Saturday, December 28, 2019
10 Ways to Keep Your Class Interesting
Have you ever been in the middle of teaching a class, glanced at your students, and caught them staring into space? Just when you think youve created the perfect lesson plan or engaging activity, you may find that your students are unfocused and out to lunch. Yet its essential that you find ways to keep your classes interesting so your students can absorb and retain the information that you present. For decades, educators have been trying new teaching strategies to keep their students on their toes and get them excited about learning. Although some strategies have failed, others have been found to be quite effective. Explore 10 teacher-tested ways to keep your class interesting so your students will stay engaged all the time. 1. Incorporate Mystery Into Your Lessons Learning may be the most fun for your students when they dont know what to expect. Try to incorporate a sense of surprise and mystery into your lessons. When youre about to unveil a new lesson, give students a new clue each day up until the last day before the start of the lesson. This is a fun way to make your lesson mysterious, and you may find that your students are actually looking forward to finding out what theyll be learning about next. 2. Dont Repeat Classroom Material Its appropriate and essential to review classroom material, but try not to repeat it verbatim because this can make it less interesting for students. The next time you need to review material, try playing a review game during which you present the information in a way thats different from the first time you taught the students. The 3-2-1 strategy is a fun way to review and not repeat material. For this activity, students draw a pyramid in their notebooks and write down three things they learned, two things they thought were interesting, and one question they still have. 3. Create Classroom Games Whether youre 5 or 25, playing a game can be fun. Games are also a great way to keep lessons interesting. If your students need to remember their spelling words, conduct a spelling beeÃ¢â¬âa contest in which participants are eliminated when they misspell a word. Or if the students need to practice math, have a math bee, which is similar to a spelling bee, but with math problems or facts instead of spelling words. Games make learning fun, and games in class are a prescription for happy kids. 4. Give Your Students Choices One strategy that teachers have found to be effective is offering their students the ability to make their own choices when it comes to learning. Choice can be a powerful motivator because it helps to foster student interest and independence. The next time youre planning an activity, try making a choice board. Print out a tic-tac-toe board and write down nine different tasks for students to complete. The goal is for each student to choose three tasks in a row. 5. Use Technology Technology is a great way to keep your lessons interesting. Children love electronics, so try incorporating it into your overall teaching strategy. Instead of standing in front of the room and lecturing, try using a Smartboard interactive display. Expand your cooperative learning activity lessons by connecting to a classroom in another city or country via videoconferencing. Use technology in a variety of ways, and youll see the interest level in your classroom increase by leaps and bounds. 6. Dont Take Teaching so Seriously Being an effective teacher is an important job, but that doesnt mean that you have to remain serious in class at all times. Try to loosen up a bit and acknowledge that your students may have different interests and learning styles than your own. Its OK to laugh at yourself at times and to have some fun. You may find that your students are more interested when youre a little more relaxed. 7. Make Your Lessons Interactive In a traditional classroom, the teacher stands in front of the room and lectures to the students as the students listen and take notes. Unfortunately, this is not the most effective way to hold students interest. Make learning interactive by creating hands-on lessons that involve students every step of the way. Try using the Jigsaw cooperative learning activity in which each student is responsible for his or her own part of a group activity. Or try a hands-on science experiment. When you involve students and make your lessons interactive, your class becomes more interesting. 8. Relate Material to Your Students Lives Try to create a real-world connection to what your students are learning. This will give them a better understanding of why they need to learn what youre teaching. If theyre constantly asking you why they need to learn something and youre always answering with Ã¢â¬Å"because,Ã¢â¬ you will soon lose credibility. Instead, try giving them a real answer such as, Youre learning about money because in the real world, youll need to know how to buy food and pay your bills. By giving a straightforward answer, youre helping them make a connection between what theyre learning in class and how theyll use this information in the future. 9. Flip Your Lessons The flipped classroom has been gaining in popularity since the term flipped entered the broader education world in 2012. When it was first presented, the idea that students could learn new information at home and then come to school and use class time for critical thinking activities and reinforcement of concepts was unique. However, many teachers are using this strategy and achieving positive results. Students in a flipped classroom are able to work at their own pace (which is great for differentiated learning) and engage with their peers in a more interactive, meaningful way when theyre in the classroom. Try using the flipped teaching strategy for your next lesson and observe the depth of your students engagement. 10. Think Outside the Box Lesson plans dont have to include worksheets or lectures during which students sit and take notes time and again. Try thinking outside the box and plan a lesson thats completely out of the ordinary. Invite a guest speaker, go on a field trip, or take learning outdoors. When you try something new and different, theres a good chance that your students will respond positively. When planning a lesson, try collaborating with another teacher or taking your students on a virtual field trip. Learning that engages students is the most effective. Your students will find it more interesting to learn when you present the material to them in a variety of creative ways.