As previously mentioned in my last post, I am devoting some of my blogging to addressing the need for engagement in the classroom. I hear to often "I hate school", "I am bored", or "I can't wait for the weekend" (when it's MONDAY). Yes, we all have THOSE students who would say that they were bored even if we stood on our heads and passed out money! But it doesn't matter. Students are students. Easy ones, tough ones, vulgar ones, kind ones,.... they are all ours.
So what will we do to keep them ALL engaged? How will we make the year memorable? How will we get them excited to come to school?
Now, some may be reading this and might be saying "Kaitlin, I teach grade 8. These kids are going to grade 9. No teacher in high school is going to make sure they are having fun. The real world isn't all about fun!" And ya know what, that's a shame. Think about your memories from grade school and high school. You remember the good times,..... the times you had fun.... the teachers that were engaging. Kids can learn material and it doesn't need to be painful.
Think about it- Do students really need to come to class if they are being asked to read a textbook independently and then answer the questions underneath, every day? Can't they do that at home? Where do we come in? What is our role? What is our duty?
Ok, rant complete... HAHA....
Here is my first engaging thought. I hope some of these ideas and/or questions make you think about your instruction.
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I am starting off with an easy one. Science--- It is a subject that screams for "creativity" and "hands on" capabilities. Yet how many teachers are still "talking" about the example in the front of the chapter or photocopying a kabillion reproducibles for kids to fill in? Yes, it's ok to do that from time to time, but what else are we doing??
When kids walk into your Science class, are they captivated? Do you have experiments or labs set up? Are they wondering what they are going to learn, before you even begin? Do you see excitement? You should!!
Here are few ideas/pics to get you thinking:
I love watching TED talks...... Here`s one for Upper Grade Teachers.
High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about a lesson plan on bacteria— and devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook: it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations.