I once taught a lesson without using lesson plans and it bombed. I was a 20-year-old undergrad, completing my first teaching practicum, overconfident and oblivious to the importance of having a lesson plan before teaching a lesson. I thought all I needed was an idea of what I wanted to teach, jot down a few notes, and go with the flow. Boy was I wrong!!
I was asked to teach a 45-minute biology lesson to a bunch of advanced twelfth graders. I already felt a bit intimidated since I was literally only two years older than most of them. I started searching for a topic I thought I could master. After about an hour I settled on Mitosis and Meiosis. I was formerly a biology major, so I knew this information like the back of my hand. I studied a little just to refresh my memory. After about 20 minutes of studying and jotting a few things down, I felt ready.
That next afternoon came and it was time to show them what I knew. I stood up before the class feeling a bit nervous but confident. I introduced the topic to the class and asked them to turn their textbooks to the corresponding pages. I started “teaching” my lesson. After about 15 minutes of lecturing, I was done. I told them everything I knew about Mitosis and Meiosis. I looked at the clock and panicked. I had 30 minutes left. My observing teacher looked at me as if she was waiting for what I had planned next. The problem was, I didn’t have a “next”. I was so embarrassed.
So, what does my lesson have to do with being a nanny? Whether teaching high school biology or working on fine motor skills with a toddler, it’s important to take time and plan. Being intentional and organized will help nannies know the best methods to help children grow and advance. Having planned for each day, nannies can assess the best ways to use the available attention span of the children in their care. For toddlers, a lesson plan may be comprised of 5-minute activities that can be completed throughout the day. For fourth-graders, developing a lesson plan may focus on 15-minute activities that help children complete homework or catch up on material they haven’t quite mastered.
Here are a few tips to help Nannies get organized and prepared to academically support children in their care.
- Determine the topic of the lesson. You want to make sure you know exactly what you plan on teaching. You also want to make sure that your topic is not too broad and is age-appropriate.
- Decide what do you want a child to learn. Once you know what you want to teach, you can review different ways to help them understand or practice the skill.
- Define the goals you want the children to accomplish by the end of the lesson. This is where I made my big mistake. I should have planned to check for understanding in the form of a question and answer session, an activity, or through group work.
- Identify what skills could be omitted if you run short on time. If by chance you over plan (which is better than under planning), make sure that you know which skills could be left out of the lesson. This is especially important for younger children who may be over-tired, hungry, or unable to focus, causing you to shorten the lesson.
- List the questions you will ask, or skills will you check to see if the child has learned the information. When teaching baby sign language, it may be as simple as asking the child to demonstrate the hand movement.
- Determine how you will make sure the child is following the lesson. It’s a great idea to check for understanding a few times throughout the lesson. When working one-on-one with a child, this can be accomplished by encouraging the child to complete each step in a sequence. It’s a lot easier to explain a concept during the lesson rather than waiting until the entire lesson is over, especially if the children are completely lost.
Whether working with newborns or helping elementary-aged students with homework, having a lesson plan will help you support the child’s academic success. Daily lesson plans can also help you achieve specific goals and are also great tools to ensure you are providing well-rounded activities. Perhaps Monday’s activities focus on Math, Tuesday’s activities focus on Science, Wednesday’s focus is on spelling and so on. To learn more, a Lesson Planning course is available with enrollment in the Specialist Childcare program at AmsleeInstitute.com.
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