Today, my students had an amazing opportunity: one of my Grade 2 students from last year came down to the class to teach an art lesson. This student attended an art camp in the summer, and he learned cartooning. He planned a cartooning mini-lesson for my class and then a follow-up design challenge too.
It was incredible to watch. (Please note that external speakers will help with the sound.)
Here’s what this eight-year-old taught me today:
1) Breaking down instructions is important. This student went step-by-step through how to make a cartoon character. He demonstrated each part of the process, and he gave the chance for all students to follow along with him. These short instructions accompanied by a visual model made a difference. All students were successful because all students knew exactly what to do.
2) Talk less. As a teacher, I know that reducing “teacher talk” is important, but as I watched today’s lesson, I realized just how much we can reduce what we say. This student said little but showed a lot. I think there’s value in this.
3) Watch your students. In the video, you can see just how often this student looks down, scans the room, and makes sure that everyone is doing what they need to do. Students should drive our lessons, and this student ensures that they do.
4) The quieter that you are, the quieter that your students will be too. You help set the tone for the class. All of the students remained calm and quiet throughout the lesson, and the “student teacher” remained calm and quiet as well. The students followed his example, and he set a great one!
5) Pacing matters. In the video, you can see that as the lesson goes on, this student realizes the value of pacing even more. He never goes too fast, but he ensures that he doesn’t go too slow either. He waits to make sure that the class is ready for him to move on, but he knows the he doesn’t need to wait for everyone. He ensures that he doesn’t lose the students by moving too slowly or too quickly.
Thank you to this incredible eight-year-old that not only taught a great art lesson where all students experienced success, but also taught me some valuable lessons.
Have you ever had a student teach your class before? What did you learn from him/her? I would love to hear about your experiences as well!