Teaching is a challenging job, whether you are in charge of a traditional public school classroom or tutoring a single child in a language. Fortunately, there are many aids and accessories available to make the job easier. Though some cost money, others are available for free or easily manufactured from household items or on your computer.
Worksheets are handouts the students complete to practice their skills. They give the students a chance to get further repetition without taking the teacher's full-time attention. While all students complete their worksheets, the teacher can focus on the individual students who need the most help. Worksheets are also a common form of homework assignment. A student's performance on worksheets can also be used to gauge the student's progress on that particular subject.
Textbooks are books containing information about a particular subject, organized in a manner calculated to make presenting the information easier. Teachers can read a textbook to confirm or expand their personal knowledge and/or assign readings from a textbook for students to complete. Many textbooks also include quizzes or review questions to help assess how well students have comprehended what they have read. Publishing companies often release matched pairs of textbooks with workbooks (books full of worksheets) on the same subject matter.
Realia are artifacts from the real world that are related to the subject matter being studied. Students can interact with the realia to gain better perspective on what they are studying. For example, students practicing Spanish conversation can role play ordering at a restaurant using real menus printed in Spanish from a Mexican restaurant. Other examples include photographs, road maps and that frog you dissected in biology class.
Often among the most popular with the students, multimedia presentations use video, audio or both to present information. Films, videos and film strips are all examples of multimedia teaching aids. Most school districts have libraries of multimedia presentations, avoiding the need for teachers to spend personal funds on these expensive aids.
A number of tools have been designed to help the teacher put information in a place all the students can see it during class. Examples include chalk boards, whiteboards, overhead projectors, bulletin boards, felt boards and in-focus machines.
Besides tools used during presentation, teachers have access to a variety of tools to help manage and maintain their curriculum. Lesson planning books, attendance rosters, grade books and teachers' guides to subjects or textbooks are common examples of this kind of tool. Even a simple appointment calendar can be an indispensable administrative aid to most teachers.
- Beverlee Brick, Classroom Teacher, Hillsboro, Ore.
- Kim Kincaid, Classroom Teacher, Hillsboro, Ore.
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