I was reviewing some of the blog posts I had written or posted in prior school years. This was posted back in 2012 because it provided ideas that supported our district initiative of transforming instruction. It continues to support our focus, and it reminds us to ask high level questions, promote student-centered classrooms instead of teacher-centered classrooms, give our students voice and choice, and create lessons that provide collaborative settings.
As we move into the 2014-2015 school year, we should be looking at what we can do to stretch ourselves in terms of how we create lessons and provide instruction. How can we become more creative when we’re designing lessons? Do we have high expectations for our students? Are we consistently asking questions that lead to creative and outside-the-box thinking? The list goes on and on, but if we are to truly reach today’s learner and provide a ‘this century’ classroom then what are you waiting for?
- Ask a question that has many answers or no answer at all.
- Give your students the reins for one class period. Give them the topic or learning objective, then ask how they would like to learn about that topic. They might suggest a game, project or exploration with technology.
- Allow your students to choose how they will be assessed for one topic. They might suggest a project, game or another method.
- Ask your students what they really are interested in learning and for the day, allow them to interview an expert in that field online. Your students can search for the e-mail address, blog address, Facebook account or Twitter handle of that person. For example, a student might be interested in skateboarding. Have that student connect with Tony Hawk on Twitter or another famous skateboarder.
- Tell your students everyday for a week that you are glad to be their teacher. Do this by greeting them at the door with a smile, handshake or high five.
- Conduct a class in a different environment, such as outdoors or in another part of the building.
- Stand for an entire classroom period. Break students into groups or pairs and move around constantly, asking them questions or taking notes about the way they learn.
- Play a fun game in your classroom. Find a way to incorporate games and play to teach your subject matter. Scavenger hunts, board games and video games have all been used to teach various subject matters.
- Contact each parent and share with them specific ways their children made you proud of them.
- Have your students work together in performing an act of kindness for either a charity, organization or other students. This could be as simple as creating books and reading them to younger kids or volunteering to clean up the campus.