Monday, September 2, 2013

Teaching starts now! (And some free templates for classroom.)

After the mind is prepared, the actual work starts.

Immersion teachers have so much to do it’s not funny. However, don’t expect to teach alone. Here are some suggestions on how to start teaching.

Talk to your teaching partner and grade team, which means every teacher in your grade, and have the whole year curriculum mapped out. Don’t worry about the detailed lesson plans yet, just the big picture.  Map out the year’s plan for every subject.  Here is the simple template to spread the subjects throughout the year. Think about the holidays and the different months while planning.

At the beginning of the school, the pace of teaching should be slow. Procedures are really important. Set the rules while teaching subjects slowly. Often, it appears the children don’t understand the subject, but actually, it is because they don’t understand the language well yet.

If the plan isn’t complete at the beginning of the year, it can always be done later. Then it can be recycled for the next year, with your changes that can improve the next year’s plan.

After the year map is complete, think about the monthly plan.  Then a weekly plan should follow, and finally, a daily schedule. There are several reasons for planning curriculum this way. First, we should have an end goal in mind. Backward design is the key.  When we see the goal or destination, we can adjust our steps and walk toward the goal. Second, simplify the whole year and make it more manageable.  We want to see the whole year curriculum as a big beautiful cookie: it’s better to cut it into bite sizes so we don’t choke and we can enjoy the cookie elegantly.

Immersion teachers know how short instruction time is everyday. No matter how short the time is, all the required subjects need to be taught. The best way to teach them all is to have a good plan and well thought out steps. Integrate subjects together. When you have the whole year’s map done, you can see what language to use for each lesson to better prepare the students and integrate subjects while teaching. Math lessons need Chinese language for support. Chinese language can be combined with math concepts. Science lessons also need Chinese language support.  

We can’t expect students to understand the new language and the new concepts simultaneously. Gradually introduce the language and teach the meanings before asking students to master the learning.  

Everything needs to have a meaning so the students can remember and maintain the language.

I am sharing some templates here and hope they can be of some help in your teaching. 

The first and second ones are for the year map. You can easily make one for science or change the name.  Third one is what I used for first grade table top. It comes in handy when I ask students to do math on their own. The money reward sheet is for good behavior. Mark one cent for good behavior and the children get to practice money concept at the same time.  The last two are daily schedule I made. Very top part is for time then below it is for the daily teaching subjects. Under each day, I can quickly list objectives or important events on that day to remind myself. 

Hope these help some new teachers out there.

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