I teach 3rd grade. It’s my goal to switch activites every 10 minutes, to keep the kids’ attention. I also start out with 5-7 learning objectives for every class that I try to hit from multiple angles. And, I spend 1/4-1/3 of each class with review of prior classes.
I thought I’d use my lesson from today as an example of my teaching style.
Our theme in 3rd grade is the Apostles Creed. When the kids came in, I had the question on the board: Who are the apostles?
I’ve heard that having a question on the board before class actually increases the learning in the class. For beginning 2nd graders, their reading isn’t so great. So, I might modify this by drawing or putting up a poster/illustration with the central theme.
After a very short opening prayer–I use the ejaculations Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you save souls. And, Christ the King, your kingdom come, we start the lesson–beginning with the question on the board.
I try to use a lot of animation in my speech and walk around the room alot. I use a lot of gestures, too.
After a short lecture including lots of questions, we progressed to our game on "Faith. " We had just defined faith as a free (and priceless) gift from God that enables us to believe in God and said that we get this gift first at Baptism.
We did a Bible shout. I wrote a Bible verses dealing with Faith on the board (Heb 1:11), underlining about 5 words. I read the verse and when we got to the underlined words, the kids shouted them. I had warned the teacher adjacent to our class what we would be doing.
Our game: I took the kids to the gym.
because we had just talked about the apostles as the first bishops and Peter as the first Pope, we played a quick game of Simon Peter says–played just like Simon says.
Then, it was time for dodge ball.
We establised one corner as Heaven and another as Confession. Three kids stood in the center of the gym, holding lightweight balls. The balls stood for sin. I sent three kids (pilgrims) at a time to try to run to* Heaven*. If they got hit with a sin ball, they had to go to confession. Almost all the kids had to go to confession. Then, I handed them faith shields–made out of foam boards with a cross and the world faith on the front. I told them they had to keep their faith between them and sin (the ball).
Some variations: I sent all the kids instead of three at a time. Then, we talked about how having a faith community is helpful to dodge sin. Another variation, I assigned some kids as guardian angels. They could guard the pilgrim from the balls.
After a drink of water, we headed back to the classroom. We played a review game over the learning objectives I had–about 70% had learned the objectives. That’s okay because I’ll repeat the information next week during the review period.
We had ten minutes left. So, I told them the story of a great saint who had a lot of faith (Bl. Teresa of Calcutta). Then, we ended with spontaneous prayer, prayer petitions, and a Hail Mary. I peeked during the Hail Mary to see who didn’t seem to know the words to the prayer.
My bare bones outline: opening prayer, review, lesson, activity–game, skit or craft, Bible shout (a good transition), review of that days’ lesson in a game form, Saint story, closing prayer.
For me the most important thing about making a lesson is knowing what I want the kids to know when they walk out of class that day. So, I write very clear, measurable learning objectives.
Our textbook is pretty good, but it just doesn’t fit my teaching style, so I use it as a resource.