Mimio Educator

10 Tips for Creating Good Looking and Effective Lessons

Posted by Lindy George on Wed, Oct 7, 2015

Learn ways to help you make lessons that are easy on the eyes and the mind!

Lessons that get your students attentionDo you sometimes find yourself wanting to create a lesson that will wow, but end up just staring at a blank screen? Don’t worry – it happens to all of us. Maybe it’s writer’s block, a creative road block, or you’re just plain stumped. When that happens, following these 10 tips can help you get you back on track and on your way to creating a truly great lesson. They center around 5 key areas: interactivity, aesthetics, instruction, originality, and collaboration.

  1. Just Do it!

    By that we mean, don’t just tell your students what you want them to learn; have them do it. Think of hands-on ways the students can practice the skills you want them to learn. For spelling, try using magnetic letters. Or with your IWB, have students come to the board and choose from a jumble of letters to create words.

  2. Stop if You’ve Heard This One Before

    Find opportunities to let the students lead either through teaching or sharing from the front of the room. Have them describe real-world situations or examples that relate to the topic at hand. For example, ask them to describe going to buy something and needing to find the right amount of change to purchase something.

  3. More Isn’t More

    The adage “less is more” is really true when it comes to creating activities. We all love good clip art, borders, zany type – anything to liven it up, right? But sometimes all the extras leave a student not sure where to look. Use design elements and illustrations that add to the content, and eliminate any that are distracting or that don’t offer any value. An easy way to do this is to put everything you want on the page and then slowly remove the extraneous until you have simple perfection.

  4. Did Someone Say Hierarchy?

    By this we mean, make sure the emphasis you put on the information reflects its importance. The key point you want the students to grasp should be easy to see as the top level, and the supporting points should be secondary elements. When information is organized, it’s easier for students to digest it more clearly and logically.

  5. The Theme Is

    Imagine summing up a movie or book in one line. For example, take Die Hard: “Man must save an office and the world from terrorists.” That sentence leaves out some of the main details, but you get the point of what this movie is about. When you present your lessons with objectives, it helps the students know exactly what they will be learning and puts them in the right mindset. In other words, no one goes into an action film expecting a romantic comedy.

  6. Few to Many

    Like all of us, students learn by doing “a few” (starting simply) and then, once their confidence and skill are developing, they can move on to “many” – harder and more complicated learning opportunities. Being challenged pushes student learning if they’re prepared. When they’re motivated to learn, getting the wrong answer can actually enhance their learning.

  7. One of a Kind

    When things all look the same, they tend not to make a lasting impression. Things that are different or that break a pattern are more likely to leave a lasting impression. Think of ways to make your lessons unique. It can be as wild as coming to class one day dressed up like Abraham Lincoln. But even something as simple as showing a unique video or image can help to capture students’ attention.

  8. New to You

    Combining subject matter from different areas can make the same topic seem new and fresh. For example, discuss chemical bonds using cooking as an example. When you study insects, create realistic bugs from clay.

  9. Learn Together

    In the real world, nothing of importance happens without working together. School is the preparation for the great big collaborative world. So find ways your lessons can include collaboration. Regularly divide students into groups and have them work on an activity as a team. Afterward, have each team present to the entire class. As a class, discuss what each group did. You can even make an activity a competition and have the class vote on a winner.

  10. The Student as Teacher

    Another way to bring collaboration to the classroom is to take a lesson you prepared and have the students be the teacher. One student might teach the topic to the entire class. Or break the class into small groups and assign one student in each group to be the teacher.

 

Want even more ideas for taking your lessons to the next level?

Join our webinar, 5 Tips to Make Your Lessons More Engaging and More Effective, in which two educators will give you examples of adjustments that can bring these ideas to reality. Sign up today!>>

 

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Topics: Lessons, collaborative learning

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