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Make the Classroom Fun!

Most of the lessons I create have an element of fun in them.  I, myself, cannot stand to sit still in a classroom, so why should I expect that of my students?  And anyway, it is so much better when the body and the brain is moving - great ideas, great discussion, and great revelations come from it all!

As I posted my latest product, A Walking Tour of the Roaring 20s, I thought about what it was like teaching this crazy decade in my class.  Fun!  And then I realized, that in simply providing my products for other teachers to use, I was leaving out some very important information.  So, here it is!
  1. When I teach about eras (Or any topic) where music is significant, use music to teach it!  During the 20s, we always followed the steps from the youtube video to do the Charleston to the great jazz music of the decade.  And let me tell you, there is nothing more entertaining than watching Midwestern high school boys in their Carhardt wear and boots doing the Charleston!
  2. Movement is vital.  I will not cite research here, but I will tell you from experience that students remember what they learn while moving.  With that said, every lessons should involve movement.  Whether we are dancing through the decades, or hula-hooping, or simply marching or sitting in trenches while learning about soldier's experiences, movement makes it all memory.
  3. Students must FEEL to learn.  Boredom only sets in when students just don't care.  If you share with them real stories from history or science or ELA or whatever, they care more about the lesson.  While we can't make everything like a Jersey Shore episode, there are always elements that make it just a bit more scandalous, and therefore, more interesting to learn.
  4. Competition is vital.  You might find a few students in your classes who do not care about success, but the rest of the world likes to compete and they like to win.  Games for review in the classroom, or just for fun, bring out the best, and worst, in us all, but they also help the students learn and retain your content.  Use my game boards to turn your classroom into a human-size review game or allow students to create their own games and have a competition day for content review.
In the end, it is no longer acceptable to stand at a lectern and deliver a lesson.  Your students must live the lesson for it to be real in their lives.  And more importantly, for your own sanity, make your classroom fun.  That's the point where your job becomes more than something you do each day from 7-4.  It becomes something you love!

Michele