1. Don’t offer choices unless you can deliver both options. For example, “What would you like to do now - play a game or draw a picture?” If you don’t intend to deliver both options, don’t give the choice as those who aren’t doing what they chose will be disappointed and classroom momentum will be lost. Just tell them, with wild enthusiasm, what you are doing next. Keep charge of the situation.
2. If you have a particularly distracted or distractible group OR if you have a particularly long story to teach, get the children to multitask while you tell the story/do your direct teaching.
3. Make judicious use of competition. It can be very motivating if used carefully. There are a few points to consider:-
* It is not helpful to have children always competing for extrinsic rewards. Be selective.
* If you have a competition, only give a few prizes – if everyone wins one then this tool loses its power.
* Only use lollies as prizes with permission from the school and the classroom teacher. Be aware that some children are not allowed to have lollies and always be aware of the nut allergy problem. Other prizes include items of stationery, stickers, bookmarks...
* Prizes don’t have to be tangible – a prize can be to be chosen to participate in the next part of the lesson.
* Competition can be introduced by other means - eg.“I think you should be able to complete this in two minutes. I will time you. See if you can do it in less!” – no prizes but highly motivating to get something done. Great if you need them to get something done in a hurry.
* Consider a long range competition with a running score over several sessions. Or a whole class competition where they collect points together to reach a goal such as play a game.
4. Use games to – illustrate a point, break up a long teaching time, transition between parts of your lesson or as a reward or prize. This is where timed challenges come into their own.
5. Finish any activity, especially a game, at the peak of excitement. If the children beg you to keep playing say, “Yes, next week.” Then make sure you play it next week. The children will be yours and instantly motivated for the next lesson.
6. Do a craft activity. Either a small one that can be done as part of your lesson or give a whole lesson or two over to it and do a really wonderful craft activity. Think about what boys will like as well as girls. Just remember in a school situation to return the class and the classroom to its teacher in good order. Something other than the teacher talking and the children listening or bookwork every now and then works a treat.