ISEE – 5 Useful ISEE Tips

1. Don’t Study Above Your Level

There are three levels of tests that comprise the ISEE — lower, middle, and upper. Often, a test preparation company will advertise “ISEE Preparation” without specifying the level — this usually means upper-level only! Don’t study above your level! Students who should be preparing for the lower level ISEE should not be struggling to understand concepts that apply only to upper-level students! Instead of searching for ISEE preparation, search for your specific level, i.e. “ISEE Lower Level Preparation.” Which test your student needs to be take depends on the grade he or she is entering. Prospective fifth and sixth graders take the lower level; students entering seventh and eighth grade take the middle level; students seeking admission to high school (ninth through twelfth grades) take the upper level test. Parents might be tempted to help their students for a test above their level, in hopes that the content covered on the lower tests will be superseded by the more difficult material. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. According to the ERB, who administers the test, it’s best to prepare for your own test level.

2. Begin Studying Early

Like any other exam, the ISEE requires diligent and steady practice to master. The best way to prepare your child is to begin early. Studies have consistently shown that it’s important to begin studying well in advance and not to cram. To begin, you should read What to Expect on the ISEE, a free guide issued by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) which administers the exam. After this, you should begin working with your student at home and research various professional ISEE lower/mid/upper-level preparation courses. Don’t leave preparation to the last moment!

3. Know What’s on the Test in Advance

Standardized tests like the ISEE, with all the pressure and constraints they place upon the test-taker, are challenging. Why not make it easier by knowing what’s going to be on the test in advance? There are five sections on the ISEE: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics achievement, and an essay. Each section has a limited scope that is outlined in the ERB’s What to Expect on the ISEE. By knowing what material is covered on the exam, you can help your student focus their study to do their best on the ISEE. If your child needs help with specific topics, you should consider seeking professional test preparation, preferably a company which specializes in the correct level of the ISEE, to help make the most of your child’s educational opportunities.

4. Take Practice Tests

While studying the material on the test is an essential part of any preparation program, students must also be ready for the restrictions and time limits the ISEE imposes upon test-takers. Many test-takers face difficulty when timed or under pressure. The best way to mitigate anxiety and nervousness is to become comfortable with the structure of the test by taking many practice exams which reflect the structure of the real test-timed, without calculators, etc. Professional ISEE test preparation can be very helpful in this regard, but be conscious of whether companies use real ISEE exams or simulated ones. The makers of the ISEE limit access to good preparation materials; consequently, many third-party books available on the Internet and through some companies will attempt to simulate test questions — but in the end there is no substitute for the real thing. The best preparation materials will come from established test preparation companies like Testmasters, Kaplan, or Princeton Review, which have a history of helping people prepare for the ISEE.

5. Practice Writing Essays

Even though the ISEE essay is ungraded, your student’s ISEE essay plays a critical role in the admissions process and cannot be neglected. The essay is sent on to the schools the student is applying to, where it is read by admissions committees. These committees will primarily be looking at the levels of maturity and organization displayed by your student’s essay; admissions officers will be most impressed by how clearly and coherently a student can communicate with written English. Another tip: don’t be negative! Nobody will admit a candidate who talks about how much he hates school, no matter how well the essay is written. Use practice essays from the ERB to start off with; consider ISEE test preparation programs that can provide professional feedback and guidance on essays.

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Digital Devices Driving Autism Education

Computers have always proved to be excellent gadgets to facilitate communication and learning for children with autism spectrum disorder. Now, with the emergence of smart phones and the iPad, autistic children have greater opportunities for improving their cognitive, communication and motor skills.

Various organizations that are engaged in supporting families living with autistic kids, have developed apps and programs like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” that are amazing tools. These autism education apps promote learning among special needs children.

Why digital devices?

Autism apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” running on smart phones and iPads provide greater flexibility and portability than a traditional laptop or computer. These latest digital devices utilize touch screen technology which makes them more accessible to autistic children, especially those who have coordination and learning difficulties. Most of the children using an iPad find that the sliding and tapping motions are much easier to execute than typing. Besides, smart phones and tabs can be taken wherever you want to go. They are much lighter than the bulky assistive communication gadgets of the past and that’s a major advantage of using these devices.

Tabs, smart phones, and iPads are great tools for communication and education, which if one of the several reasons why the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism apps have become hugely popular among special needs children. Apps like these can be customized to the specific needs of the autistic child using them. This helps to make the lessons more attractive and interesting that the conventional learning devices. It has been noticed that many children can use these gadgets better than adults.

The world of autistic children is full of imagery. Words have a lesser importance to them. The “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism education apps freely use images to help children string together words and create sentences, and solve mathematics problems. In this way, special needs children are able to communicate with educators, instructors, counselors, and parents sans any frustration.

The benefits

Autism apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences”, running on iPads and tabs, offer huge benefits. The direct touch screen ensures that no stylus or mouse is required for input functions. The most important point is that the apps are predictable, accessible, and easily organized. They help breaking down lessons to discrete topics or chunks that make learning more enjoyable. Special needs and autistic children can learn in a better way through the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism apps.

Teaching Tips – The Three Types of Homework and Teaching

One of the hottest topics in education today is the issue of homework. It affects teachers, parents and students alike. Homework does have a purpose but in recent years teachers have abused its application. If teachers would return to the proper use of homework, I believe homework would no longer be such an ugly word.

So, what is the proper use of homework?

Well, first let’s discuss what homework isn’t. Homework isn’t a way for the teacher to make up for not having taught properly during class time. It is the teacher’s responsibility to teach, guide and finish the lesson. If the teacher doesn’t finish, it shouldn’t be dumped on the students as homework. The teacher needs to re-evaluate the situation and adjust her plans.

Although, homework is abused by many teachers to make up for their lack of preparation or ability to teach. There are legitimate uses for homework.

Such as:

  • Support
  • Practice and
  • Prepartion

Support homework are assignments like answering a set of prepared questions, completing a crossword puzzle or writing sentences for the latest spelling words. Support homework should be short and should reinforce what has already been done in class.

Practice homework would be assignments like math problems, chemical equations or flashcards that give extra practice in a certain skill. These types of assignments serve a very important purpose and a teacher should never misuse them.

Preparation homework would be reading assignments or maybe an internet assignment preparing your students for the new up and coming topic. The teachers expectations of the assignment should clearly spelled out so there is no misunderstandings.

All three of these are legitimate uses of homework. However, the teacher needs to keep the assignment short and specific. Large amounts of homework are usually signs of a poor teacher.

If you suspect that your child is getting excessive homework due to the teacher’s poor classroom performance. Don’t run straight to the principal. First, approach the teacher and let him know that you feel your child is receiving to much homework. Then, if you and the teacher can’t solve the problem take it to the principal. But always give the teacher the opportunity to correct it himself.

Homework done properly is wonderful teaching tool, but when it is misused it creates nothing but trouble.

Building a Good Foundation in Mathematics

A solid foundation in mathematics can be crucial for a student’s performance in academics. Mathematics is an essential part of everyday life. Many students in school may have a natural ability to show a good performance pattern in the subject and it is usually an outcome of regular practice during the early stages. As a tutor, one must understand that the subject is purely based on practice and familiarity. Many other students often find the concepts and judgments to be complicated and most of the problem may be pertaining to teaching methods. One can overcome these problems.

Since a strong math foundation may be desired for students at least in the early years, the internet has been filled with courses of such relevance in website texts and videos. Many schools may be reputed to provide instructions which may not be really grasped except by the ones really attentive and sharp. Some of the reasons for a poor performance in mathematics may also result from focusing too narrowly on one aspect.

The different branches of mathematics that are taught as basic knowledge required for professional workmanship before you specialize are Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Probability. Although not a part of the primary level education, probability can be a new area of problem once encountered in the higher grades.

As for the performance in examinations, it is imperative that a student is well prepared with the required knowledge. Starting with simpler examples and gradually increasing your potential to solve tougher problems is the key.

Math Facts – Try Some Fun Ways to Learn Them

Memorizing math facts is a necessary part of elementary school. Flash cards and repetitive chanting have their place, but, for my children, were pure drudgery. Frustrated by their lack of interest in practicing their math facts, I have searched for ways to make memorizing math facts more fun.

Our favorite math web site, Aplusmath is an easy to use site offering a worksheet generator, online flashcards and games including Matho, Concentration and Hidden Pictures. Matho combines both bingo and math facts in an exciting timed game. Or, match the math problem to the answer in concentration. Discover beautiful photographs by solving math problems in the hidden pictures game.

Both of my children enjoy music, so tapes and CD’s are perfect for us. Rock ‘n Learn makes fun audio programs featuring “cool music that teaches”. The math facts programs come in rap, rock and country versions to satisfy a variety of musical tastes. My son happily reviews multiplication facts to a funky rap beat.

A favorite educational “toy” is Leap Frog’s Twist & Shout. Children twist and shout their way to learning facts. It’s fun, it’s lively and the learning is done to a toe-tapping musical beat. Kids move and groove their way through four games, each with a “teach” and a “quiz” mode. Then they twist the number dial to solve the equation and hit it to select an answer. Answers are heard and seen on the LCD screen.

We have also made good use of the Hot Dots flash cards. Hot Dots flashcards can be used like regular flash cards, or add the Hot Dots Power Pen and children can drill independently with instant reinforcement! Kids simply touch the pen to a dot and it responds instantly signaling a correct or incorrect answer.

If traditional flashcards aren’t enough to inspire your kids to practice math facts, try these fun alternatives. Helping your child learn math facts now will make more advanced math so much easier. Have fun!

Preparing for Lesson One With a New High School Class

As head of Mathematics in a large high school, each year young, inexperienced teachers, often in their first year in the classroom would be appointed to my school. It was my responsibility to induct them into my department and guide them through the beginnings of their career. Below is the advice I would give them to help them start with their new classes to give their students that they were experienced rather than novice teachers.

The first lesson with a new class, even for the experienced teacher, set the tone of the class at least for the first few weeks.

So below is what a teacher needs to organise and do in their first lesson at the start of the year.

Prior Preparation:

ï‚Ÿ Class list ruled up as a period roll;

ï‚Ÿ A starting activity;

ï‚Ÿ Room plan for a seating plan if you are not using the alphabetical plan;

ï‚Ÿ Work outline for each student plus extras for students not on the roll;

ï‚Ÿ Assessment schedule;

ï‚Ÿ List of students with special needs;

ï‚Ÿ Your tote box with teaching needs including pencils;

ï‚Ÿ Organise the room the way you need it for each class.

ï‚Ÿ Texts, handouts for this lesson;

ï‚Ÿ Check out the students’ record cards beforehand. Make notes about issues re students. Make an effort to put a face to a name in Lesson one.

ï‚Ÿ Photos of each student, if possible from school records;

ï‚Ÿ Plan the whole lesson. Have an activity that all students can do.

ï‚Ÿ Have a list of all you need to do. Make sure you have extra activities to do to fill the time.

ï‚Ÿ A short, fun activity at the lesson’s end.

Divide your plan into a generic plan that fits all the lessons. Then ensure that you have separate files of information for each class you will see on the first day. Then you’ll be ready to start the year off “on the right note”.

Tips to Manage Autistic Children During Thanksgiving

Like many holidays, thanksgiving too can cause sensory overload in an autistic child. Having a houseful of guests, or visiting the homes of friends and relatives, along with constant activity, is stressful for everyone. But for children with autism spectrum disorder, even a marginal level of stress can cause a meltdown.

Here are some ways you can make the day easier and calmer for you autistic kid.

Plan your day with the child in mind

You’re likely to be excited to see your relatives and the large family gathering. But it may be a pressing time for your child. It may end in a disaster with the child feeling angry and frustrated with all the noise around. Think of alternatives. Spend some time playing with the “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm” apps with your child. Some quiet activities will also help.

Make sure there’s food that your child eats

Autistic kids are often averse or sensitive to certain foods. You may not know what your child may like to eat on that day. Let there be an assortment of foods. The child will feel better seeing all his/her favorite foods available. And you don’t have to worry about what he/she may or may not eat.

Keep a getaway space

Keep your child’s room out of bounds from guests. If you are visiting your relatives, inform them beforehand to keep a room aside for the autistic child. If possible, bring the “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm” autism apps on your iPad or smartphone, so that the child can play by himself and learn at the same time. Spend some time with your child in the room. It will help him/her get over the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Provide a schedule

If possible, use pictures and explain to your child the general time of thanksgiving, like when the guests will come and leave, the time for the dinner, the music that may be played, and similar things. Explain changes to the routine ahead of time.

Prepare a booklet for regular visits

If you plan to visit many people’s homes this thanksgiving season, prepare a booklet of pictures and explain to the child the persons he/she is about to meet. You can use pictures for this purpose. The child will be more prepared during the actual event.

There’s no need to panic on the day of the event. Just give time and space to your autistic child like any other day.

Helping Children Learn Math

Teaching math to children is sometimes a very difficult task. It is an entire subject that does not have the same easily explained concepts as some other topics. Each teacher has a slightly different way of instructing students about the basic and advanced concepts in mathematics. There are a few simple ways that parents and teachers can help children to learn math beyond what is in the core curriculum.

Develop The Correct Vocabulary

Math has its own distinct vocabulary. The word problems that are listed in teacher resource books go very far to try to explain real world examples of situations that require math as a solution. Ultimately, there will come a time when a student requires the correct understanding of the vocabulary of mathematics in order to describe procedures, solutions and even problems. Simple words like sum, divisor and product are all useful. This vocabulary will serve as the educational base needed to move forward with more advanced concepts. Allowing children to go forward without the correct vocabulary will result in problems in higher grades.

Integrate Lessons Into Everyday Life

There are limits to the operational memory of a child. There are also some basic facts about memory that will present problems if the lessons are not reinforced later in the day. New concepts like division or multiplication need to be refreshed within a few hours after they are first introduced. Homework normally helps with this. A better way would be for parents and teachers to integrate mathematical concepts into everyday life. This could include asking a student to divide resources between a group of classmates for a project, or it could include attaching creative games to other activities and subjects so that there is some awareness of the importance of math outside of testing. Additionally, establishing an environment that reminds children about mathematical concepts is helpful. This might mean hanging math posters around a room, or making games available that will help a child to practice the skills that have already been taught.

Move Beyond Procedural Understanding

Some students are able to move through many years of school with just a procedural understanding of mathematics. This means that the operations that are necessary are memorized, but they are not understood. It is important to teach children exactly how and why certain operations work. Rote memorization of division and multiplication will not help when more advance algebraic concepts are taught in high school. There are teacher resource books available that provide the tools needed to explain how division or fractions actually work.

How I Passed the CSET….Little Tips and Pointers That Made the Difference Between Pass and Failure

The CSET — Your Path To A Rewarding Career!

Few careers can provide the levels of responsibility, satisfaction and fulfillment that teaching brings to California educators. Each day, thousands of teachers across California help their students to study, to learn and to reach for their dreams.

Good Teachers Create Great Lives

Teachers can touch lives in ways that no one else can. Everyone remembers at least one teacher who provided them with encouragement and inspiration, with the help and advice that they needed just when they needed it most.

You are one small step away from becoming such a teacher.

Good Teachers Also Lead Great Lives

But teachers don’t just inspire and educate. As a teacher, you’ll enjoy respect from your family and friends, and a social status given to few other professionals. You’ll have long paid vacations that will enable you to travel the world or pursue your own goals. And you’ll have an income that will bring you independence and a career path that can lead you from challenge to success.

All that stands between you and a rewarding career of educating, guiding and inspiring students right now is your CSET test.

Pass The CSET exam, Pass On Your CSET test Knowledge

The CSET exam is a series of single-subject tests intended to prove to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing that you have the basic CSET test knowledge and ability to teach your subject in a classroom. There is also a CSET Multiple Subject exam which is required for K-8 certification.

Currently there is a

  • CSET Mathematics
  • CSET English
  • CSET Social Science
  • CSET Science
  • CSET Spanish
  • CSET Business
  • CSET Health Science
  • CSET Home Economics
  • CSET Physical Education
  • CSET French
  • CSET Spanish
  • CSET German
  • CSET Industrial and Technology Education
  • CSET Art
  • CSET Agriculture

    With hard work and, no less importantly, the right CSET test preparation, you should find it easy to pass the CSET and start your teaching career.

    What You Need To Know About The CSET

    Whichever subject you intend to teach, you’ll find that passing the CSET test will require you to make use of two sets of skills: recalling the CSET knowledge that you possess about your subject; and answering exam questions quickly and accurately.

    Both of these skill sets are vitally important on the CSET.

    What is the CSET?

    The CSET is a single subject exam, intended to replace the old Single Subject Assessments for Teaching and Praxis II tests. There are three types of test in the CSET:

    Single Subject Teaching Credentials are mainly used from grades 7-12 and authorize a teacher to teach one particular subject.

    Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials allow teachers to teach a range of different subjects and are generally used in elementary schools for grades K-6.

    Education Specialist Instruction Credentials allow teachers to teach students who have a particular disability or special need in grades K-12.

    Each exam in the CSET contains a number of subtests and lasts up to five hours. The sub-tests themselves are not timed however, allowing you to spend more time on areas that you find difficult and less time on the parts that you know best.

    Time management will be an important element in getting the score you need to pass the CSET exam and become a teacher.

    Two Types Of Questions, Two Types Of Challenge

    CSET exam questions come in two forms: multiple-choice questions ask you to choose the best answer from a number of options. In these questions, it is important to remember that the best answer isn’t necessarily the only correct answer. You may find that two CSET exam answers look correct but one answer will be more correct than the other. (This also means that when two answers look the same, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of guessing the right one.)

    Constructed-response CSET questions ask you to discuss, describe, analyze, explain etc. Often you’ll be asked to complete more than one task. Always read the question carefully and make sure that you have completed all the tasks.

    CSET Test Taking Tips for Essay Writing

    CSET Test Preparation– How To Cram Fast And Effectively

    Whatever your subject, the CSET exam is going to expect you to have memorized vast amounts of information. Some of that CSET information you’ll know well because you use it every day. But much of the details that will turn up in the exam will be the sort of knowledge that will normally have you turning to the books to find the answers.

    In the CSET, you’ll need to be able to recall those facts from your memory. That means being able to cram.

    Top Methods To Quickly Complete CSET Test Preparation

    At some point, just about everyone finds themselves having to cram for an exam. It might not be the best way to learn, but it’s often the only way to pass the test.

    There are a number of effective techniques that you can use to fill your head with the information you need to breeze through your CSET exam.

    1. Organize Your Priorities

    No one excels at everything. There will inevitably be some subjects at which you are stronger and others at which you are weaker. You’ll need to make sure that you spend more time memorizing and learning your weaker areas than your stronger ones for the CSET.

    Don’t worry if it looks like there’s a huge difference between the amount of work you have to do and the amount of time you have to do it. The next step will be to chop down the work and preparation required to pass the CSET.

    2. Pick And Store for the CSET

    Once you’ve identified those areas that will need the most work, read all the information through once. Highlight the most important points (don’t just underline: it’s easier to picture a highlighted page than an underlined sentence).

    There are a number of different methods that you can then use to store your CSET exam information in your head:

    o Break up what you need to learn into bite-sized chunks. There’s a limit to how much you can stuff into your short-term memory in one go. Take each piece a little at a time.

    o Acrostics help you remember a list in the right order by turning them into strange sentences. My Dear Aunt Sally is the famous way to remember to Multiply and Divide before you Add and Subtract. You can create your own acrostic for any set of facts on the CSET.

    o Turn your CSET notes into musical notes. If you can put the words you’re trying to memorize to a tune you like, you’ll find them much easier to remember. You might not be able to hum in the exam, but you can sing in the shower — and in the process, keep memorizing for the CSET;

    3. Get the CSET Rammed Right In There!

    Cramming only puts the information you want in your head for a short time (using what you’re memorizing will keep it there for the long term). In order to stop what you’ve memorized falling out before your CSET exam, you’ll need to keep seeing it and going over it right up until you need it on the day.

    Acing The CSET

    The actual content of your exam will depend on the subject you’re thinking of teaching. The official CSET study guides will tell you what you’re supposed to know before you walk into the CSET exam room. You should certainly be familiar with the CSET guides that apply to you.

    What the CSET study guides won’t tell you though is how to ace the CSET when you aren’t sure of the answer. That isn’t because you can’t do it; it’s because they don’t want you to know how to do it.

    Here are 5 Ways To Ace The CSET (Even When You Don’t Know The Answer)

    1. Do the easy questions first

    Use the first few minutes of the exam to zip through the paper. You’ll certainly find some of the questions easier than others. Do those straight away. It will make you feel a bit better and give you more time for the tough questions. And if you find yourself getting stuck on a question, make a mark, leave it and move on. Come back to it at the end when you’ll have more time, more focus and less panic.

    2. Use a process of elimination

    This is an absolute must on any multiple choice question. There will always be one or two questions that are outrageously wrong. Knock them out quick and your score doubles.

    3. Drop extreme language and numbers

    One way to pick the bad answer choices from the good is to look at the wording of the answers. The examiners generally prefer the correct answer to be wishy-washy. Any answer choice that uses words like ‘all’, ‘never’ or ‘always’ are probably wrong. Similarly, on math and science questions, the highest and lowest figures are usually bad choices too. Take them out.

    4. Identify similar answers

    Another way to hone in on the right answer choices is to pick out any answers that look the same. Usually on the CSET exam, two answers will be extreme, one will look right and one will be right.

    The one that looks right has been put there deliberately to confuse you.

    The examiners are hoping that as you rush through the exam, you won’t notice that there’s a better answer right next to it and pick the wrong choice. That’s mean, but it actually does you a favor. When two answer choices look similar, one of them is likely to be right.

    5. Use previous questions

    One of the great things about long exams like the CSET is that the answer to one question can often be found in another part of the test. It’s going to be almost impossible for the examiners not to repeat a subject or duplicate a point. If you’re scratching your head over a question, move on and keep an eye out for it later. There’s a good chance that they’ll give the game away in a different question.

    Those are just five simple tactics you can use to ace the CSET test. There are dozens of others and you’ll need them all to put yourself in the classroom and in front of the blackboard. To learn all the tactics you need, and to make sure that your CSET test preparation is right on track, check out our Study Guide and start your teaching career with top marks.

  • Tips for Teaching Young Children

    How do we teach in a way that hooks into a child’s natural desire to learn?

    Children are naturally curious. They explore, experiment, touch, ask questions, and are motivated to learn. To them it’s all play, and they don’t need adults praising them for their efforts.

    Wondering how you can help children succeed? Consider the following characteristics of how they learn to help you teach in ways that improve their ability to make sense of new concepts.

    1. Young children learn when subject areas are integrated

    Offer children thematic units rich with content and they will be interested and motivated, especially if you can bring real things to touch and explore that relate to the theme.

    Basic literacy and math concepts can be taught and reviewed as the theme content is shared. A “winter” theme offers many opportunities to teach the letter W, to count and record the number of mittens on snowmen constructed in an art lesson, or to create patterns for paper scarfs.

    A child learning about the life cycle of a butterfly may act it out with creative movement and poetry, paint the process with a large paper and paint, illustrate and label the stages in science and literacy lessons and listen to related stories and songs. Avoid pursuing a theme if the children have lost interest. Ask yourself if you are presenting enough “real objects”. New themes get everyone motivated and enthusiastic.

    2. Children learn in lots of different ways

    Visual learners watch closely when you demonstrate an activity and like to draw and play with shapes and puzzles. Auditory learners understand ideas and concepts because they remember information they have heard, follow spoken directions well and remember songs easily.

    Although all children learn through touch, some learn best combining touch and movement (tactile/kinetic learners). Some children like structure while others learn more easily in an unstructured environment.

    If you want busy, happy and on task children, give them a variety of lessons that meet the needs of different learning styles.

    3. Children often do not have the vocabulary to express themselves

    Inexperienced teachers sometimes misinterpret a child’s unwillingness to participate as stubbornness or bad behavior when in reality, the child may lack the skills to explain himself. Use reflective listening to help children communicate why they are upset.

    Sometimes children work well in groups, learning to share and develop ideas. At other times they just need to be alone with ample time to figure things out for themselves.

    Do not expect perfection. Relax and have fun with your students!

    4. Children progress when concepts are taught in a structured, step-by-step way

    When concepts are presented in a structured step-by-step process with each step building on previous knowledge, children learn with less effort.

    For example, expecting a young child to understand the concept of a food chain without previous experiences with, and vocabulary about, chains and links is assuming too much.

    5. Children’s abilities to observe and process information develop at varying rates

    Some four-year old children have superb small motor coordination and draw and cut beautifully, but have delayed speech patterns. Other children may be verbally eloquent but be physically uncoordinated or be at a scribbling stage in drawing.

    Just as children develop physically at different rates, they also progress academically, socially, emotionally, and artistically at varying speeds. Effective teaching happens when teachers remember that learning is developmental.

    Offer open-ended activities to meet the developmental stages of all students. An open-ended activity involves children at a wide range of developmental levels. Children are less frustrated working at their own level and they do not have to compare their results to a set of identical worksheets.

    6. Children learn best when given things, objects, and stuff to explore

    When teaching young children, always use concrete materials, as children need sensory experiences when learning new ideas and concepts.

    Take advantage of the many educational learning materials available to teach geometry, number sense, pattern skills, symmetry, classification and other math concepts.

    Use science materials like magnets, light paddles, scales, weights, and collections of birds’ nests, as well as book character toys and puppets to enhance literacy.

    7. Children need instruction, practice and time to learn new skills and concepts

    A child doesn’t learn to ride a bike by only looking at the bike and exploring its properties, he/she also needs time to practice and guided instruction.

    Practicing concepts and skills does not need to be dull and repetitive. Do not automatically think “worksheet” when you think of skills practice. There are lots of ways to practice skills using puzzles, games, diagrams, art and more.

    8. Children won’t learn if they are over tired, hungry, upset or worried

    Be flexible and understanding with young children. Check to see if kids are hungry. It’s easier to let a child eat part of her lunch early, than attempt to make a hungry child concentrate on a task.

    Sometimes a child needs to be left alone and creating a small retreat space in the classroom can help students who are too overwhelmed by home or other circumstances to cope with their peers or teacher.

    9. Motivated children pay attention

    Young children are generally motivated to learn about everything. Unless they have often been made fun of when investigating or presenting their knowledge, they have a strong desire to find out and share information.

    Reinforce thinking processes rather than praising the child. Saying “That’s an interesting way you sorted your blocks. Tell me what you were thinking” rather than, “Samuel is so smart” will focus the children’s attention on exploring the blocks. Making too much fuss of any one child can result in a competitive atmosphere.

    10. Children learn by teaching others

    When children have an opportunity to communicate their new knowledge to adults or other children it helps solidify concepts. Some children need extra time to find the correct words to explain what they are thinking so patience is necessary.

    To help children share their knowledge, use descriptive words as they play or work and they will copy your vocabulary.

    11. Children Need to be Active

    If children have been sitting still too long, they will let you know it’s time to move. Even the best, well planned, interesting lessons fail if the children need a break.

    Take plenty of movement breaks, go for walks around the school, march around the classroom or jump up and down! You will have more alert and focused students.

    Summary

    As children experience your love and acceptance and realize that you are willing to help them, they relax and learn. Keep a sense of enthusiasm, wonder and curiosity about the world around you, and your students will imitate your behavior. Your classroom may be one of the few places where their opinions and ideas are valued.