I just started a few weeks ago teaching the first graders on Sunday morning. They are so cute and funny and smart and I love them! But I'm woefully ignorant about kids -- I was the youngest in my family, and I don't have any children yet (sigh). So I'd like some advice:
Well, I teach at the college level, but sometimes it doesn't seem all that different, so I think I may be able to offer some advice.
How can I help them to remember what they've learned?
Mnemonic devices are fun and helpful, but repetition is the heart and soul of pedagogy! Bring it up again and again and again.
How can I wisely mix fun with learning?
Tell stories that illustrate your points. Make jokes and sing songs that are sort of on-topic. Have them play games that use the concepts they are learning.
How can I help them stay on the subject?
Minds will wander. Just gently bring them back.
How can I encourage the ones who often give wrong answers?
Try not to correct them any more than absolutely necessary. For instance, you can give them a chance to correct themselves. Say, "Is the answer 4 or 5? Yes, that's right! It's 5!" Or you can say things like, "Hmm... that's not quite right. 5 is the answer. But you were close!"
How can I curb the giggling about poop?
I don't even try. Hey, I enjoy a good poop giggle myself.
How do I help the quiet ones get more involved
You can usually get some of them to speak by making direct eye-contact and smiling encouragingly. Others need to be called on. But if calling on them puts them on the spot and scares them, then the best approach is to go talk to them individually while the class is doing group-work. I teach foreign languages, and a lot of students are just terrified to speak in class. So, to give everyone equal practice time, while the class is working on an assignment, I go around and chat for a few seconds with the quiet ones. Some of them gain confidence this way and eventually start to speak up on their own. With others, I have to do this for the whole semester. But, whatever works!