Tuesday, August 14, 2012

10 Tips for teaching in a community centre after school program!

Community Centre programs usually run after school or during the weekends for a length of about 1.5 hours.  My colleague and I came up with a list of essentials to run a successful and engaging program for kids.  We hope it will be useful for those who are starting out or may need a little bit of help!  

10 Tips for Phonics / Math Programs (and other educational programs)...

1. Classroom Management is extremely important and must be incorporated on the first day of class: Create a class expectation chart with your class. Give students a job each class (i.e. attendance, supply handler, etc.). Make sure you are consistent with your classroom procedures and rules that have been created.  

2. Have students create portfolios at the beginning of each season so they can keep their worksheets and other activities to take home on the last day of class.

3. Create some backup plans in case your original plan doesn't turn out. For example, you might want to keep an extra educational game or a backup lesson in your instructor bin.

4. Try not to give out too many worksheets each class because children will lose interest. Incorporate educational games and fun activities into each class. There are some good games provided by the center but don't forget to change it up: check the internet every once in a while for other great activities.

5. Keep activities short. Give a short break at midway point to allow for stretching and washroom breaks if needed.

6. If possible, request a volunteer to help out in your classes. They can help you a lot and you can get them to lead some activities while you spend more time with those who need a bit more help. 

7. Check online for the government education curriculum (i.e., BC's Ministry of Education) in order to find out what topics are appropriate for each grade level and subject.

8. Even though you might only see each child once a week, try to create relationships with them by talking to them and telling them about yourself. This will help create trust and therefore, a more respectful and safe environment.

9. Once kids are finished early, always give them a choice for a follow up activity (i.e. to either draw or read).  I usually borrow several books from the library so that they have a variety of options. If you give them a choice then they will have something to do or otherwise they will start walking around and disturbing others. If you find that you have quite a responsible class, it is also useful to have the students who finish early help the other students in the classroom.

10. Overall, have fun and be creative! What works for a class in one season may not necessarily work for the next. 

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