Gather objects and supplies that have to do with a series’ topic. For example, if you are introducing lessons on gardening, bring in packets of seeds, fresh cut flowers, some fruits and veggies, pots, gardening gloves, shovels, and a watering can. Pass them around so each participant can look at, smell, and touch the items. Identify each object. If an object is new, talk about it and share about its origin and use. Then have your participants guess what all the objects have in common.
Invite someone you know from the community to speak to participants! For example, if you are introducing a series on cooking, invite someone who works as a chef at a cafeteria or restaurant or someone who cooks meals regularly for his or her family. Have questions prepared that participants can ask the special guest. Meeting and hearing from someone who has actual experience and knows the topic well is a great way to get participants interested in the upcoming lessons.
Travel to places that you will return to after you have completed the lessons. For example, if individuals will be volunteering at a local park, see what the park is like by taking a visit there. Have everyone use their senses to observe. Take notes of the wildlife seen, what plants are growing, what the pathways are like, what condition the playground is in, and what projects may need to be done to improve the park.
Play music to hook participants into the series! For example, before you teach the social skill series about basic interactions, perhaps you play "Smile" by Nat King Cole, "Happy" by Pharrel Williams, or any other song that will make everyone smile. You can create a playlist of several songs with the same theme and see if they can guess what the songs have in common!
Divide a white board, poster board, or chart paper into 3 columns. Label the far left one KNOW, the middle one WANT to Know, and the right one LEARNED. Tell the group the name of the series. As a group, fill in the first two columns by listing what participants already know about the topic in the far left column, and then listing what people want to learn about the topic in the middle column. After you do the lessons, return to the chart and fill in the L column by listing all the things that were learned.