If you are like me, your life tends to be filled with a sort of controlled chaos. Throughout my teaching career, my classroom always gave the impression of it teetered on the brink of falling apart. My life as a parent sometimes feels the same — and that I wouldn’t have it any other means.
That’s as a result of having everything orderly and proper and predictable is boring. And nobody remembers boring things.
The same results happen for kids — whether at home or in the classroom. According to teachers of Indian boarding schools, dissatisfaction is the arch-enemy of learning. If things become too routine, kids tend to coast in and out of lessons with little to no retention. Continually reading from books or watching videos online is great for practicing specific skills, but knowledge retention isn’t one of those skills.
That’s why I rarely ever used books in my class. I had to cram a SmartBoard activity into my course plans to keep my observation scores from being lowered.
It is not that I don’t like those tools. For a few lessons, they are irreplaceable. But if you want to inspire kids and ignite their love of learning in core subjects, you would like to induce them out of their seats and move around.
And here are four ways in which I created that happen, with one example for every of the core subjects — Science, Maths, Social Studies and Reading — and a bonus that you can use at any time.
1. Be the solar system
Sure, you’ll be able to look up pictures or have students draw diagrams of the solar system. you’ll be able to teach them the order of the planets with the sentence “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos.” You’ll be able even to find some cool videos to point out on NASA’s website.
But what I found throughout the academic years in schools in Dehradun is that students obtained an improved understanding of the planets by becoming the planets. I gave every student a role — the sun, a planet, a star, the moon, a comet, etc.… and placed them in their correct order. This gave the students a definitive plan of how far the planets are from each other. The moon rotates around the earth and therefore, the movement around the sun taught regarding seasons and moon phases.
This single activity covered five or more lessons in very little time.
Every kid took part in the activity and that I ne’er had an issue with a kid not remembering the facts that they learned in the lesson. Several students came back to my classroom years later and talked regarding how much they enjoyed the lesson.
2. Be the Banker
One of the maths topics that my younger students struggled to understand was regrouping (or “borrowing” as most people adults were taught). Once they grasped subtraction, they’d typically take on bad habits when the top number was smaller than the bottom number — and typically end up subtracting the biggest from the smallest regardless of its position.
So, what do you do?
I would split my class into teams of 4. One kid would be the banker; one would be the “kid” and have a random variety of play-money in one-dollar bills (less than 10). Another would be the “parent” and have 9 or fewer 10-dollar bills. The fourth would be the “grandparent” and have 9 or fewer 100-dollar bills.
The banker would approach the “kid” to collect a bill. Perhaps the electric bill was due, and therefore the “kid” owed $150 dollars. But, the child solely has a few ones. what’s he or she to do?
Exactly what we all did after we were young. “Call up” mom or dad and ask to borrow some money. The child would then communicate the parent and ask to borrow money for the bill. If the parent doesn’t have enough, he or she must “call up” grandmother or grandparent and ask for cash. They then transfer the hundreds into tens, and tens into ones, to satisfy the banker.
By doing this, children will visually conceptualize the numbers moving from one column into another, whereas changing price along the way.
Plus, it’s fun to really have the youngsters speak like “parents” or “grandparents” to fill out their role.
3. Be the History Maker
Learning about a historical event in a book is bland, boring and provides students with no idea of what really happened or what was at stake.
Through the years, my students took part in D-day, the war, the Gettysburg address, the march on Washington and infinite different momentous occasions. They did so on the playground, in the classroom or maybe in their own homes.
That’s as a result of acting out key historical events is way a lot of entertaining — and hence unforgettable — for students. The youngsters would learn about the subject, create scripts, then reenact scenes from their social studies info while enjoying the parts of the history makers.
Sometimes I’d assign the students preparing to go home and act it out again with their families so that they will show what they learned. Parents would come to me every single time to comment on how accurate their kid was with the details and facts. That’s as a result of they learned them fascinatingly and satisfyingly.
Plus, their new-found understanding and empathy on these topics, and why individuals fought, struggled and worked to form change in the world, helped my students become a number of the most respected role models within the school. And your students might take on that same role.
4. Be Theatrical
Just like social studies, reading class is filled with acting and dramatic moments. Not solely will this facilitate students connect with the text, but it motivates the students who don’t like reading to have interaction with the lesson so that they will participate in the acting.
Whether it’s part of the curriculum or a treat for finishing work early, you’ll be able to have quidditch games, recreate key scenes in books or maybe have students write and act out their own short stories to feature a bit of creativity and individuality.
Just ensure Romeo doesn’t get too chivalrous with Juliet.