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It is important to be intentional during instruction. When you are instilling knowledge in a child, this is a form of instruction.  Every child learns differently, so it is important to be mindful of how we present information to them, so they can retain and apply it.



Effective teaching does not mean, you - - the instructor, do, or have to explain everything.  For knowledge to be retained there are a mix of approaches, that allow learners to make meaning of what they learn, to explain it back to you and develop confidence and mastery.  Sometimes this involves them working with each other, applying what they learned and / or teaching the group.  Sometimes this involved consolidating knowledge by writing it down, or reading some of the instructions out-loud.  In some cases, movement or kinesthetic methods help campers retain what they have learned.   


Have a plan for each day (Preparation is the key to success) / Reflect on your personal teaching style (Are there any pros and cons to your preferred style of instructing?) Provide campers with models so that there is a clear understanding of the expectation. Diversify your lesson - remembering that not all campers learn the same way. Here are some guidelines for developing a range of instructional strategies:

  •   ONLINE & IN-PERSON: Diversifying Your Lesson

Lesson variety is an important aspect of effective instruction. This practice promotes student engagement and allows for the program staff to reach more campers. In brief, a lesson with some variety of approaches includes:

- something visual

- a prop, or something tactile

- a game or activity; perhaps encouraging movement and / or working in pairs or small groups

- a chance for expertise; to consolidate knowledge and present back what has been learned

  •   ONLINE & IN-PERSON: A Learning Activity

Generate a learning activity for every lesson. Consider having an activity prior to a debate round.

Ideas include:

- Connect the Dots

- Think-Pair-Share (See Check for Understanding)

- Groups work on Pro-Con

- Refutation activity [Groups of 4] 

Present the information using diverse mediums in order to expose them to photos, graphs, videos, etc. This will engage the wide array of learners, such as those who learn more by seeing, or by speaking, or in some case through re-enacting / moving or re-creating visual (auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile learners)

  •   ONLINE & IN-PERSON: Gradual release of responsibility

There are three components to allowing campers to achieve mastery of a skill on their own:


I do = The program staff models what to do 

Eg. Program staff provides a definition of refutation and then an example of how to refute 

We do = Guided practice with the campers

 Eg. Program staff and campers practice refuting points together

You do = Campers do it independently

Eg. Campers practice refutations with a partner

  •   ONLINE & IN-PERSON: Provide Models

Provide prompt → make use of the prompt → Guide students as they develop independence.

E.g. IDEAS: Introduce concept, Demonstrate idea, Explain idea, do the Activity, Summarize the concept

Some children may not necessarily need modelling, but there is always a child that does. Nonetheless, it provides clarity to all, and ultimately eliminates questions and confusion.



Remember the three Cs verbal instruction and modelling:

- Be Clear, 

- Be Consistent

- Be Concise


IN-PERSON:  You are trying to design a lesson for younger campers that will attempt to introduce the complex idea of a political spectrum.  You have met the group already this week, and you are fairly certain they can grasp it and apply it in a debate round. How do you design a lesson for this - - that would ensure all campers in your group mastered the concept?

ONLINE: You are working with an advanced group and they are trying to understand how arguments can be impacted.  Some campers appear to understand it, others less so.  How do you adjust your approach mid lesson to ensure they all understand and master the skill over the next few days at camp?






Name one reason why instructors should plan their activities in advance. 

Describe the "Gradual Release Model" and how it can be applied in camp sessions. 

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