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Tips for Using Resources in Afterschool Programs

Subject Tips:
Healthy Living
Social Studies

General Tips:
Classroom Strategies
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Healthy Living Tips

Always have written handouts available to promote literacy. Children may want to read about healthy eating and exercise. Handouts should be fun to read and colorful.

Invite a health expert to speak to your afterschool students.

Ask students to create posters of the five food groups and sample "healthy" meals.

Overcome the language and cultural barrier by providing handouts in the native language and bringing in an expert who can speak the native language.

Create a school or community wide initiative to bring about awareness to the issue of healthy relationships.

Developing a rapport with the children is extremely important. Get them interested by using humor, relating to their experiences and enacting role-playing scenarios.

Tailor role-playing situations to appropriately fit the age group. (Examples: dating abuse, sibling rivalry, etc.)

Create word puzzles that emphasize the steps for peer mediation.

Encourage all staff to be active in detecting bullying. Staff should recognize the signals of a bully and a person being bullied.

Ask the kids to do research on the upper respiratory system and its relationship to asthma. Then, ask the kids to develop a game around the upper respiratory system.

Involve parents in asthma awareness by developing parent workshops.

Math Tips

Institute a formal "Math Time," when kids can play with math-related activities.

Get kids to come up with their own categories for Sort It Out.

Use Pattern Play to create a beat, then get kids to recite multiplication tables and dance to the beat.

Have teens teach Pattern Play to the younger kids.

Get kids to join the Cyberchase Club.

When a party is coming up, give kids a budget and guide them through the process of figuring out how much it will cost.

Get kids to bake cookies, and have them figure out how many they need to make and how to multiply the recipe.

Get kids to make 3-Dimensional shapes as part of an arts and crafts project.

Use hands-on math activities in parent-child workshops.

Have students sort types of numbers (eg: fractions, whole numbers, negative numbers) to identify misconceptions.

Have students walk around to gather data about the afterschool facility; then, they can sort the data.

Have kids clean-up by "sorting" objects into their proper places.

Have older kids make their own "For Real" video to teach younger kids a math concept.

Tie math to literacy by having students count beats in poetry.

Start investment programs for kids.

Use a pencil and paper instead of a calculator.

Science Tips

Expand current math activities to include science experiments. You can focus on measurements and cooking.

Implement an entire series of workshops/activities based on resource use, hands on learning, and experimental learning.

Create a service learning project dealing with environmental issues.

Explore the connections between sports and nutrition using Plastic Fork Diaries.

Create terrariums -- based on plant life in the neighborhood -- to use with Backyard Jungle/ Creature Feature

Use Drops on a Penny, supported by the Web site, to help staff understand how to teach kids science.

Literacy Tips

Group leaders should make time for partner reading (kids reading to one another) in addition to reading to the students daily.

Incorporate group work and Q & A sessions with the multimedia lesson plans.

Hold a Spelling Bee based on a theme idea. Kids can choose the themes.

Include arts activities when reading with the kids. For example, after reading The Three Little Pigs to kindergarteners, have them make character puppets out of felt fabric.

Have kids work as a team to brainstorm ideas for the Super Me Commercial.

Use the Super Me Commercial to bring shy kids out of their shells.

Have kids choose a favorite product; then, ask them to create a new commercial for it.

Have group discussions about current events; make sure kids aren't afraid to ask questions.

Social Studies Tips

Use current media and current events to provoke and engage discussion from students, which leads to an expression project (journaling, debating, letters to the editor).

Have kids choose a famous minority woman and ask if they came in contact with Jim Crow laws.

Use a competitive trivia game with Freedom: A History of US.

Video Tips

Let the kids create their own endings to PBS videos.

Show videos to parents to get them excited about the program.

With little kids, ask them to explain what's going on while they watch.

Coordinate your program with a TV schedule, so kids can take breaks with PBS.

Computer Tips

Put media files (sound, video) on a disc, then use show the clip on one computer/projector for all the students.

Use multimedia resources (websites, television programs, video clips, sound files, and photographs) to enrich learning.

Older kids can use Web-based activities to gain a familiarity with using the Internet.

Students can access Web sites and learn/read at their own pace. Web-based learning is ideal for self-directed literacy activities because learners don't have the added pressure of performing in front of their peers.

Have parent workshops with the Web sites to get buy-in.

If you don't have computers, print out online activities and hand them out to kids.

Take kids to the library -- it's a fun trip, and they'll have internet access.

Classroom Strategies

Incorporate role play to improve comprehension.

Utilize guest speakers/personal testimonies to underscore important lessons.

Encourage students take part in the creation/direction of activities.

Divide students into smaller groups to allow them to share opinions and make decisions collectively.

Use parts of the lesson plans in order to accommodate schedule and curriculum needs.

Allow students to reflect on how a particular topic relates to their lives.

Get students to participate in teaching.

Have students work in groups with kids they like, but ask them to decide up front what their group roles will be.

Incorporate breaks in the activities.

After students have gone through an activity, ask them to reflect on what was challenging about it.

Keep parents informed about your activities; then, they can continue them at home.

Take time to prepare; by previewing material, you can find connections to students' lives and current classes.

Have the staff learn with the kids in a collaborative environment.

Ask kids to explain what they're doing when they're playing with hands-on activities.

Use students' interests to prompt learning (eg: an interest in baseball can help kids learn about statistics).

After doing an activity, ask kids to decide together which strategies helped them complete their tasks -- and why.

Use the community: going to the zoo or the park can be helpful for teaching science.

After field trips, have kids draw or write about what they see; that way, they can incorporate art and literacy into their experience.

Post the View-Read-Do triangle.

Give the homework to parents, too.

Teach kids that in order to get where they want to be, they must be respectful, responsible, and always keep on trying.

Art Tips

Create a photography or drawing project involving history, the students' surroundings, and the students themselves.

Create a performance piece to bring awareness to an issue that the students think is important

Allow students to videotape an activity and incorporate editing techniques into the production of the project.

Tips contributed by:
Jose Cruz, Phipps West Farms Beacon
Puiyan Ng, Greenbelt Environmental Education Department
Ehene Nuokeye, Friends of Island Academy
Kimberly Orcholski
Ruben Rangel
Kim Wilson, PS 86 Afterschool Enrichment Program

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