Many children have learned life lessons through stories, whether they be Aesop’s Fables or fairytales. They’ve already become used to learning through narratives and those narratives almost always have a beginning, middle and end. For students who seem methodical and focused on the story aspect of any problem, one strategic teaching method is to plan your lessons with a specfic beginning, middle and end to share.
When people, including your students, encounter something that they don’t recognize, they compare it with prior experiences and knowledge. This is known as the perceiving stage of Aldus Huxley’s “The Art of Seeing.” So give your class a lesson beginning that references the knoweldge that they already have and you’ll see students making connections a lot sooner. Some beginnings that take advantage of that prior knowledge could include prediction activities on what they’ll learn or brainstorming for ideas on how to solve a particular problem.
The middle of the lesson should be the most engaging. This is where your students are remembering – filing significant images in their long-term memory – and learning. Learning, especially for children, involves the use of patterns, relationships and figuring out how causes and effects relate to each other. Use these learning patterns to create a lesson middle that takes advantage of the way that we naturally learn.
Finally, you wnat to find a way to give your students a satisfying ending to the narrative that has become your lesson plan. This can include identifying any new and interesting material the students have learned or encouraging them to ask more questions about the source material (for instance, writing a letter to the author of a book used to ask her a question). Pay attention and be creative!