If you are a classroom assistant you don’t often (if ever) need to come up with practice activities for students to try, but there are still many ways you can help out in a classroom. Here are five to consider.
It may seem like there isn’t much to do while a teacher is lecturing or giving instructions to students, but one way you can help is by modeling student behavior. Whatever the teacher expects the students to do (take notes, look at the board, raise your hand to ask for clarification) you can demonstrate it. (This is also a great time to brainstorm open ended comprehension questions that you can ask students later during practice activities).
2. Let Absent Students Know They are Missed
If nothing happens to acknowledge an absence a student might get the wrong impression that no one noticed he/she was gone. To prevent this, when a students return to class, great them warmly by name and say something like, “Glad to see you back.” If a student has an extended absence you can offer to call to check in. You might leave a message such as, “We miss you in English class. I hope everything is ok. We hope to see you soon.”
3. Tally the Responses
You most likely already check for understanding as part of your volunteer position. You can take this a step further by making a tally. If the teacher is interested in having you do so, obtain a copy of the handout students are working with and a clipboard. As you float around the room, write notes and track how many people get problems correct/incorrect and note any patterns of confusion. Also take note of any responses that are great examples worth sharing with the class. Report to the teacher so she can make informed decisions about what will happen next.
4. Cell Phone Navigation Help
Sometimes students have new phones and they don’t yet know how to put them on vibrate or silence them, or how to turn them back up again after class. They may have other questions about their phones as well. A whole class lesson is impractical since phones vary so much, so this is a great topic for a quick one to one tutoring session during a break or before class. The teacher will appreciate having fewer disruptions caused by phones.
5. Welcome Early Arrivals
Some students arrive early for class while the teacher is occupied with last minute preparations. If there is a sign-in procedure you can take over supervising it while the teacher takes care of other preparations. If there is a routine warm up activity you can offer to lead it while the teacher does other last minute tasks, such as welcoming brand new students.
Do you have some additional innovative and fun ideas for classroom assistants? Share in the comments below.
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