How to Introduce New Skills to Your Students

How to Introduce New Skills to Your Students

Picture this: a brand new gadget has just been released on the market. You’re told this new tool will make working easier AND be fun to use, but there’s a very specific way to use it. Now, lucky you! You’ve been hand selected to be a beta tester of this product. No instruction manual. No walkthrough. Nothing. Would you feel ready to understand everything about this product all on your own? Not likely.

This is probably a very similar feeling many of our students have when we present them with a new tool or task – even if it’s something we take for granted like scissors or a glue stick.  These simple tools are anything but simple to our students.

What would be a better way? What if there was someone there to help them? Someone who was available to walk them through in a way that gave them the confidence to be able to take on this new tool or skill head on. Good news, there is! Let me introduce you to “Show Me, Guide Me, Let Me Try.”

1. Show Me

During the “Show Me” phase, the main goal is for you to pique your students interest, give clues about what to do, and then allow the students to brainstorm their own ideas on what the object is or does.

Watch as Miss Charla uses this technique to introduce a mirror to her students by describing its features and uses:

2. Guide Me

Now that you’ve introduced your students to a tool, it’s time to let them have the chance to use it and exploring its features – with your guidance, of course! During the “Guide Me” phase, you will ensure students know how to use the tool and keep safety top of mind during this experimentation time. 

Watch as Ms. Peek guides her class on how to do several exercises in her health and wellness class. She even has a volunteer alongside her to practice and experiment as she explains the process!

3. Let Me Try

Finally, during the “Let Me Try” phase, the students have a supervised opportunity to use the tool or try the activity in pairs, small groups, or independently. Stay close by and be available to answer questions or problem solve as issues arise. With your help, they’ll be experts in no time!

Ready to Give it a Go?

Whether it’s a new technology, a crafting tool, or a center to explore, the “Show Me, Guide Me, Let Me Try” method works for them all! Check out this sample lesson plan for introducing mirrors to your classroom. Download yours and adapt this technique for a new activity in your classroom. 

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