Little Hints and Tips from a Teacher's Perspective!

by Carolyn McBee

1. Talk with the homeroom teacher about any signals he/she uses to get the students' attention (lights, bells, whistles, clicks, snaps, claps, songs). Using an already established signal will help you transition from each activity, slide, or instruction.

2. Wait until the room is quiet to speak. To wait a full minute is far more effective than raising your voice, talking over the students' voices, or waiting for the teacher to help. (Oh and thanks for being on time!)

3. When introducing the subject, avoid standing in front of your visual aids (posters, flip charts, etc). Involve kids in your presentation by having them read the charts or posters.

4. When showing slides, avoid belaboring each one (I've done this myself) because you love it. Focus on just a few for this full-technique.

5. We know there's a great deal of "homework" for you... please read through, highlight the key points in your script so you don't have to read every line. There's nothing more sleep-inducing than listening to someone just read off of the paper all the information. Knowing your material is essential.

6. To involve ALL students is tricky. Ask a question then have them tell their table groups, a neighbor, or a desk partner what they think. Then have ONE person from each table group share their thoughts. Use hands on head...thumbs up for agreement, other body signals that are quiet but active.

7. Vary the ways in which you have them answer questions. If they always raise hands, you'll get the same children over and over. Give them color-coded pieces of paper (say green for yes, red for no) and have them hold up the paper instead of a verbal response.

8. Try another idea: Have them stand up in the middle of the slide presentation and move over an entire table group or two to get a different perspective on the slides. Talk with the teacher ahead of time-maybe they already have a signal or a way to move that is efficient and easy. This helps the wiggles... especially on a hot day in the classroom!

9. With the hands-on projects it always helps to break down the steps and have the steps listed, posted, or shown. Then the children who have specials needs, get frustrated easily, the perfectionists, the reluctant artists, the slowpokes, can work at their own pace while having the directions handy to refer to when they are lost or perceive themselves to be behind.

10. Please tell the teacher if you are going to mount, label and display the childrens' work for him/her. It helps us plan ahead for bulletin board space.

11. Have fun! We're thrilled you have volunteered to help us in this way. You are the experts... you have the knowledge about the artists. Some of us are learning right along with the children. Sometimes we have posters, calendars, and helpful tools to aid you... just ask.