There are STILL some Teachers who give a damn! ~ Editor
It’s every teacher’s dream to implement a lesson plan that makes their students truly excited to learn. But in the busy life of an educator, it isn’t always easy to come up with fresh ideas that both engage and educate. If you feel like you’re in a teaching rut, you’re not alone. Here are a few ideas for shaking up your curriculum.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
When kids are stuck inside for hours on end, just about everything gets to feel monotonous. Give them a different change of pace by taking your classroom outside. You can choose a lesson plan devoted to the outdoors, or simply adapt an existing lesson. For example if you’re an English teacher, have an outdoor reading session. In addition to the book you’re studying, students can practice reading aloud and learn to project their voices. Alternatively, science teachers can take students out during a windy day to discuss and experiment with the way sound travels, and how it can be affected by outside factors.
Just about every kid loves dogs, and many may even spend school hours daydreaming about returning home to play with their own pup. There are all kinds of ways to include dogs in your lesson plan, whether you’re teaching science, math, social studies, or another subject. History teachers might discuss how dogs went from being wolves humans competed with for food to our loyal best friends that sometimes even help us hunt. Biology teachers could have a lesson on how the canine body differs from that of humans and what implications that has: foods we can eat but they can’t, differences between our teeth and theirs, and even differences in gestation and bearing young.
TIE IN CURRENT EVENTS
In the current age of technology, it’s difficult for kids to not hear about what’s going on in the world, but can they make sense of it all? Current events can get even the most reserved of students to break out of their shell for a discussion, especially when the topic is of interest or particular relevance to them. If you’re a science teacher, you might discuss a recent medical breakthrough. English teachers can bring in news articles from several different outlets on the same subject and ask students to use their critical thinking to determine if there is any bias. They can even direct student to write their own articles, discussing the importance of facts over opinion in journalism.
LET THEM PLAY DETECTIVE
There’s almost nothing better than a good mystery, so let your students investigate! Instead of simply reading about it in their textbooks, let your class unearth the facts of a famous event in history. Perhaps students can walk in to discover that the class pet is “missing” and they have to use their critical thinking and deductive skills to find it. Chemistry teachers might give their class a mystery substance that they must identify, or even recreate. The more hands-on kids can be, the better. You can even build social and speaking skills: perhaps your students must interview you and your teaching aide on your whereabouts during the class pet’s disappearance, or they have to present their scientific findings to the class about the mystery substance.
Most children truly want to learn, and breaking free from the normal teaching routine is an excellent way to inspire them to work hard. Consider working these ideas into your own curriculum, and you just might see your students blossom!
Written by Joyce Wilson for Teachers Spark ~ October 5, 2022