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.
Connecting with your students using simple creative activities
“We are all creative, but by the time we are three or four years old, someone has knocked the creativity out of us. Some people shut up the kids who start to tell stories. Kids dance in their cribs, but someone will insist they sit still. By the time the creative people are ten or twelve, they want to be like everyone else.” — Maya Angelou.
We want our kids to excel in everything they do. This is partly down to the media, which has fostered the idea of celebrity kids and football leagues that encourage kids to become professional athletes at the age of eight or younger.
However, we have missed the most crucial thing in their education – and that is to build their character through everyday creative activities which encourage the formation of human connections.
Moving from kindergarten to elementary school
Consider how nervous a first grader must feel after leaving the safe kindergarten playground and entering a strange new 'grown-up' world. The playgrounds are bigger, the kids are older, they have to line up to buy their first meal at the school cafeteria. The classroom has changed too: the desks look different, the books are bigger, and there are new challenges too.
Some are thrilled to feel part of the older kids’ environment. Others, of course, are frightened and insecure. They have to understand and accept all the new rules and regulations, which now apply to them too.
High expectations from parents must be met
We also have moms, dads and caregivers worried for their little ones. They have high hopes for them. They want their children to become successful learners, multi-medal athletes, excellent readers, mathematicians or perhaps scientists…
Professor David Healy, director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, said: “We want kids to conform to ideals based often on parental insecurities and ambitions.”
Elementary school has therefore become something resembling a battlefield, where children must thrive in spite of (and not because of) their interests. Only top grades and excellence in everything will make parents proud.
But what if a child is not successful? What if their reading skills are below average? What if their daydreaming about a trip to the moon doesn’t allow them to concentrate?
Then we have two lists of kids, the thriving kids with excellent grades and the other ones.
So how can we take the pressure off and help all kids to thrive? Here are some simple creative activities to help.
Reaching out to your students with a simple hello
When did we forget that education is about promoting playfulness, imagination, and creativity to build up confidence?
My very first and most important recommendation would be this:
Before you start a class, give yourself a moment to say "Hello" to each individual in your class. Take that moment to make eye contact with every student and see how they are doing that day.
Make this an important part of your routine. Then have them do the same with their classmates. You could even introduce phrases such as:
- "How was your day yesterday?"
- "How are you feeling today?"
- "What did you have for breakfast this morning?"
- "I notice you look nice today!"
You can also try another creative activity. Ask your students to say good morning to the new day and think of something they are grateful for or someone they are grateful to. For example:
- "Thank you mom, for my breakfast."
- "I am grateful because all my classmates are here."
- "Thank you moon, for your light every night."
These are just a few simple creative activities. But the most important thing to consider, if you want to introduce creativity in the classroom, is that every student needs to feel in a secure and welcoming environment, free of criticism or judgment of their ideas. If you achieve this in your classroom, you will be well on your way to exploring your students’ creativity and building new connections with them.
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In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.
You may have heard the term learning management system (LMS) at work or perhaps during your time in education. For many, this throws out images of clunky, outdated systems that clumsily distribute course materials and are tough to use. But that is no longer the case. Modern LMS's are far more user-friendly, and it's time to relearn what you thought you knew about these tools.
In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about learning management systems and why they are so beneficial.
What is a learning management system?
The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training.
This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management.
Who uses LMS's and why?
There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms:
HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit
Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler
Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations
Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms.
Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning.
Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students
Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause
Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's.
Who has access to LMS's?
In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.
Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.
On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.
However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher.
Key features in modern LMS's
There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include:
Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses
Access to subject matter experts who can contribute to learning and development activities
Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys
A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses
Quizzes and surveys for a more fun and engaging way to assess learners
Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain
Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets
Insights and analysis for individual progress and results, allowing administrators to identify gaps or areas where support is needed
Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go
Integrations with other internal systems and software
This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.
The benefits of using learning management systems
Saving time and money
First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training.
Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort.
Ensuring compliance training is completed
These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training.
Provide accurate data
Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.
Improves the learning experience
Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated.
Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials.