Monday, October 1, 2012

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How To Get On Board With Historical Fiction in Your Classroom?

Hissing steam pours over a train car as a war-weary soldier in a faded Union blue uniform bids his girl a tearful goodbye; the train slowly pulls away taking the young man to the coming massacre at Antietam. At the Versailles palace, jewels from a nervous young queen's elaborate gown scatter light around a room full of onlookers. Horse-drawn carriages clomp over cobblestone streets of 18th century London as icy sheets of rain crash around young children shivering outside a factory.

The American Civil War lasted from 1861-1865 and resulted in 620,000 deaths. Marie Antoinette was married on May 16, 1770 at Versailles. Child labor flourished in the United Kingdom during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Which of these sentences captured your attention? Which provides an image that will interest students? The first paragraph contains sentences from historical fiction. The second shows the types of sentences in a historical text.

Historical fiction is an entertaining and, more importantly, effective educational genre that can be used to great effect in social studies classrooms. When most students become adults, they'll glean their knowledge about history from historical fiction in both books and film. Social studies teachers who take advantage of this fact and teach students how to evaluate historical fiction will be helping students attain skills to use for a lifetime.

Incorporating historical fiction into the social studies classroom is easy. Books and films exist for nearly every historical topic imaginable. Whether the class is studying the Suffragists, World War II, or the Dalai Lama, teachers can captivate students with historical fiction. Use novels to bring specific events to life, or finish a unit with a historical fiction film. Worksheets for historical fiction leads students to analyze the work from the perspectives of both history and fiction. The can show how the genre uses the elements and devices of fiction, drama, and cinema.

Have students compare the realities of the era or the event being studied with the fictionalized version. What was accurate? What wasn't? This can be done by students working alone or in groups, in-class or as homework, as a writing or as a creative project culminating in a class presentation.

By teaching students that books and films are never the final word on any situation, teachers will be giving students one of the most important life skills around: a critical eye. By requiring students in middle school or high school to use a scholarly approach for analyzing historical fiction, teachers will give their students the skills needed to become an engaged and interested learner.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Planning an Effective Lesson

As an ORDIT registered driving instructor trainer for one of the driving schools in Nottingham I regularly teach prospective driving instructors how best to teach learner drivers. This series of articles is written for driving instructors who wish to improve their teaching performance and also for trainee instructors who are preparing for the part 3 examination of instructional ability. In this article we will look at planning an effective lesson.

As a driving instructor it is essential that lessons are properly planned in order to make the best use of available time and ensure that the pupil is making their way through the syllabus thoroughly. It is helpful for trainee instructors to write out a lesson plan using bullet points to make sure all main elements of the subject are covered. This can be secured to the dashboard for easy reference.

If this is your first lesson with a pupil make sure you greet them and check their provisional driving licence. If they don't have one then you are not insured so don't forget to check. Ask if they are nervous and try to put them at ease by discussing any issues they may have, make eye contact with the pupil and be upbeat. Let them know that it isn't unusual to be nervous on a first driving lesson.

It is important to state the aims and objectives for the lesson. Make sure they are realistic and within the pupil's ability. A more experienced pupil will require greater challenge so make sure there is a thorough recap of the last lesson to set the benchmark for the current lesson. If no aims and objectives are stated then the pupil may regard the lesson as just driving about and wasting time. Make sure the pupil is focused on something specific.

If the lesson is about a new topic then a briefing will be required. Make sure the brief is reasonably short as pupils are usually keen to get on the move. All important elements of the topic should be covered with a few questions thrown in to make sure the pupil is involved and that the information you give is understood. Visual aids and diagrams are particularly helpful during briefings.

Once on the move it is important to select a route which matches the abilities of the pupil and gives opportunities to cover the topic discussed in the brief. If you are teaching roundabouts then head for where the roundabouts are. Avoid routes that are too busy or complex but also avoid ones that are too simple for experienced pupils. This requires a good amount of forward thinking by the instructor. On route make sure the main topic is covered as much as possible but be flexible enough to change the focus of the lesson if the pupil is having difficulties in areas previously covered.

At the end of the lesson give a thorough debrief with plenty of pupil involvement. The debrief is the part that the pupil takes away with them and judges the success of the lesson by. If they have done well give plenty of positive feedback, If they have difficulties then make sure these are discussed in a positive light. Nobody wants to leave a driving lesson feeling down about it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How Educating Young Minds?

Some people enter college knowing exactly what they want to study, while others are at a loss. If you fit into the second category, the best way to decide is to look at what you love the most. Perhaps you adore kids and your favorite job in high school was babysitting, but you want to go on a different, more involved path. In that case, you should look into an early education degree.

The subjects themselves in early education are not particularly difficult. There may need to be some revisiting to exactly what went on in the second grade, but learning style is very important too. How will you react to students? How will you relate the things you teach them so that they better understand? This is the first time children venture to create things such as sentences and stories, so they will need the most guidance here.

The first few years of school are a wave of new material and practices. Not only do children have subjects to learn, but they also need to learn how to learn. Developmental strategies are covered in courses for the early education degree. You will end up taking one class for each subject you would teach, such as "Teaching Mathematics."

Parents have probably started this process already with their children using instructional toys and practice. However, these children must also get used to learning in a shared environment, and teachers must understand how to help the transition. For a child, even something as basic as raising his or her hand could be difficult to comprehend and do on a regular basis. Children must also learn what it means to have structured days in the classroom and be exposed to a lot of material in one day.

Development is most important at this stage of a child's life. If children do not get comfortable with a certain learning style that works for them they could get left behind. If they are unable to work in a classroom with other kids, they could need individual help. This is why it is incredibly important to ensure the growth of every child.

The classroom is such a strange introduction for children because of the educational as well as the social aspects. Suddenly children are able to see their friends every day, all day, and must listen to the instructions of teacher instead of their parents. This could lead to more distractions that would hinder their development.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Teaching English in India

India is a country of many religions and beliefs. It is one of the most majestic countries of this world. There are many languages that are spoken in this part of the world like Hindi, English, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi etc. People who have a good knowledge of English are treated with utmost respect in India. The demand for English speaking persons is increasing day by day. The demand is due to the mushroom growth of many multinational companies.

If you have a passion for teaching abroad then India is the place where you should explore the teaching opportunities. There are plenty of teaching opportunities available in India and for most of these; a TEFL certificate is a must. TESOL or TEFL Certification Course is a Three week intensive onsite initial Teacher training course. This is a widely popular course which would equip you with all the necessary education to handle the responsibilities of a teaching job abroad. If you love teaching, love to mix with people of different religions then India is the place for you.

English teachers are in great demand in India and people treat the teachers with a lot of respect. Besides getting a job in the government sector, qualified EFL teachers can get a job with the help of various voluntary placement agencies. To get a good job, one must have a degree in the field of education or a good deal of teaching experience, as well as a TEFL or similar certificate is usually necessary.

TEFL certificate holders can get a good salary depending on the kind of experience he/she possesses. Several schools offer furnished accommodation to the qualified persons. There are usually 6 working days in a week so if you planning to come to India then be prepared to teach for six days a week.

If you are not in a mood to get a permanent job then there are several contractual job opportunities which you can find with the help of the placement agencies in India. Time period of the contract can extend up to 1 year or more. A minimum experience of two years or more is required in most of the cases.

The working conditions in India are good and you can be placed mostly in the rural areas or villages. The wonderful scenery of Indian villages, its mesmerizing culture and friendly people will make your stay here some thing to remember all your life. The best thing you will find in India is the Indian food. India is famous for its spices and as a result Indian food is prepared with lots of spices and tasted spicy and delicious. Besides you can enjoy a wide variety of foods. Indians have a great culture and while living in India, you can be a part of the important Indian festivals like Holi, Diwali, Id, Dusshera, Christmas etc.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaching English As a Second Language to Adults

If you will be working with adult learners of English, start by assessing their needs. Many English as a Second Language students know what they want to learn. At the beginning their needs will most likely be "survival" phrases (i.e. Where is the bathroom? How much does it cost? Traffic sign reading.). Then they will need basic functional English for filling out job applications, getting medical care, and signing their child up for school.

Ask your students to identify what they want to learn by using any of the following methods or a combination of them.

1. Have the students look through their textbook or picture dictionary and place Post It Notes on five pages with the information they think is most important. 
2. Have students check off things they want to learn on a pictorial list depicting different activities (grocery shopping, reading a note from school, filling out a driver's license application, job applications, etc). 
3. Show students a pictorial strip illustrating three reasons why Antonio wants to learn English; then brainstorm with the class and substitute their reasons for learning English.

This gives the students a voice in their instruction and makes the content relevant to their lives. It also gives you a chance to evaluate what skills your students have already and what they need to strengthen.

Once you know what your students hope to achieve, use the principles of adult learning. Adults are problem solvers, self-directed, and disciplined. They already know how to think and they know how to learn new things. They will want to know why something needs to be learned and that it is applicable to their life.

Language tasks involve integrating the four language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Plan your classroom time such that all four skills are used in every class session. Learners find this engaging approach reinforces each skill. Include field trips to give your students a chance to practice with you close at hand for assistance. Visit a museum, grocery store, post office, restaurant, or library.

There are a number of classroom activities which provide useful practice prior to class outings. Try an assortment of these activities to stimulate interest and discussions.

Dialogues associated with key activities. Start with simple scripted three-line dialogues.


I would like a hamburger, please. 
With pickles? 
Yes, thank you.

Next, have students substitute vocabulary in the dialogue, on cloze worksheets, during role play, or dictations. For more information on cloze worksheets and how to use them, see my article titled "Cloze Worksheets - What They Are and How to Make Them".

Build Vocabulary. Practice vocabulary with flash cards, concentration games, labeling, vocabulary journals, picture dictionaries, and bingo activities. Homework exercises can include other word games. Word searches build word recognition and standard letter pattern recognition. Crossword puzzles match definitions to words.

Class Surveys. Class surveys involve students questioning their fellow students and recording the information on a form. Questions can be of this type, "What is your last name?", "Where do you live?", "What month were you born?" Or students can be directed to find someone who likes ice cream or who comes from South Korea. In this case, students must ask class members questions in the form "Do you like ice cream?" or "Do you come from South Korea?" Answers can be collected and presented on a graph or list as appropriate. Lists can be alphabetized.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Virtual Learning Environments In Primary Schools

Although the idea of having Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) has been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years, the actual use of VLEs in many educational institutions, especially primary schools, has not really taken off. Ofsted blames a black of enthusiasm and peer support from teachers and learners for the lack of development on VLE initiatives, but there may be a wider issue to contend with, especially when it comes to how few primary schools have adopted VLEs as part of their everyday management.

VLEs are designed to allow learners and staff to access a wide variety of learning materials through specially designed computer systems. Resources commonly found on VLEs, especially in university and college environments, include notes and handouts, practice tests or exams, PowerPoint presentations, video clips and links to useful websites.

Ofsted's report on VLEs found that they were still a relatively new concept which represented only a very small (and in many cases non-existent) aspect of learning. Colleges and universities were found to be making the most use of VLEs, while primary schools were lagging furthest behind.

The main problem in primary schools is the lack of a so-called "technology champion" - normally a key staff member who gets to grips with the idea, sees the benefits and works to help colleagues do the same in order to get whatever it is adopted in the school.

Most VLEs are designed for use by secondary or higher education institutes, with large amounts of storage, complex timetabling systems and a relatively streamlined appearance. This makes "off the shelf" VLE solutions eminently unsuitable for primary schools. Aside from the fact that most VLEs are priced out of the range of the average primary school due to the extensive features and storage (essential for secondary and higher education, but unwanted price padding for primary), their interfaces and functionality are fundamentally unusable by 4-11-year-olds. What use is a VLE which the pupils cannot access?

A primary school teacher does not want to add VLE updates to his or her already extensive workload. Who wants to enter a big list of marks twice? The mark of a proper primary school VLE is that it should simplify the job of the teacher while being easily accessible to pupils and parents. Big buttons, colourful graphics and easy-to-understand instructions are needed for younger students. Simple and easy administration which reduces workload rather than increasing it is needed for teachers and school admin staff.

Consider a primary school teacher, Miss Thompson, with a class of thirty pupils. Each time she wants to set homework for them, even a simple task like practicing spelling, Miss Thompson has to photocopy thirty task sheets, pin them into thirty homework books, and then later trudge through twenty-nine or twenty-eight returns books to see who has failed to return their work.

Most VLEs will then also require poor Miss Thompson to log in and do electronically the same thing she just did by hand in order to keep the admin system up to date. Her workload has been increased, if not doubled, by the new technology, so she is quite justified in not being a big fan of it! What's worse is that none of her pupils or their parents bother looking at the VLE because it is far too complicated and looks like it was designed for a university, what with all the greyed-out buttons marked "timetable" and "practice exams."

Now let's compare Miss Thompson's experience with a different VLE, which is not an adapted or trimmed down version of something originally made for secondary education or universities and colleges. This is a primary school VLE, designed and built carefully from the ground up to meet the needs of primary school pupils, teachers and parents.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Can You Teach Your Toddler to Read? Should You?

At four years old I was primed and ready for the world of academia. I loved books - an inheritance from my wonderfully bookish Mom. I knew enough of the letters to write my OWN name on the Library Card Application! And, well, I had new shoes. What more does a lil lady need? Kindergarten was going to be my oyster.

But no! Day ONE! There he was... "Kebin" could read! He was trotted up to the front of the room, every two seconds it seemed, to read the 'small print' for the class. Boy, oh BOY, that burned me up! It still does all these years later.

The fact of the matter is that old 'Kebin' had older brothers, and during the previous year, while the younger brother had been laid up for quite some weeks, parents and older brothers had read to him. Kev was a bright toddler with few distractions, so he paid attention. Once the family realized he was getting it, they worked in earnest. By the time September arrived, Kev was reading fluently at a 2nd or 3rd grade level.

Kev was never bored. It seemed to me that every day there was something he read. He 'always' got to hold the pointer as the class worked its way through Spot and Puff. We went to Catholic School, so there were prayers and stories of the saints to read, and Kev 'always' got to do it. He was the one appointed to the "Task of Honor" - opening the classroom door and politely greeting visitors. Every time he said, "Good Afternoon and Welcome," I'd cringe.

I was so jealous my fingernails must have turned green! I indignantly demanded to know why I hadn't gotten sick so they would have been forced to teach ME to read. Mom fed my angry insistence on learning right NOW. She got out the books, the pencils and the paper and set about to teach me. By Halloween I'd caught up - and could handle those letters and words as well as Kev.

To tell the truth, in the thirteen years Kevin and I went to school together I never DID get a clear lead on him academically. None of us did. Heaven KNOWS we tried! He was a good, conscientious student [who got the lead in the play EVERY year, the bum!], and now he is a busy lawyer, a good Dad and still a great friend.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jobs Teaching English Overseas

obs teaching English overseas are plentiful for college graduates with a TESOL certificate. TESOL is an abbreviation of Teaching English to Speaker of Other Languages.

The highest paying jobs are university jobs and go to the people with some teaching experience and a teaching degree. However, there are plenty of jobs for those with a bachelor's degree and a TESOL certificate. There are even some jobs where only a TESOL certificate will suffice.The best jobs are given to teachers with experience and a teaching certification, however there are many good jobs which do not require teaching certification if a TESOL certificate is obtained. The preferred age is between 20 and 30 although 50 years is not too old. Many countries expect you to retire in your 60's so it is harder to get a job at this age. Some countries prefer women to teach young children, but again gender is not always a factor. A country which pays well and has a great demand for teachers is China.

There are government schools, private schools, language schools and corporate training classes in most countries with jobs teaching English overseas. The government schools do not pay as well as the private schools, but the jobs are easier to get. Asia is known for paying higher salaries, but sometimes the cost of living is also higher there than other places.

The schools which provide TESOL certification often can help with job search as well as work visas and other requirements for getting in the country. It is important to research the requirements for a work visa; most countries require a bachelor's degree, although in countries where there is a great demand, this may not be a requirement. There are a few places which do not require a bachelor's degree for jobs teaching English overseas, however, most of the desirable employers will.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Guide On Teaching English Abroad

All over the globe, there is a great demand for people who can teach English as a second language. Many individuals have experienced the benefits of teaching English in an overseas country. The advantages of helping other people gain knowledge of the English language at the same time as immersing yourself in another country's life| will make any uneasiness you may feel concerning packing up and flying to a different country quickly fade away.

One of the greatest aspects to living as well as teaching English abroad is the level of experiences and observations you will benefit from as you learn from another vibrant culture. Spending time with the local people along with learning about their history, culture, in addition to the traditions, is the most effective way to experience a culture and its people. The knowledge you will acquire is enormous. You will be taking part in every day local events which will involve interacting with locals and you will shop, tour the country, and see all of the sights. As well, you will gain knowledge about how people live, work, and play. You will also be exposed local and national celebrations, holidays, art and culture, artisans, festivals, and more. You will also be able to taste the local cuisine. Teaching English overseas is a terrific way to have fun and learn about another culture.

Another great benefit of teaching overseas is earning an income while living in a foreign land. English teachers will often teach in the mornings or afternoons and the other part of the day is theirs to do what they want. There is time take in all of the local activities and attractions. Traveling and teaching in another country will allow you to meet people from all over the world. The teachers you meet will become great friends that you keep in contact with for a long time. Experiencing new countries and their people will result in great personal growth. You will appreciate other cultures and their traditions and you become a more rounded individual with more confidence and skills. You will overcome any challenges and learn new skills which will look great on a resume. English language teachers feel proud as they observe their students learning the English language. It is a personally rewarding experience to assist others in learning the English language.

It is not a difficult task to become an English language teacher in a foreign country. Teaching English as a Second Language Certificate (TESL) is required but you do not always need a university degree although it will help you get a better teaching job. TEFL/TESL certification courses and programs are available. Teaching English abroad is a fantastic way to make money while living in a foreign country. Paid teaching positions allow you to earn an income while seeing the world. Teaching the English language in a foreign country is a rewarding career that is definitely worth exploring. When you teach English abroad you will make a lifetime of great memories.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Achieve Gratification With Educational Toys

Are you gratified with the way your child is learning things and gaining education? Well the parents' gratification is really important. Parents are the one who work for whole day long and even in nights to give their children the best education. But you know what there are many other ways including the books as well that help your child in seeking education. That includes the toys. Education toys are such toys that help children in understanding the educational concepts in a much better way.

It is all about providing your children with the best procedures and proper planning should be made. The children should develop more interest in education rather considering it as a burden. And this aim can be achieved if studies are accompanied with the Education toys. Substantial results can be gained and by the help of toys children's interest level will surely increase. As they wish to play, they will also wish to clear their concepts and in knowing what they actually do not know. Knowledge is power and we all know that. Education toys help in getting such power in a short span of time. Education toys act as a convenient way. When the children will play with the toys this way they will be able to study as well. So, Education toys as an important tool have made it feasible for combining studies with playing. So, playing and studies can be done together simultaneously if the access is given to the toys. Incessant progress in studies is achieved when the Education toys are used for enhancing the incentive. The efficacy lies with the toys. Without playing the life becomes insipid.

This time, when you buy Education toys for your kids then you will not have to stop your children from playing and they will be studying. Children do not have to sit for long studying the books. This can really make them bore and ultimately they will not be able to concentrate more on studies. Toys can help developing the concepts and parents can attain the state of gratification. Education toys actually form an amazing nexus between the books and the kids and this nexus is really useful and in fact helpful. Playing with these toys can never leave one in pandemonium. The parents can get relaxation. Some of such toys are dainty.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Ways After School Programs Can Benefit Moms And Dads And Children

There are countless reasons for registering one's boy or girl in after school programs, and one of those reasons is to keep their boy or girl active while they, the mom or dads, are working. Today, father or mothers seem to be working harder and a lot longer than they ever did, and not just one mother or father, but both. On the plus side, after school programs are accessible to help keep their youngsters busy while the dad or moms are not at home. Also, dad or moms can not coordinate their routine with the timetables of their youngsters. Whatever reason preventing the parents from being with their youngsters, after school programs are accessible to fill in the gap left open between mom or dad and child schedules.

At times in a boy or girl's life, there is a big opportunity for boys or girls to get into trouble when they're not kept busy or monitored; after school programs help minimize this trouble before it commences through a variety of monitored programs.

A very critical reason to think about after school programs for your youngsters is that is has a dramatic effect on a their self-worth. Being part of a team or group making an effort toward a common goal has an exceptional positive effect on anyone including youngsters. A boy or girl can feel wanted, and important partaking in an after school activity that involves working together and thus generate self-assurance and a sense of worth.

Sports teams have been the most popular type for quite some time now. With this type of program, a youngster is part of a group that competes in games against other groups in the area such as baseball, hockey, and soccer, as an example. Here again, we can see how these activities help youngsters learn cooperation with other youngsters.

Clubs are another type of program where boys or girls can become involved in after their last class has ended for the day. After school programs that are club oriented are: debating clubs, chess clubs, photography clubs and more. Many boys or girls shy away from sports, and this after school club program might be the best alternative for the child. These types of after school programs are more individual oriented and emphasize the child's intellect.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Education Degree Can Lead

There are many reasons why choosing to pursue your undergraduate degree in education is a great idea. If you like the idea of working with school aged kids, then this may be a great option. There are many different education areas in which you can earn your degree in as well.

One reason that entering into an education program is a great option is that you get to work with kids. Kids are our future leaders, and being able to shape their lives is an awe inspiring task. If you enjoy being able to show children the joy of learning and becoming scholars, then this is a great way to do so. Kids, while hard work, are also a joy to be around. Being able to be a supporting role in their educational experience is wonderful.

As an educator, part of your job is to enrich the lives of others. This can be done through a variety of methods and techniques, but it is an important factor. If this is something you can envision yourself doing, then an undergraduate degree in education is something that will serve you well.

If you love to teach new things to people and are good at it, then an education degree is right up your ally. In order to be effective in the field, you need to be able to teach and like teaching. If you are not interested in teaching others how to do things, then this is probably not the right profession for you. It is also essential that you understand how to adapt your teaching skills in order to reach your audience of students.

One of the best things about working as an educator is the ability to form relationships with your co-workers. Being able to share ideas with other teachers is a great way to enhance your skills and enables you to try teaching methods that you may not have otherwise ventured to do. Other teachers are a valuable resource on how to deal with difficult students and how to balance your work-life dynamic as well.

When you enter into the realm of education, you also are able to interact with parents. Being able to understand where your students come from and what their parents are like gives you valuable insight into their world and why they have certain behaviors. Most parents want their children to have the best education as possible and are willing to work with teachers in order to ensure that their children are successful in all aspects of school.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Youth Sunday School Curriculum Where To Start

Gone are the days where your youth Sunday school curriculum is chosen and purchased by a head pastor or education minister. More and more this responsibility is now falling on you, the student pastor. This can be an overwhelming task, especially if you have never done it before. That is why in this article I want to give you a few specific steps that can help you find the right curriculum for your student ministry.

The number one thing that you can do to help yourself in this process is to pray. While this is a very practical task, the end result should be very spiritual. More than likely this is going to be one of your students' primary connections to scripture in the coming semester or year. Therefore you want to make a wise choice. When we do things on our own we fell because often our judgment is clouded by a wide range of issues and factors. Therefore you need to pray. You need to ask for direction. You need to ask for clear thoughts. You need to ask God to slam doors shut if you are about to make a wrong decision. You also need to pray over your students who are going to be studying this curriculum. We can never pray enough and we must begin everything we do with this step.

Next, you need to do an online search. Bookstores are great, but the world is changing and they more than likely need to be your second stop in the shopping process. This is not because they are inferior but the Internet can save you time, which is a precious resource for all of us, and can give you a great opportunity to compare products and reviews that a bookstore experience cannot. Do not get me wrong. I love bookstores. But in this process you need to trust me and begin your journey in this process online. A simple search for youth Sunday school curriculum will give you a wealth of resources to begin to choose from and many of them will be far cheaper than they would be in bookstores.

Finally, you need to ask others who have been buying curriculum packages a lot longer than you have. It is always helpful to gain from the experience of others, especially in this process. So, if you can, ask the person at your church who purchased the curriculum before you what they bought and how they went about the search process. Ask fellow student pastors in your community what they use. Use connections on social networking to ask others. Call or email a mentor if you are fortunate enough to have one. Either way look for a way to improve your knowledge by learning from the experience of others.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Youth Sunday School Curriculum Teaching Styles

As you look for youth Sunday school curriculum you will find that there are two main teaching styles. These are the master teacher format and the small group format. If you are new to the curriculum world this insider lingo can be confusing and a little misleading. That is why in this article I want to clear up what these two phrases mean and show you that they are not that complicated. They merely describe two ways to teach curriculum.

The first phrase that you will come across more often than not these days is the master teacher format. This phrase can be intimidating when you think about the pressure of having to be a master teacher. But it does not mean that you have to be a master. What it means is that you will start in a large group format with your entire student ministry together. This could also be just your middle school or just your high school ministry depending on how you divide your ministry. While in this setting you have a single teacher, that for some reason is called the master teacher, that relays all or a portion of the curriculum to your students. Then after 15-30 minutes the students will be broken up into small groups. These groups are usually divided by age and gender but how you divide them is completely up to you. In these small groups your students will either go over more of the curriculum or more than likely they will go through some small group discussion questions.

The second style of youth Sunday school curriculum you will see is written in the small group format. This type of curriculum is for your traditional Sunday school format. In this format your students start out broken up into small groups, again by whatever criteria you prefer to divide them by, and then they stay in that group with their teacher the entire lesson. This style will have a mixture of teaching and discussion and is what most churches have used for years and many continue to use.

There is not really a style that is best. It really comes down to your needs and what your church is used to. For example, if your church has traditionally used the small group format it may not be worth rocking the boat and changing to the master teacher format. Not to mention that the master teacher format can involved finding more leaders and some of your long time teachers may not like just leading small group discussion. On the other hand the master teacher format is nice if you struggle to find people who truly love to teach and are gifted in it, but you have more than enough people ready to simply love on and build relationships with students. Ideally, a very good youth Sunday school curriculum will be formatted in such a way to give you flexibility to go back and forth between both options. This way you can adjust as you have need.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Youth Sunday School Curriculum

In finding youth Sunday school curriculum, many people are unsure of what they should get. By saying this I am not dealing with the idea of choosing between publishers but instead with knowing what is included in a good curriculum package. In this article I will help guide you into developing a good checklist of what to expect in any good Sunday school package.

The number one thing you should look for are bible study lessons. This is a given but I add it into our checklist because I want you to know that this is the number one priority. There are a lot of other factors to consider but the number one thing that will make or break the youth sunday school curriculum that you choose is the quality of the bible study lessons it contains. Deciding the quality depends on the needs of your students, there level educationally and spiritually, and the direction you believe your student ministry needs to head in. Deciding those factors is up to you so take some time and put some thought into this portion of the process. Another decision that is up to you is how long the study should be. You can find a bunch of four and five week studies and piece them together but I suggest trying to find an eighteen week curriculum. This will allow you to cover a full semester, give your semester continuity, and save you a lot of time and work.

The next thing you want to look for in a youth Sunday school curriculum is commentary. Your leaders, regardless of their knowledge, will need some commentary and biblical background to prepare to teach the lessons. A good curriculum package will include this with each lesson. This is important because the majority of your leaders do not have a resource library and you do not have time to write commentary for them each and every week. Some studies will make this a separate section within the lesson but ideally it will flow nicely throughout each lesson for easier study and communication of truth.

Finally, as you choose your youth Sunday school curriculum you want to see if your package includes discipleship materials. Your students' spiritual growth does not end on Sunday mornings so you need some materials to help them grow throughout the week. Why not get these included into something you are already buying and, as a bonus, that align with what your students are already studying. There are two ways this can happen. Some studies include daily devotionals with each lesson. Others will have extra material in the lesson that you will not have time to cover. This is often done intentionally so your students can take that extra stuff and go dig into the word on their own throughout the week. Regardless of the format, look for a package that includes ways for your students to grow in their faith beyond their Sunday morning small groups.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why Supplemental Curriculum Helps Teachers?

In order to help students learn and achieve academic success, it's important for teachers and tutors alike to have the best supplemental curriculum resources available. These resources have proven to be a helpful resource for teachers and an even better resource for students. The benefits to using supplemental material are endless, but the following are four major reasons why it helps teachers.

Building Skills. Combining the regular curriculum with a supplemental curriculum can help teachers better engage with their students while helping students build skills they otherwise wouldn't have been able to cultivate. In addition, supplemental curriculum provides multiple options for formative assessment and different ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge.

Supporting current Instruction. A superior education is one that addresses the social, intellectual, emotional, and physical needs of various learners. However, meeting the goal of providing quality education to every student is not an easy task. Many children come to school with various backgrounds and needs. As the student population's diversity increases, so do the challenges teachers face to be receptive to all students. For students that may need a little extra instruction, utilizing supplemental curriculum is the perfect solution. It gives the teacher extra instructions to support the needs of those students that require a little more guidance than others.

Enhancing Existing Curricula. Supplemental curriculum helps to fill gaps and enhance the effectiveness of the teacher's existing curricula. While the original lesson plans may be exceptional, having supplemental curriculum will only make it that much better. It is specifically designed to help teachers better assess general education content and encourages students to meet the standards and benchmarks that apply to all students. Not to mention, it helps support teachers' lesson plans and provides educational resources to help teachers improve class participation.

Raising Test Scores. Superior supplemental curriculum can help dramatically increase student's test scores. It not only helps provide a review of the basic skills taught by the teacher, but it also offers complete and precise review of lessons taught by subject and question type. Some supplemental curriculum materials even have practice tests that help the teacher better explain correct answers.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Why Teaching Character Must Start Early?

It's never too early to begin teaching children how to become caring, confident and respectful of those around them. While parents are, of course, a child's first teacher when it comes to lessons about character, it's also important for teachers to reinforce those lessons at school. When kids see their most influential role models showing respect, kindness and other positive traits, they gain strong values as a result.

Positive Learning Environment
Teaching character in schools creates a happy, safe classroom environment which in turn promotes a positive learning experience. Instead of spending countless hours handling adolescent problems, the teachers have more time to focus on teaching and the students have more time to focus on learning. This will not only foster a sense of success for the students academically, but it will also improve their confidence socially.

Comprehensive Approach
The objective of character education is not to overtake the parents' role in teaching values. Rather, further emphasize core values such as respect, civic awareness, fairness and justice, and responsibility for self and others. The responsibility to teach our students about character should be shared among parents, teachers, and members of the community. This combined effort helps to teach children how to live and work together as students, friends, family and neighbors, and highlights the importance of being a contribution to our nation and the world.

For most schools, this type of character education should be developed using a comprehensive approach that offers multiple ways for kids to understand character. The following are three goals that schools should concentrate on in order to effectively implement character education into their classrooms:

- Gather ideas and develop a strategy. When formulating a character development program, it's best to include staff, parents, students, and any members of the community that are interested. This partnership is crucial not just because it brings more well-rounded ideas to the table, but it also sends a consistent message to the students from all the people involved in their lives.

- Provide students with positive role models. Teachers must lead by example and integrate character education into every aspect of their teaching.

- Consistency and commitment are key. Everyone involved in planning and executing a character education program must work together to help maintain character education as a fundamental part of all educational plans.