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The Teacher Tip

Structuring Your Schedule Around Your Students

August 7, 2018

Adapted from Kids First from Day One by Christine Hertz & Kristine Mraz. 

Every time you structure your day or plan a lesson, put yourself in your students’ shoes. How does it feel from their perspective? Think back to when you were the age of the children you teach. Children and adults perceive the same things very differently. When you think about your day and your space, try to be mindful of the unique needs of your group of children, and change things up if you need to. Here are some examples about how to tackle your daily class schedule, while keeping students’ needs in mind:

  • Time: How would this amount of time feel to the children in my class? Does this seem like it is within the reach of their stamina?
  • Choice: What are the children’s choices in this? Can I give them any more choice or flexibility?
  • Materials/Space: What materials am I presenting to children? Are they engaging, size-appropriate, and useful? What about the space? Is it conductive to all students’ needs?
  • Agency: Does this lesson/activity/material give power or take power from children? Does this lead to active problem solving or passive response?
  • Independence: Is this something I am doing for a child, or something the child can do for him- or herself? Can I do less so the child can do more?
  • Relevance: How does this connect to what the children already know, wonder about, love? 
  • Willpower/Energy: How much energy will children have to expend? Can I add in more unstructured elements to children are not just following rules and directions, but instead thinking and problem solving? 

To learn more about Kids First from Day One and download a sample chapter, visit 

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