We realistically need about 47 minutes to cover this issue properly, but since nobody has time for that, let’s get to it!
I want to talk about the difference between a skill and an activity.
- A skill is the ability to do something.
- An activity is an opportunity to practice that skill.
A lot of times in our classrooms, we get those things mixed up, and a lot of curriculum has us doing more activities than skill-building. This leads to a lot of confusion for kids, because they haven’t mastered a skill and yet they’re already having to apply it into an activity!
Here’s how to change our practice towards focusing on skills rather than activities:
I want you to focus on this one question to get to the skill.
- What do I want kids to be able to do?
Then the second question gets you to the activity.
- How can I organize practice or opportunities for practice with the skill?
Remember, if you don’t have a solid foundation of the skill, then do not – I repeat, do not! – move on to the activity.
For more help and tips on how to dive into more ideas on how to organize your teaching in a way to focus on skill-building, check out our books.