Working with Elementary School aged children can be a challenge, especially when trying to get the class to follow directions. Depending upon the age of the children, directions need to be simplified to the level of the student. The youngest students should have simple one step directions, then as they grow more comfortable, add on multiple directions in a logical manner. On the internet are multiple sites to assist with activities related to following directions.
Learning how to follow directions can be fun as well as educational. Start with the game “Simon Says” This game will show the children how to listen and follow directions. As each one misses, have them step out of the game until only one remains. Discuss how following exactly what was said is important to following the directions. It is important to watch and listen to know what the next step should be. Children enjoy this game and it will get them up and moving and ready to settle down and listen to the next exercise.
Another good way to get children to learn how to follow directions is to have them draw a picture as you each step is described. This is one example. You can have the children follow these directions on the computer and if the directions are followed correctly, the result will be a snowman.
The best plan is to have the teacher make up directions and the entire class can work together. This is a good way to see if everyone is paying attention, especially, if each student has a different result. Start with each student having a clean piece of paper and a writing utensil; pencil, pen, crayon or marker.
Step Number One: Have students put their names on the top right hand corner of the page. If the students are very young, you may have to show them where this is located on a sample page.
Remaining Steps: Teacher creates a simple picture and then outlines the steps needed to complete. Make the picture one that all students can relate to and is simple to draw. The snowman is a good example, however, you can also make a house, a truck or other simple shapes. Use a coloring book for ideas. Have the students make circles, squares and triangles to make a picture, step by step. Each step should give the size and shape and location on the page in relation to the other shapes. If the students are listening and carefully following the directions, they will have a good result. If they rush to finish it without paying attention to the directions, their picture will not look like the rest. This is a good lesson in following directions and will clearly demonstrate those who are not paying attention.
Learning to follow directions is a good lesson for students to accomplish what is needed in their daily lives and to become successful in the future. Students who are able to follow directions will also experience less frustration and be better prepared to face each day and do their schoolwork.