This is a guest post by Britnee Gilliam, a student at Harmony School of Excellence in Austin, Texas and a summer intern at TCEA.
Teachers, have you ever seen your students looking blankly at you during a lecture? They’re not bored, but the class may be losing its spontaneous vibe. Perhaps you should shake things up some and get those kids hanging on the edge of their seats.
We love seeing a video when we walk into class. We also tend to be more attentive to videos because they are different than regular class lectures. But don’t pick just any video. Depending on the seriousness of the subject, pick a video that has humor while still communicating the lesson. Some examples are Crash Course or Bill Nye. With the video, you can have your class take notes on the key points; then they’ll have references for later.
We enjoy hands-on experiences as well. For example, in economics class learning about the stock exchange, you can give the class “money” to invest and then follow it. Watching our investments keeps us on our toes and makes us ask questions and try to gather information to improve. It also appeals to our competitive nature; which one of us can earn the most money?
Also, we love doing experiments in science classes. Who doesn’t like explosions? We students tend to remember things that we actually experience.
Integrating fine arts in a class also helps students process what we are learning. By making posters, shooting a class video, or even writing a screenplay on the topic, we can interpret the content of the lesson. These projects show our understanding of the subject and the kind of art we choose allows for our own unique interpretation.
Finally, have fun with your class and ask our opinion on how to learn the different subjects. Plan a variety of activities for us to do so we can learn in a new, exciting way. By using some of these ideas, you can help a class pay attention more often. They will more fully understand the material and be able to make it their own.