Whether you teach students in a classroom setting, homeschool your children or simply want to supplement your kids ‘ education it is important to choose the best learning materials for the job. Many learning materials cost money. All cost time and effort to find and use them. Use these resources wisely by carefully evaluating learning materials before you make the investment. Choose only the ones that will help you help students most effectively.
Clarify the goals of your curriculum and the learning materials. The two need to match in order for the materials to be effective. Consider, for example, a curriculum goal of making change by counting back coins. Material that builds skill with solving story problems involving adding monetary amounts would not be an appropriate tool to teach the skill. Instead, the activity should provide direct practice with making change, either with coins or manipulatives.
Match the learning materials to the situation where you teach. If you work with a group, be sure the learning materials are suitable for group use. If students work individually, choose materials that are appropriate for individual use. Consider too how much supervision and assistance will be needed to use the materials, and whether you are in a position to provide it.
Choose learning materials that best meet students’ needs. The activities should address the students’ primary learning styles and be attuned to their preferences for visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning.
Ensure that the learning materials are sequentially organized. Step-by-step presentation will help nearly all students achieve the desired goals. Smaller steps will increase students’ success, especially for those with special needs. A slower pace will be appropriate for struggling learners, while a faster pace will challenge accelerated learners.
Use learning materials that are age-appropriate, are free from bias and present balanced examples that do not glamorize discrimination. For students needing remedial help, make sure the materials feature characters, situations and activities that match their age rather than their academic achievement level. Be careful that advanced students do not encounter inappropriately mature discussions and information.