Teaching Tip – Capitalize on Those Moments

I am a very organized teacher. I have an extensive long range plan that breaks down what I am doing in the classroom term by term and week by week. I write detailed day plans for each and every single day of the year as well.

This sounds like a lot of work, but I assure you, it really isn’t. In fact, it even saves me time as I always have a road map there for me.

Of course, in teaching there is always something that pops up to derail even the best laid plans. Sometimes you just want to tear your hair out because it is almost impossible to fit everything that you would like to into your week.

That being said, some of the things that might seem like unwanted diversions can be teachable moments.

I believe that as teachers, we have a responsibility to teach more than what is laid out in the curriculum. We need to teach children about health and safety concerns, life and social skills, and cooperation strategies.

Sometimes the best way to teach these things is in moments that pop up without any warning at all.

So today’s tip is to

1) Recognize the moment.
2) Take the time to go out on a tangent.
3) And capitalize on that teachable moment.

Some of my best lessons have been the impromptu ones that I never planned. They just happened spontaneously based on a simple question a student has asked or an activity that we have been doing. These lessons are priceless and the students get a lot out of them.

I know that I have covered why we need to wear helmets and seat belts just this way. I don’t think that lesson is anywhere in the curriculum. Yet, I loved the impromptu lesson I came up with on the spot, the drawing I did on the board, and the story I told about an embarrassing skateboard wipe-out. The students got a lot out of it too. We covered science topics in this short lesson as well.

After that going off on that tangent, we got back to the actual planned lesson for the day and I think we were all better off for the detour.

Have you had any great impromptu teaching moments?

I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or write an entire post for a future installment of Teaching Tip Tuesdays. Teachers helping teachers is what it is all about.

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