Sorry for the brief hiatus, but we’re back for the newest installment of An Interesting Perspective. In today’s post, we will discuss ways in which you can make your classroom fun and engaging, while still keeping it affordable.
Imagine sitting in a classroom where everyday you walk into class, sit down, and take notes. That sounds pretty boring, right? Every once in a while it might get switched up, but only because you have to take a test. Now, imagine a classroom where everyday you walk into class to a new activity that gets you thinking and engaged in the material right away. This probably doesn’t sound as bad.
Now this sounds great, but how would you actually implement this idea into your classroom? Here are five examples of activities you could use in your classroom to get students engaged and excited to start the class period.
These are a great way to get your students’ creative juices flowing. To start, you pose a thought provoking question or riddle. This gets them thinking and creating problem solving scenarios in which they can ask questions to narrow down their responses to the correct answer. These also allow for low stress discussion amongst students. And, an added benefit is that these activities are entirely free.
Games are another great way to not only get students engaged in the learning, but also to formatively assess where they are in the learning. An example of a game could be a cooperative learning card sort. This could look something like a stack of cards with genetic identifiers being passed out to teams of students. Teams would then work together to assign these genetic identifiers to the corresponding character provided on the student handout. This is also a great resource because it is very cheap (only have paper and ink), but it allows for a lot of variety because it gives you the freedom to create any game for any topic.
NASA Space Place
This is a great website for all sorts of science topics! It is an extremely interactive and user friendly site that provides insightful information, while still being engaging and fun for the students. It has everything from mini lessons, games, crafts, activities, and media, with topics from nearly all the science disciplines, including geology, biology, chemistry, and physics. This is a great option for teachers in districts with one to one technology for the students. This is because the only thing the students need to access this information is an internet connection.
Of the five examples provided, these may be the most expensive. Do not let this deter you. These demos are extremely powerful activities, and get the students excited for what is to come. There are all kinds of demonstrations you can do for all different types of lessons. These demos provide students the opportunity to see the material right in front of them.
These are great ways to introduce a topic in a fun and entertaining way. There are videos out there for nearly everything if you look hard enough, but it is important that you find the right one. If you don’t find the right video, you will likely encounter your students becoming disinterested and distracted. When looking for videos, one thing I do is focus on the different ways it presents the material. In order for me to select a video, it must convey the material using both spoken language and visuals or graphic organizers. This is because students learn in a variety of ways, and having a video use at least two (or more!) different methods of presenting the information is crucial. The video below is a good example of something I could use in my classroom. It starts with an interesting hypothetical hook, and continues on to explain. Also, it’s free.