There are so many methods you can use to keep lessons engaging for students. Innovation plays a huge role in teaching every day, we are looking for new ways to engage students or we encounter unexpected things that require us to be innovative.
Dave Burgess discusses methods for keeping students engaged. He begins his school year by setting a tone of fun and comfort to explore learning. He is constantly finding ways to keep his students guessing and excited to come to class (Burgess, 2012). Burgess also discussing having passion for your subject, you are not passionate about everything you teach but it should appear to students that you are. “When a teacher is passionate about his or her subject matter, this enthusiasm is infectious” (Teacher, 2014). Students know when a teacher is enjoying what they are teaching, so if it is not your favorite subject, find other ways to be passionate about it.
Being innovative and trying to find new ways of engaging students and teaching various lessons is time consuming. Teachers have a lot to do and often times, innovation is at the bottom of the checklist. Teachers have to manage and teach daily classroom activities and behaviors, attend meetings and professional developments, communicate with families, plan lessons, look at student and professional standards, and the list can go on. Most times these duties need to be fulfilled before teachers even think about innovative ways to engage their students.
A lot of times, students are not engaged in lessons because they become bored with the material. One way to keep them engaged is to make sure you are teaching on the cutting edge of their knowledge and are solving various tasks (Wright et. al 2012). Students should always be thinking beyond what they know but not so far beyond that it becomes too difficult for them. Another way that I kept my young students engaged is by changing activities often. An organizational structure that I have used in my classroom is Daily 5, which worked well with my multi-grade classroom. The students were constantly moving to different activities and making choices for which activities they went to (Boushey, G. & Moser, J. 2006).
As far as things flopping, sometimes the kids get way too excited about things like this and it ends up being a crazy free for all. I have tried to teach some lessons like this and they flop when the students get too much freedom and get out of control.
One of my favorite things to do around Christmas is to read the Polar Express and set up my classroom like a train. The students would come to school in PJs and we would pretend that we were boarding the Polar Express, I would wear a conductor hat and the kids just ate this up. This is one example of a fun and engaging thing that I have done in my classroom. It is amazing how much the kids love things like this.
I believe that teachers are natural innovators because that is the nature of the profession. Teachers are constantly dealing with changes and having to come up with new strategies on the spot. There are so many ways to engage students and so many resources on the subject, it is just a matter of trying things out and finding out what works for you in your particular class at a particular time.
Boushey, Gail, and Joan Moser. The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the
Elementary Grades. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2006. Print
Burgess, Dave. Teach like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity,
and Transform Your Life as an Educator. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess
Consulting, 2012. Print.
“TEACHERS.” Scholastic Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2014.
Wright, Robert J., David Ellemor-Collins, and Pamela D. Tabor. Developing Number
Knowledge: Assessment, Teaching & Intervention with 7-11 Year Olds. Los
Angeles: Sage Publications, 2012. Print.