When you signed up to be a teacher, did anywhere on your contract state that you have to pay out of pocket for classroom materials? Probably-NOT! Yet, many teachers find themselves using their own money to buy simple things for their classrooms whether it be a box of tissues or materials for a lab experiment. This should not be the case… I am here to help you find engaging resources on a budget!
Did someone say free?
Below you will find activities that will engage your students for free and are applicable to any subject of study at the high school level.
- Brain-busters/riddles or daily jokes
These can vary on how they look and are presented. Brain-busters/riddles get students’ brains turning and ready to learn. You can find a lot more at https://justriddlesandmore.com/Brainbusters/brain%20buster%20archives1.html. Daily jokes can wake students up and (hopefully) get a laugh or two. An example of a brain-buster is seen below. Feel free to ask for volunteers!
You do not need to spend money on demonstrations! Simply reuse materials found around your house or at school. Demonstrations engage students and should be related to the content which they are studying. Below is a short video of a demonstration used for a lesson on density.
- Music or art
Tapping into the opposite side of the brain that your class does not typically focus on can engage students at a deeper level. Using music or art will allow students to use the right side of their brain in a typical left-brained classroom.
Bell-ringers are questions/tasks that are asked or written on the board at the beginning of the class. Their purpose is to highlight the day’s lesson or review the previous day’s lesson. You can decide whether to have an open discussion about it or have students write their responses on a scrap sheet of paper to turn into you. For example, if you finished your lesson on the water cycle yesterday, ask your students to draw the water cycle from memory.
- Short article readings
Now this one may sound like a doozy, but believe me, they work! Have students read a short article prior to beginning the lesson. You can assign these or let students have free choice. I would recommend creating a list of acceptable articles and allowing students to pick from them so that they can find one that best interests them! Below is a link to a few articles:
Check out the ideas below on how to get funding for your classroom:
- Try crowdfunding such as DonorsChose.org! These types of websites can help get the resources you need in your classroom.
- Enter in different contests…there are tons out there, you just have to look.
- Apply for different grants and see what happens!
- Utilize TeachersPayTeachers.com for different resources.
Other awesome blogs/pages to follow:
- Twitter: @support_a_teach, @NicholasFerroni
- Instagram: @dollartreeclassrooms, @targetteachers
- Blogs: https://laurarandazzo.com/, http://everybodyisageniusblog.blogspot.com/
I really like all of these suggestions for an engaging classroom and I think they all do a really good job on keeping students interested while being cost effective. Regarding your 3rd suggestion, is there any specific music genres or art pieces that influence engagement in students or will the students be making art and/or music pieces that relate to your content area?
Hi Jay! Thank you do taking the time to read my blog post! As far as my 3rd suggestion, I will allow my students to select what music genre they would like to this to at the beginning of class to get their minds focused. With art pieces, I would most likely display images related to the lesson or some type of abstract work and allow students to discuss what they see in the art.
Thanks so much for sharing your resources with us! I agree with you in the power of riddles and brain teasers to get students thinking “outside of the box” at the beginning of class–I am not going to lie I spent way too long attempting to decode the colors without reading the word!!! Additionally, your idea of using music at the beginning of class really resonated with me. Music is so powerful and has a great ability to influence our mood as well as engagement.
Hi Emilia! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post! I am glad you enjoyed the resources and the ideas I shared. I also spent too much time attempting to say the colors and not the actual words!! Hopefully, one day my future students will have better luck than us!