How to Prepare Your Supplies
Before you read all the way through the lesson, take note of what materials are needed. As you read through, identify where in the lesson the materials are used and create a game plan for distributing the supplies to students. Will it already be ready for them at their seat when they walk in? Will you take a minute to pass the materials out?
Consider the lesson you are teaching and decide on what makes the most sense. It is also important to consider your unique class - you know what works best for them, so plan accordingly.
What If I Don’t Have the Materials Needed?
Sometimes the lesson may call for materials that you don’t have access to. Make note of any materials you do not have before you read the lesson. As you read through, note how those materials are used. Is there something else you can use in place of the materials? Can you modify or change the activity to instead use materials you do have? Don’t forget that whiteboards and dry erase markers can go a long way!
What If I Don’t Have Enough Materials?
Occasionally, you may run into the issue of having the materials, just not enough. If the lesson calls for each student to have a certain number of base-10 blocks, for example, you may find you simply don’t have enough base-10 blocks to make that happen. In this case, think about how you can modify the activity to use what you do have. Can students share the supplies by working in pairs or small groups? Could you call one student up at a time to use the supplies and model for the class? Be creative and use what you’ve got!
Gathering the Materials
Whether you decide to distribute the materials to students before class or during the lesson, it is helpful to have everything easily accessible before class starts. Some lessons do not require a lot of materials - for example, a lesson may only require student whiteboards and markers. However, some lessons require a lot of materials. For example, take a look at this materials list for the concept development portion of this 2nd grade lesson:
That’s a lot of materials! You’ll notice that the list of materials notes whether it is for the teacher (T) or students (S). For this lesson, not only does the teacher need his or her own materials, every pair of students needs 150 straws! If you have 20 students in your class, that’s 1500 straws.
This may be an activity you want to modify a little bit if you aren’t able to easily access 1500 straws. That said - you definitely don’t want to be counting out 150 straws for each pair of students during your lesson. This is something that can (and should) be prepped in advance.
For this lesson, I would grab some gallon bags and place the materials for each pair of students in one easy bag. 150 straws and 16 rubber bands would go in each bag (I would also probably recruit some help to count out those straws!), and then I could easily pass out the bags to the students when it was time for the lesson.
What If I Don’t Want to Count Out 1500 Straws???
I don’t blame you! And you can certainly modify the activity if you want. For example, instead of students working in pairs, you could do this as a whole group activity so that you only need to prep one set of 150 straws.
HOWEVER, it is important to note that most of the time, the most hands-on and engaging lessons require the most materials. This particular lesson happens to be great for building an understanding of place value, and by turning it into a whole group activity, you will be taking away some of the value of the activity. If that’s what needs to happen, then it needs to happen. Just try not to omit these kinds of activities too often, or the lessons will not be as effective.
The best advice I have for prepping your materials is to plan ahead! Each Module Overview includes a list of suggested materials for the module. If you can plan ahead and make sure you have the supplies you need ahead of time, it will save you a lot of time later! Also, looking ahead to future lessons can help you know which lessons will require more time to prep so that you can plan accordingly.
And before you take those 150 straws out of the bags - wait! Look ahead at the other lessons in the module, because sometimes it has students using the same materials as a previous lesson. This can be a huge timesaver if you are able to reuse supplies that have already been prepped!
Alright, now that you’ve prepared your lesson and the supplies, it’s time to actually teach! But what does teaching each component of the lesson look like? In the next few blog posts, we’ll take an in-depth look at each of the components and how to teach them.
- Classroom Teacher
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