In the History Department, it is a given that our lessons must be modified and adapted year after year to include the new events and developments that occur each year. Still, in every department (including History), you will find teachers that are still using the same lessons they started with 10+ years ago. Some argue that the content is still the same or that the lesson has been effective in the past, but does that mean it will be effective for the future? Our students change, and so should our lessons.
So, how do you do this?
First of all, go back over your old materials each year as you prepare your lessons. Update! Add new information, change the templates in your powerpoints, add images or other graphics.
Next, change the types of activities you do. It is very true that the students we have today are NOT the ones we had 10 years ago. Despite their being the video game generation, if you require that they stay seated for hours on end listening to lectures or watching powerpoints, they will become apathetic, and some will attempt to snore in your classrooms! To remedy this, keep them up! Create activities where your students must move around the room. Centers work well at the high school level, and games are always a big hit.
Finally, a last simple change is in your attitude! Yes, a teacher's attitude can make all of the difference in the classroom. Feel young again yourself by playing YOUR favorite music while you work. Sing and dance to teach your lessons. Jump on desks to act out your content. Just be engaged! This is supposed to be what you LOVE to do. Show it! When you love what you do, your students will love what you do!
For a simple game idea, take a look at my new, FREE Canada Scavenger Hunt Activity for Human Geography. Students are up and moving while learning new content. What could be better!