Success in anything depends on whether you can follow directions and instructions independently. Students need to learn from young to follow instructions and directions in all subjects and school-related activities. When they are able to do that, they are on their way to lifelong independent learning. Activities for elementary students on following directions are plentiful on the Internet and in print. It is pertinent to ensure that children know how to read adequately before they are asked to follow written instructions independently. Otherwise their inability to follow directions may be due to their inability to read and comprehend the language rather than understand what to do.
* Following verbal directions
Face to face communication involves lots of verbal directions. Students who are less able in auditory skills will not catch up in their school work with their peer especially in the elementary school. Considering the fact that people remember less than 10% of what they hear, it is pertinent that students learn skills to remember better or skills to jot down notes in paper or electronic form. They will remember more if they are able to connect what they hear to what they already know.
Teachers can play simple fun games like ‘Simon Says’. Teachers can also give a chain of three to five simple instructions at a go, and get their students to perform according to the instructions. Students can demonstrate their ability to follow instructions by performing the actions required, drawing the required or marking an answer on paper.
* Following spatial directions
Spatial skills are lacking in many people, and would best be emphasized in the elementary level. Spatial skills involve directions, reading and doing things to a given object and drawing or reading maps. Students need to know the four directions, namely, North, South, East and West, the in-betweens such as South-West, and prepositions such as above, below, under, up and down.
Going on prescribed walking routes are adventurous and fun. Teachers or older volunteers who have been briefed on the routes can be assigned to follow groups so that they will not go off tangent. For safer routes, teachers can design walks within the school grounds, leaving clues along the route as in a treasure hunt.
* Following written directions
There are plenty of resources for activities on following written directions. Selecting appropriate ones for students requires some attention. Before children can independently follow written directions, they need to be able to read and write independently. Otherwise, teachers will need to verbalize the instructions and help them with spatial directions.
As most written work is based on written directions, teachers need to ensure that their students are familiar with the format of the worksheets and terminology in the written directions before leaving students to complete the work independently.