10 Great Ideas to Smash your next School Assembly
Writing a memorable whole school assembly can be a challenge for busy teachers but if you follow our 10 great tips you can put one together in no time.
Let's dive right in...
1. Plan it!
Children even as young as 5 are very clever creatures and can tell if enough effort has not gone into an assembly. The children will generally listen very well if they pick up the vibes and can tell that you have taken the time to prepare something for them. They know that it is 15 or 20 minutes of their concentration and so demand a certain amount of preparedness!
Even if it is a couple of slides. It is always a good idea to have a Power point at hand so that it shows that you have thought about whatever it is that you want the children to learn.
2. Make it age-relevant
Younger children need more repetition and more visuals to draw them in. Make sure your language is simple and keep to easier concepts that they are familiar with. Using fairy tale characters for younger children builds familiarity and always helps. There is scope for challenge and being more adventurous if you audience is older! Keep key concepts you are teaching clear and make your messages very explicit.
3. Time it right
Make sure you don’t run over into lesson time and it certainly not make you very popular with the children if you run over into play time! Pitch it so that the assembly is short, pacey and interesting.
It is always worth having a short poem or anecdote to tell the children, if you have a few minutes left.
4. Volume, intonation and pace!
Make sure your assembly isn’t too slow and boring or you go on about the same thing for too long. Also remember to make sure you speak slowly and are loud enough so that the children understand you. Remember to be expressive vary your tone of voice a little.
5. Set up before the children come in
Set up any power points or any props before the children come in so that you are free to crowd control and manage behaviour. Even if you stand at the front without doing anything, your calm presence at the start will set the standard for behaviour for the rest of the assembly.
6. Set the standard
The way the children come into assembly and how they leave says a lot about your assemblies. Make sure you are a calm presence and insist on good behaviour at the start of the assembly. This will set the standard for behaviour for the rest of the assembly.
7. Have visual prompts
This could be as simple as something in your hand or a prop on a table. A power point to focus the children or a film clip could help draw the children’s interest.
8. Audience participation
It is always a good idea to break up narration with a series of questions. Getting a few children up to demonstrate something or have partner talk to a particular question. If you are reading a story, get the children to repeat a phrase while telling a story or getting a few volunteers up to mime parts of it.
9. Have a bit of humour!
It doesn’t have to win an Oscar winning performance but it always helps if you are enthusiastic about your own presentation and are generally entertaining. Come across as positive and being a bit of fun always helps.
Don’t over hype your assembly by being “over-fun” either! This just creates lots of excitement and noise which is impossible to settle the children! Always make sure you are sensitive to the needs of the audience you are presenting to and never, ever embarrass anyone or show anyone up in your assembly.
10. File it!
So many times, I have done a great assembly and can’t repeat it a few years later. I simply haven’t filed it and so it gets lost! Always put away a good assembly or a great story that went down well. If a colleague does a good assembly, make sure you write it down and have it for next time!
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