1) Keep lessons short and simple.
After a long day of sitting a desk in the classroom, the kids will be tired and their short attention spans will be even shorter. Keep your entire class to 30-45 minutes.
For a productive class that also is fun and engaging try dividing each class into three parts. Each part will last around 10-15 minutes each. Using this template for each class will let the kids know what to expect and make planning easier for you.
- Part one: Review the topic from the last class.
Give a brief overview of what you did last week. Check in with your students. Ask how they did with their projects on this topic over the week. A reminder will help them retain the information they are learning by hearing it more than once.
- Part two: Introduce a new topic.
This is the fun part! Make sure you have narrowed down the topic to something that the students can implement and understand. Invite them to ask questions and try it out on their camera. Hands-on classes let them fully absorb and comprehend the subject matter.
- Part three: Have a photo share time.
Students’ work will progressively get better throughout the class. You will be excited to see them grow as a photographer. Encourage them to bring in their photos. What worked for them? What didn’t work for them? How can they improve?
The first day of the session there won’t be anything to review, so use the icebreaker we mentioned earlier. Getting the students to talk about themselves will help you understand what they are interested in and find ways to tailor the class to keep them learning and engaged.
2) Keep class sizes small.
When you are first starting to teach, a large class with eager and excited kids may be overwhelming. I suggest a class size of 10-12 kids. This size lets you get to know them and have an easier time remembering their names. Also, a smaller class size ensures everyone gets a chance to share their work throughout the course of the club. If there is a lot of interest in the club, you may have to create a waiting list. If this happens, offer two after school club sessions; one for each semester. If you use the Digital Photography Curriculum Bundle you could divide the lessons to go for approximately 6 to 8 weeks.
3) Keep it fun.
After school, kids don’t want anything that resembles school work. Skip the tests and grades and focus on learning and fun. A light-hearted atmosphere will keep the kids excited. You could also print a photographer badge for each of the students. This is super fun for them and is also a great way for you to keep track of their names.
When reviewing the prior week’s lesson, incorporate games, such as hangman or tic-tac-toe. Use activity sheets with fill in the blanks, crossword puzzles and word finds. You can also include card games such as memory, 3 kings and flash cards. There’s also a game called “What’s in your bag” to help students identify photography gear.
Lastly, encourage students to bring in their favorite images to share. Keep the feedback positive. Have students share with other students what they like about the images they share.
Want to take it one step further... check out these tips for teaching a Kids Photography Camp!
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