Off the Beaten Path

“People often ask me why I take so many detours when I speak. I just tell them it’s because those I’m trying to reach don’t live on the highway.” As a parent and an educator, I sat there thinking about how hard we try to get children to move onto the highway so that we don’t have to put up with the inconvenience of detours. Perhaps instead of spending so much time and effort trying to convince our children to move onto the path we’ve designed, we could encourage them to get to their destination by allowing them a few minor detours. Who knows? We may even discover some places we’d like to travel off the beaten path! ( from The Way They Learn, by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias)

AS WE TEACH CHILDREN LET’S GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH…

TRY SOMETHING NEW TO DO….

Fall is a great time to prepare your classroom to be activity friendly. For younger children, make sure you have puzzles, play dough, safe scissors, pictures for coloring, water colors, paint brushes and all the supplies to activate learning for those tactile/kinesthetic children who will come into your room this year. For older students, have magazines, scissors, construction paper, art supplies, bible board games, and memory work card. If you can, a digital camera and some computer equipment also provides for some possible creativity in your classroom.

SOMETHING TO SEE…

You only have one chance to make a first impression. When your new students come in this fall, what will your room say to them? The walls, the work stations, and all of the contents of the room should say, “I love God, I love you, and I love teaching God’s word.” Think creatively as you put up a bulletin board or posters. If you do not have much space or share the room with other activities in your building, cover your table ith pictures. Consider using a large cardboard (furniture boxes work) backdrop that you can cover and change each week.

SOMETHING TO HEAR…

CD players are so inexpensive these days, it is a wise investment for every classroom. If you do not have a large repertoire of music, invite your pupils to bring their favorite worship music to share with the class. Sing together with your favorite songs.

Also remind yourself each week to “listen” to your students, modeling their need to “listen” to you. Have a special sharing time. You may even want to announce the topic a week ahead to give students a chance to think about what they want to contribute to the class discussion.

IT’S FALL…GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH…BLAZE A NEW TRAIL!

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Sue Jakes is mother of four, grandmother of six, and lives in Atlanta, GA where she serves as Education Specialist for the Christian Education Committee of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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