Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teachers, put down the books and do something!

Ever hear students say how boring school is? That's probably the number one complaint. Not that they hate school, exactly, but that they are bored. Or do things that are just not worthwhile as far as they are concerned.

So teachers, put down the textbook and give them something to do!

Before we go any farther, let's stop for a minute. You can't just have fun. The district and state have mandated curriculum. So everything you do must be introducing or enforcing state standards.

Here are some examples of what you can do to make your instruction interesting. And students do not have to know that the core curriculum is involved!

Have a paper free day. Even a whiteboard, overhead, or chalkboard free day. Let the whole class do a discussion on a topic. This works well for social studies and history, but other subjects can do it as well. The trick is to weave some state standards into the discussion. No writing. No collecting. No grading. All students who are in class that day get credit. That's makes it easy for you as well! You'll be amazed at how the discussion twists and turns. You are the facilitator, pointing out things that are indeed part of the curriculum.

Let them do an art project. Any subject can do this. For example, math students can do a drawing using only rectangles, parallel lines, etc. and measurements must be given. How are the shapes related? You can come up with more on your own. History could be drawing an artifact, or even a whole scene from a historical event. Students must be able to explain their picture. A picture is worth a thousand words. Other subjects can be creative as well. It does not have to be a picture. It could be a collage, a mobile, anything that has some value for the standards. Art is not just for art class.

For elementary students, there is more to choose from. You can have an outside garden. Learning about insects, flowers, plants, rocks, etc. You can have indoor plants. Assigning students to care for them. Students could even keep a small plant on their tables. Small animals are another. Take them outside for a walk around the school grounds. Have your students read to each other. You could dress up as historical characters. Learn and cook food. Craft projects are certainly something any subject could have.

This is a short article, meant only to get you interested in letting your students do something. Put down the textbook and give them some real hands-on learning. As a teacher, you should be able to expand the list above and never hear a student say they are bored in your class again.

>>Engage your students.

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