Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Planning an Assembly Item
In the same way as you would when planning a lesson, decide on your learning objectives. Keep them few and simple. You'll have at most 10 minutes to fill, and you'll have to spend some time giving out information. What you choose is less important than the ways in which you help your pupils build a positive group identity, and in making the values and purposes of the school their own. Assemblies, are important in supporting the social, moral and spiritual growth of your pupils.
Use music to set the mood, turning it off is a clear signal to even the largest groups that you're about to begin. Don't be afraid to use new technologies - a laptop and a portable projector can produce images that everyone in a large hall can see, and can let you share content from any medium.
Assembly rooms are bigger than classrooms. Will everyone be able to hear you? What about lines of sight - will everyone be able to see you? If you have visual aids, are they big enough to be visible from a distance?
Eye contact is especially important when you're working with large groups, so pick three or four pupils in different parts of the room, and make eye contact with each of them in turn. You'll look engaged with the audience. Aim to involve your audience. If the core of your item is a story, begin by asking questions to help pupils focus on its subject, and remember that stories are better told than read.
Master the bones of the story then improvise around that structure. What you say will sound more personal and convincing. Remember to speak more slowly than usual, too. Give your words time to sink in.
Make pupils work. If one of your learning objectives is to get them to examine and to change their views on an issue, begin by taking a vote to establish what they think before your presentation, and take another after it.
Use your tutor group or class to research and deliver their own presentation, perhaps as a short play or interview. It's a good use of tutorial time, and will involve the performers in real learning. Relate the subject of your assembly to pupils' own experience - take news items as your starting point, or situations from soap opera (or, even better, from The Simpsons). Help them take what they know and encourage them to think about it, and reflect on their own experience
Finally, remember that pupils will be going off to lessons after you've finished with them, so don't over-excite them. Your colleagues won't thank you if they have to spend too much of the lesson to calm them down. End your assembly with a couple of minutes for reflection.
Ideas for Assembly Items
• Keep it simple. There is plenty of time for all-singing, all-dancing extravaganzas once you have found your feet.
• Encourage children to brainstorm when you are planning your class assembly. Even young children will come up with exciting and fresh ideas.
• Child-generated props, masks and costumes add to the fun.
• Involve parents. Does your school usually invite parents to class assemblies? It may be a nice idea to record the assembly on video. The children will love to watch themselves performing, and working parents will appreciate the opportunity to see the assembly, although some schools and local authorities have policies that would preclude this.
• Ensure that every child has a part to play. No one must feel left out.
• Don't get too stressed about it. Assemblies should not interfere with classroom time.
Assemblies are unfortunately rife with opportunities for enterprising individuals to create havoc. Make sure your class understands that you expect them to file in and out calmly, and praise those who do, as well as children who have been particularly co-operative. Position your children carefully. Separate any noisy cliques and friendship groups. Position any who can be disruptive at the end of the line and sit within calming distance. A touch on the shoulder and a stern look are often enough to quieten a child. If not, you are close enough to remove offenders quietly.
Taken from TES Editorial, 2012 Advice to help you handle your first assembly TSL Education Ltd. Cited 20.10.2012. URL: http://newteachers.tes.co.uk/news/advice-help-you-handle-your-first-assembly/45539