up into teams, ask them to find out as much as they can on a given subject. It may be something very simple like information on the town in which they live. Get them to gather information together and produce a newspaper page. Each group will have different ideas. Some will instantly think of elements others won’t, but by getting their heads together to produce an end product helps a teacher to see where strengths and weaknesses lie. More important than this, it also means that children interact with each other, and this helps them to feel more at home in the class.
Overall introduction to the term’s aims.
Introducing this prepared paper should come after all the frivolity of getting to know each other. If this is presented before the children have overcome their shyness, it may come over as intimidating. The sheet you prepared in advance shows them what you will be covering in the next term, and also all the activities associated with it. You can then go over the sheet with the class and encourage questions from students who want more detailed information.
Getting the plan off to a good start.
At the end of the class, assigning some home project a child can start on is a great idea. This should be related to the curriculum and involve a little research. Set a task which isn’t too hard, but one which reinforces the need to learn, and to present results to the teacher in the coming week. This helps them to get used to the discipline of working outside of school hours and producing work on time.
Getting pupil enthusiasm.
After a hard day back at school, a few fun projects and a little serious evaluation of what’s to come, you will be able to see which students are enthused by which projects. This helps the teacher to establish what works with this particular group of children. Even seeing kids interact with each other helps a teacher to spot potential problem areas and to integrate each child, no matter how strong or weak their academic skills, into a routine of producing work and learning.
Back to school doesn’t have to be as traumatic as it sometimes seems, if the teacher has a plan in place for what will be covered in the next term, and introduces that course of education during the first day. This helps children to settle and to get to know each other, as well as allowing the teacher a rich opportunity to get to know the children in their charge. Once this day is over, the rest of the term will be based on a great foundation.