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  • Children working together outdoors picking up litter
    • Language teaching
    • Young learners

    How to teach students to be global citizens

    By Jeanne Perrett
    Reading time: 4.5 minutes

    As teachers, we all want our students to work toward making the world a better place. Through focusing on global citizenship, this drive to change the world is something we can help foster every day in the classroom. In this post, we’ll explore how.

    What are global citizens?

     A global citizen is someone who knows that they are part of a worldwide community. They understand that there are people who have completely different lifestyles, appearances, cultures and routines but with whom we share common values and responsibilities. Global citizenship encourages tolerance and understanding, and learning about it helps children become open-minded adults.  

    In a primary English classroom, helping students become aware of themselves as citizens of the world will introduce them to a global way of thinking. We can do this while also helping them become familiar with, and proficient in, English.  

    How can we introduce the concept?

    Before students put themselves in a global context, they should get to know themselves as individuals. But they should also get to know themselves as people who are part of their immediate communities.  

    In the classroom, this can be done by encouraging students to think about something personal, such as their likes and dislikes. We can then encourage students to look a little further: What kinds of homes do they see in their communities? What makes a house a home to them? What about people working in their communities — what important jobs do they do, and how do they make an impact? 

    For language teachers, the idea is to combine vocabulary and grammar structures with a slowly widening view of our world. Simply by introducing the concept that we are part of a worldwide community can take the children out of their own experiences and help them start to consider others.

    Tips and activities

    Social media makes it possible for teachers to contact each other across borders and to collaborate between their schools. Something simple, like organizing a class video call for students after lunchtime and encouraging students in different countries to discuss what they ate in English, can help learners become more globally aware. 

  • A teacher sat with students at a table, the students are using tablets.
    • Young learners
    • Language teaching

    Benefits of using tablets in the primary classroom

    By Jacqueline Martin

    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Interactive whiteboards, PCs and laptops are common in many schools worldwide, but have you ever considered using tablets in your young learners' classes? 

    Tablets can be used for many things. Online research, watching and creating videos, playing games, and digital storytelling are just a few examples. Of course, there's also the added environmental benefit of going paper-free.

    In this post, we're going to explore some of the reasons why using tablets can be beneficial in the young learner's classroom and what to consider before you do so.

    What are the benefits of using tablets in class?

    1. Facilitating engagement

    With good direction from the teacher, tablets can emulate natural social interaction and interactivity. They can also offer problem-solving activities, set achievable goals and provide instant feedback.

    Moreover, when young learners are truly engaged in an activity, it may be perceived as effortless - and they learn and use their second language (L2) without even realizing it. 

    2. Introducing authenticity and autonomy

    In terms of content, tablets allow us to bring the real world into the classroom at the tap of a screen. We can provide learners with authentic materials via level-and-age-appropriate videos and real-life communication. As well as interaction with other teachers and learners through teams or by using a secure app such as Stars private messaging

    Tablets also promote learner autonomy. They are easy to use, allowing us to take a step back and let our students work at their own pace, being on stand-by as a facilitator when students require help or a little push in the right direction.

    3. Promoting creativity, communication and inclusion

    Nearly all tablets have a webcam and voice recorder, which means that learner-generated content can be created easily - even without dedicated software. 

    You can have your students make their own vlogs (video diaries), ebooks, comics, cartoons and movie trailers. All you need to do is to install apps such as Book Creator or this series of apps specifically designed for very young learners from Duck Duck Moose. While these apps have been created for 'fluent-speaker' classrooms, they can easily be adapted to an ELT context.

    Tablets also promote communication. This can help improve students' L2 oral skills at any level, when the teacher is there to support and guide them.

    One of the greatest advantages of a tablet as opposed to a computer is that anyone can use one and they are much more portable. 

    For students with special educational needs, tablets can be an essential learning tool and they can also be used by students with low-level motor skills, such as very young learners. Similarly, tablets can work really well with multi-level classes, as they allow you to offer differentiated materials, activities and support where necessary.

    4. Enabling online assessment 

    Tablets can also facilitate interactive online exams or help measure progress. Tests such as 'English Benchmark - Young Learners' are designed with primary learners in mind, to be taken anytime, anywhere. Its game-like format engages students and takes the fear out of being assessed. It also provides instant feedback to the teacher with informative reports and advice for future study. 

    5. Building relationships with caregivers

    Finally, as with any online content, tablets allow you to connect with our learners outside the classroom. You can quickly send links to classwork and feedback to the children's caregivers, fostering a positive relationship and a greater interest in their child's progress and learning. 

    Tips for using tablets in class

    Before implementing the use of tablets in your classroom, there are some things you should consider. Here are some useful tips that will help you gain the maximum benefit from tablets.

    Usability:

    • Decide what you are going to use the tablets for and when. Are you going to allow students to use the tablets for all parts of the lesson or only for specific activities? This may depend on the number of tablets you have available.
    • Use technology to improve an activity or design new activities that would not be possible without the tech, rather than using it to carry on as normal. Think about when a tablet will help learners do something they wouldn't be able to do without one, e.g., make a video or create and share a piece of writing with the whole class.
    • Think about using tablets for creation rather than consumption. Your students can (and probably do) spend a fair amount of time consuming videos in their free time. Whether they do this in English or not is another story, but in the classroom, students should use the language as much as possible (see the next point).
    • Use the tablets for collaborative tasks that require social interaction and communication. It's unlikely that you will have one tablet per student. Make the most of this limitation by having students work in pairs or small groups. Students can use their own devices individually outside the classroom.
    • Try to incorporate tablets into regular classroom activities and interactions. Avoid making them a "reward" or just for "games". Even if games are part of your planned tablet usage, make it clear that students are playing them in order to learn English. Encourage students to think of the tablet as a tool to help them on their learning journey.

    General tips

    • Try out any apps or widgets before asking students to use them. If necessary, make or find a step-by-step tutorial to help students use an app. There's nothing worse than having a class of twenty-five students all raising their hands at the same time because they don't know where to start.
    • Have clear rules and guidelines for tablet use. Educate students about using the equipment responsibly. Do this before you hand out tablets the first time.
    • Provide students and parents with a list of recommended apps to continue their home learning. Whether you have a class set of tablets or are using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), many students will have access to a tablet or mobile phone at home, which they can use for further practice. Students will likely be motivated to continue playing games at home and may wish to show their parents and friends any content they've created in class.

    Practicalities

    • Consider the hardware and technical requirements. Do you need a Wi-Fi connection? How many devices will you have? Which apps and programs do you want to use? 
    • Ensure the features and apps you plan to use suit the age group you're teaching. Do some research, and if possible, choose apps designed for educators, avoiding freebie apps that may contain advertising. Block any websites you think unsuitable and install a search engine with child-friendly filters.
    • Set the language of the devices to English. Even if your students are very young, they'll pick up useful language and will be more inclined to use English as they are using the tablet.
    • Decide where you will keep the tablets and how they will be maintained. How often and where will they be charged? 
    • Think about how you can flexibly set up your classroom to incorporate collaborative tablet use. Move tables together to make group work easier. Create workstations or even have cushions or bean bags in a corner of the classroom.

    Using tablets to assess student progress with Benchmark

    With the right software, tablets can allow us to conduct formative assessments through immediate feedback and learning analytics. 

    We have developed our own English-language test for children aged 6 to 13 in an app designed specifically for tablet use. This fun, game-like test is highly motivating and assesses all four skills in a relaxed environment, removing the stress of traditional exams. It also allows you to see where each learner needs more improvement, providing recommendations on what to teach next and suggested activities in selected Pearson courseware.

    Find out more information about the English Benchmark test.

  • Young children stood in a row clapping and celebrating with a christmas tree in the background
    • Young learners
    • Teaching trends and techniques

    Classroom tips: 12 days of Christmas

    By Pearson Languages

    With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.

  • Children in halloween costumes stood in a hallway with a adult
    • Young learners

    5 spooky ideas for your primary classes this Halloween

    By Pearson Languages

    It’s almost Halloween, and the ghosts and vampires will soon be coming out to play. Did you know that although we often associate Halloween with pumpkin carving and eating candy, the festival has much older origins? 

    Samhain is an ancient Gaelic festival that celebrates the end of the harvest and the start of winter. This is why people often associate the colors of orange and black with Halloween: orange is the color many leaves turn in autumn and black is the color of the darker winter months.

    People used to believe that spirits walked the Earth on the night of Samhain. The tradition of dressing up as ghosts and demons started as a way to hide from the spirits who walked the streets. Similarly, people used to leave treats outside their houses for the spirits and from this came the tradition of trick-or-treating.

    So to help get your younger students in the Halloween spirit, here are five spooky ideas to try in your primary classes. 

    1. ‘Pumpkin’ oranges

    Pumpkin carving is fun - but it’s also messy and pumpkins can be really heavy. Instead, bring in an orange for each student and give them a black marker pen. Get them to draw a scary face on their orange and then write a short text describing it. 

    My pumpkin orange, Ghoulie, has two big eyes. He’s got a small nose and a big mouth, with lots of teeth. This Halloween, he’s going to sit outside my house. He’s going to scare people but he doesn’t scare me. I think he’s very funny.

    2. Bat fishing

    This is a great way to practice questions and review language with your younger students. Have your students cut out bat shapes on card and tell them to write a question on the back of each one. They can write personal information questions, such as ‘What do you eat for breakfast?’ or questions related to topics you’re studying at the moment, like ‘How do you spell dinosaur?’ 

    Attach a paper clip to each bat and put them on the floor, with the questions face down. Then attach a magnet to a piece of string.

    Divide the class into teams and have students take turns to fish a bat from the floor. When they catch a bat using the magnet, a student from another team asks them the question written on the bat. If the team can answer correctly, they keep the bat. If they don’t answer correctly, the bat goes back on the floor.

    When all the bats have been fished, the team with the most wins. 

    3. Haunted house dictation

    This is a good activity to review prepositions of place and house vocabulary. Before you start, elicit some scary things from the students, such as ghost, spider, witch, zombie. If these words are new for your students, draw a picture dictionary on the board for them to refer to in the next stage.

    Next, give students an outline of a house with the rooms labeled, but without any furniture. Then dictate a sentence to the students and have them draw what you say on their individual houses. For example, ‘In the kitchen, there’s a big cupboard. In the cupboard, there’s a witch.’ Or, ‘In the living room, there’s an old sofa. A zombie is sitting on the sofa.’

    You can then divide the class into pairs or small groups and have them take turns dictating sentences to each other. When they finish, they can compare their pictures and then write a short story about their haunted houses. 

    4. Trick-or-treat board game

    Draw a 7x5 grid on card and add Start and Finish squares. Number the other squares so the students know what direction to move in. Then, on some of the squares write Trick and on some of the other squares write Treat. Finally, prepare a set of ‘trick’ and ‘treat’ cards for each group. (There are some ideas for tricks and treats below). 

    Before students play, teach them some phrases to use while playing the game. For example:

    • Whose turn is it?
    • It’s my turn.
    • Roll the dice.
    • Who’s winning?

    Then divide the class into groups of four and give each group a board, a set of ‘trick-or-treat’ cards, a dice and a counter. Have them take turns to roll the dice and move. If they land on a Trick or Treat square, they have to take a card and do what it says. Then they put the card at the bottom of the pile. The winner is the first person to reach the Finish square.

    Ideas for ‘trick’ cards

    • Go back 3 squares
    • Miss a turn
    • Go back to the start
    • Count down from 10 to 1 in English
    • Say the alphabet backwards (Z, Y, X…)
    • Laugh like a witch
    • Pretend to be a ghost

    Ideas for ‘treat’ cards

    • Go forward two spaces
    • Roll again
    • Go forward five spaces
    • Choose someone to miss a turn

    5. Spooky stories

    Are your students bored of celebrating Halloween every year? Mix things up with stories or readers. Allowing their imagination to run wild. There are lots of stories online you can use or get inspiration from, creating your own. If you want your pupils more involved you could also have them make or take part in your very own 'create your own adventure' spooky story. 

    After reading the story, have your students create comic strips of different parts of the book and display them around the classroom. If your students prefer theatrics, get them to act out or sing parts of the story. 

  • Children running outside together with balloons
    • Young learners

    5 quick and easy ESL games for teaching young learners

    By Pearson Languages

    Can we play a game? How many times have you been asked this in class? And how often do you say Yes? Young learners love to play games, and if you choose the right ones, they can have a hugely beneficial impact on their learning.

    As well as being fun, games can provide learners with necessary language practice, as well as lowering the affective filter (i.e. anxiety, fear, boredom and other negative emotions that can all impact learning). Games also foster a positive, relaxed environment.

    So are you ready to play? Here are a few tried and tested games that work especially well in the primary classroom. Each game is designed to consolidate and review the language students have been learning, and take from 5 to 15 minutes. The primary games are flexible enough for you to adapt them to different learner levels, age groups and skills.

  • Two young girls sat at a school desk reading a book
    • Young learners
    • Teaching trends and techniques

    8 first lesson problems and solutions for young learner classes

    By Pearson Languages

    The first class with a new group of young learners can be a nerve-wracking experience for teachers, old and new. Many of us spend the night before thinking about how to make a positive start to the year, with a mixture of nerves, excitement, and a desire to get started. However, sometimes things don’t always go as expected, and it is important to set a few ground rules in those early lessons to ensure a positive classroom experience for all throughout the academic year.

    Let’s look at a few common problems that can come up and how best to deal with them at the start of the school year.

  • Two school girls getting onto. a schoolbus
    • Young learners

    4 steps to make sure the transition back to school goes well

    By Donatella Fitzgerald

    As we start thinking about returning to school, the big question for teachers and parents is: How can we help our children get off to a smooth start?   

    After the long break, students might be keen to see their friends again. But it's not always easy to get back into the class routine. It's especially difficult when students are moving into a new class or are facing important exams. 

    So what can you do to support children in transitioning back to school at the beginning of the academic year? 

    Here are 4 steps to help them get off to a great start.  

    1. Be organized and create routines

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it's not all mixed up.  – A. A. Milne 

    Have a "family meeting" to brainstorm the routines for the school year, e.g., tidying room, getting school clothes/uniform/bag ready the evening before, homework routines, family meal times and exercise. Ensure each member of the family has input into the routine too. Create a chart with the routines so everyone can see what has been agreed upon and how they are being adhered to.

    2. Start bedtime routines early

    Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. – Benjamin Franklin 

    Agreeing on firm bedtimes during the school week is very important for everyone in the family.  

    If children and teenagers do not get enough sleep, it can negatively impact their health and academic achievement. It's important that they are aware of this too.  

    In an ideal world, we should ensure that adults and children are not exposed to any form of screen time for at least 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime. This will help everyone sleep better.  

    Start the back-to-school sleep transition gradually. To help your child adjust, move bedtime up by 30 to 60 minutes at a time over the course of a few days or a week before the start of school so the transition from a later bedtime to an earlier one is progressive. 

    3. Talk about homework and teach organizational skills 

    When it's obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. – Confucius 

    Organization needs to be taught and practiced. As children get older, homework usually increases. Take an active interest in your child's homework.  

    Parents can be supportive by demonstrating organizational skills and helping children with time management. Assist them with creating a plan for their homework and encourage your child (whatever age) to have a study plan of some sort and to set goals for their homework which are SMART: 

    • Specific – Describe in detail what activities they are going to do. 
    • Measurable – How will they know when they are progressing/finished?  
    • Achievable – Do they have the skills and resources to get to their goal?  
    • Relevant – How does this goal connect to short and long-term targets? 
    • Time-bound – Set a concrete deadline.

    Teach them how to approach homework with a "strategy". How much homework do they have? How long will it take to do it? Prioritize urgent homework and do more difficult things when they are less tired.  

    Make sure there's adequate space in your house and set up a homework-friendly area that is well lit, and has a table with enough room to put their pens and books. Of course, this is preferably somewhere quiet.  

    Also, it's important that parents are motivators and monitors and that they try to make themselves available for advice. Always praise children for their work and efforts. If you spot any problems, try and address them. Keep distractions to a minimum at home while they are doing their homework.

    4. Make mealtimes quality family time: listen and share one good thing about each day 

    Kids who grow up having family dinners, when they're on their own, tend to eat more healthily.  – Anne Fishel  

    A meal around the table can bring lots of benefits to the entire family and be an important opportunity for daily interaction. Sitting down to eat as a family provides the opportunity to have an influence over both short and long-term family health, and can help children establish resilience and the ability to cope with the demands of life as we know it now and in the future. It can also be an opportunity to introduce mindful eating too – being more aware of what and how we are eating.

    Additionally, this time together allows for members to talk and share things about their day and also offers an opportunity to establish a strong and powerful bonding experience. How can we make sure family mealtimes are quality time?  

    • Be attentive and offer undivided attention during this time.  
    • Turn all modern technology off during the meal so everyone is focused on each other.  
    • Talk to each other about topics such as: What lessons do you have today (at breakfast)? What did you enjoy about today? What did you have for lunch (while sharing the evening meal). Tell me one thing you learned today. What made you laugh today? What made you happy today?  
    • Listen mindfully to your child's thoughts and worries (if any). 
    • Encourage each member to talk about one good thing that has happened to them that day. This lets them know you are there for them.  
    • Assign mealtime jobs to involve everyone, e.g.: setting and clearing the table and putting away the dishes.

    However, sometimes it's not possible to share meal times during the week so plan at least one on the weekend if possible. 

    The benefits of any small moment of time can have long-lasting positive influences on your child's mental and physical health. Children model adult behavior and if they see you eating and engaging positively with them and others, they will carry this into their own lives. 

    With a bit of preparation, the leadup and transition back to school can be smooth and enjoyable not only for children but also for the rest of the family.

  • A child sat on a bed reading a book
    • Young learners
    • Language teaching

    Motivating children to read English books with fun activities

    By Pearson Languages

    Why is reading important? 

    Apart from being a great hobby and fun activity, it can help children improve in many areas of their lives through developing key transferrable skills. Reading in their native language and English can bring a whole range of benefits. To engage everyone, they must understand the benefits themselves.   

    Ask your students why it's important and create a mind map of ideas. You may also wish to use some of the points below to start the conversation. Having a common idea that everyone agrees on can help build motivation and engagement in the classroom. 

    Improves language skills 

    Regular reading develops children’s linguistic skills – it helps them learn good sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary and improves spelling in their own language and in the English language too. Reading aloud also strengthens knowledge of phonics and improves pronunciation and articulation.  

    Improves memory 

    It can help to develop knowledge of phonics and vocabulary recall and improve focus and concentration – all necessary skills when learning a language. 

    Cultivates curiosity 

    Books help kids’ imaginations to grow and encourage them to be more open-minded. They help us to learn about other cultures and encourage us to think more creatively. Through subtle messages, reading builds an awareness of the world in which we live and enables children to form their own opinions and ask questions. 

    Creates empathy 

    Stories help to develop children’s emotional intelligence and empathy towards others. Exploring topics and characters allows them to learn about real-world situations and think about how they would feel in somebody else’s shoes. It encourages respect for others’ feelings as well as other cultures.  

    Reduces stress 

    It is a great way to calm the mind and help us relax and destress. Children can learn to use it as a helpful tool in their day-to-day lives.   

    Develops key life skills 

    Children develop their confidence, communication, resilience, patience, social skills and connect with the wider world, culture and communities. 

    So how do we motivate our young learners (even our most reluctant readers) to develop a passion for reading? 

    It must be fun, purposeful and relevant 

    Well-known adaptations can remove barriers, support and encourage students’ imagination, and spark a genuine interest. They give purpose and relevance to the students as most students have watched a movie at some point in their lives and most students have a favorite movie or character.  

    Let your young learners choose 

    There are plenty of English Readers to choose from – if the students can choose their own readers, they will likely be more motivated and focused. Choice gives the students power and makes it more relevant to them. Ask your students to choose their favorite movie and have a vote as a class. Get to know your students, find out what interests them, and base your book choice around this. 

    Rewards  

    To motivate students, they must know that they are making progress. Reward students for their achievements – for example, create a vocabulary wall or a class book chart and give rewards like a sticker or a postcard to take home. 

  • Children in a classroom with their hands up
    • Young learners
    • Language teaching

    8 first lesson problems for young learners

    By Pearson Languages

    The first class with a new group of young learners can be a nerve-wracking experience for teachers old and new. Many of us spend the night before thinking about how to make a positive start to the year, with a mixture of nerves, excitement, and a desire to get started. However, sometimes things don’t always go as expected, and it is important to set a few ground rules in those early lessons to ensure a positive classroom experience for all, throughout the academic year.

    Let’s look at a few common problems that can come up, and how best to deal with them at the start of the school year.

    1. Students are not ready to start the class

    How the first few minutes of the class are spent can greatly influence how the lesson goes. Students can be slow to get out their equipment and this can cause a lot of time wasting. To discourage this, start lessons with a timed challenge.

    1. Tell students what you want them to do when they come into class, e.g. sit down, take out their books and pencil cases, sit quietly ready for the lesson to start.
    2. Time how long it takes for everyone to do this and make a note. Each day do the same.
    3. Challenge students to do this faster every day. You could provide a goal and offer a prize at the end of the trimester if they reach it, e.g. be ready in less than a minute every day.

    2. Students speak their first language (L1) in class

    One of primary teachers' most common classroom management issues is getting them to speak English. However, young learners may need to speak their mother tongue occasionally, and a complete ban on L1 is often not the best solution. But how can we encourage students to use English wherever possible?

    Tell students they have to ask permission to speak in L1, if they really need to.

    • 3 word rule — tell students that they can use a maximum of three words in L1 if they don’t know them in English.
    • Write ENGLISH on the board in large letters. Each time someone speaks in L1, erase a letter. Tell students each letter represents time (e.g. 1 minute) to play a game or do another fun activity at the end of the lesson. If the whole word remains they can choose a game.

    3. Students don’t get on with each other

    It is only natural that students will want to sit with their friends, but it is important that students learn to work with different people. Most students will react reasonably if asked to work with someone new, but occasionally conflicts can arise. To help avoid uncomfortable situations, do team building activities, such as those below, at the beginning of the school year, and do them again whenever you feel that they would be beneficial:

    • Give students an icebreaker activity such as 'find a friend bingo' to help students find out more about each other.
    • Help students learn more about each other by finding out what they have in common.
    • Balloon race. Have two or more teams with an equal number of students stand in lines. Give each team a balloon to pass to the next student without using their hands. The first team to pass the balloon to the end of the line wins.
    • Team letter/word building. Call out a letter of the alphabet and have pairs of students form it with their bodies, lying on the floor. When students can do this easily, call out short words, e.g. cat, and have the pairs join up (e.g. three pairs = group of six) and form the letters to make the word.

    4. Students don’t know what to do

    When the instructions are given in English, there will inevitably be a few students who don’t understand what they have to do. It is essential to give clear, concise instructions and to model the activity before you ask students to start. To check students know what to do and clarify any problems:

    • Have one or more students demonstrate using an example.
    • Have one student explain the task in L1.
    • Monitor the task closely in the first few minutes and check individual students are on the right track.

    5. A student refuses to participate/do the task

    This is a frequent problem that can have many different causes. In the first few lessons, this may simply be shyness, but it is important to identify the cause early to devise an effective strategy. A few other causes might include:

    • Lack of language required to respond or do the task. Provide differentiation tasks or scaffolding to help students with a lower level complete the task or have them respond in a non-oral way.
    • Low self-confidence in their ability to speak English. Again, differentiation and scaffolding can help here. Have students work in small groups or pairs first, before being asked to speak in front of the whole class.
    • Lack of interest or engagement in the topic. If students aren’t interested, they won’t have anything to say. Adapt the topic or task, or just move on.
    • External issues e.g. a bad day, a fight with a friend, physical problems (tiredness/hunger/thirst). Talk to the student privately to find out if they are experiencing any problems. Allow them to 'pass' on a task if necessary, and give them something less challenging to do.

    It is important not to force students to do something they don’t want to do, as this will cause a negative atmosphere and can affect the whole class. Ultimately, if a student skips one or two tasks, it won’t affect their achievement in the long run.

    6. Students ask for repeated restroom/water breaks

    It only takes one student to ask to go to the restroom before the whole class suddenly needs to go! This can cause disruption and stops the flow of the lesson. To avoid this, make sure you have rules in place concerning restroom breaks:

    • Make sure students know to go to the restroom before the lesson.
    • Have students bring in their own water bottles. You can provide a space for them to keep their bottles (label them with student names) in the classroom and have students fill them daily at the drinking fountain or faucet.
    • Find out if anyone has any special requirements that may require going to the restroom.
    • Provide 'brain breaks' at strategic points in the lesson when you see students becoming restless.

    7. Students don’t have the required materials

    • Provide parents with a list of materials students will need on the first day.
    • If special materials are required in a lesson, give students a note to take home or post a message on the school platform several days before.
    • Don’t blame the student - whether they have a good reason or not for turning up to class empty-handed, making a child feel guilty will not help.
    • Write a note for parents explaining why bringing materials to class is important.

    8. Students are not listening/talking

    Getting their attention can be challenging if you have a boisterous class. Set up a signal you will use when you want them to pay attention to you. When they hear or see the signal, students should stop what they are doing and look at you. Some common signals are:

    • Raising your hand - When students see you raise your hand, they should raise their hands and stop talking. Wait until everyone is sitting in silence with their hands raised. This works well with older children and teenagers.
    • Call and response attention-getters - These are short phrases that prompt students to respond in a certain way, for example: Teacher: "1 2 3, eyes on me!" Students: "1 2 3, eyes on you!". Introduce a new attention-getter every few weeks to keep it fun. You can even have your students think up their own phrases to use.
    • Countdowns - Tell students what you want them to do and count backwards from ten to zero, e.g. "When I get to zero, I need you all to be quiet and look at me. 10, 9, 8 …"
    • Keep your voice low and speak calmly - This will encourage students to stop talking and bring down excitement levels.
    • A short song or clapping rhythm - With younger children, it is effective to use music or songs for transitions between lesson stages so they know what to do at each stage. For primary-aged children, clap out a rhythm and have them repeat it. Start with a simple rhythm, then gradually make it longer, faster, or more complex.