Way back in the old days, when I attended high school, we were mainly taught through the reading of textbooks, the writing of notes, and rote memorization. There were no other tried and true strategies, and classroom teachers were held to the norm that had been set by generations before.
With the introduction of technology, and a new generation of visually stimulated learners, we are forced to try new strategies in our classrooms to reel them all into our lessons. And then there is the issue of state and national testing. We must make the scores!
So, what do we do to engage our students, and help them to "learn" the materials they must to pass?
We teach them to CHEAT!
I should explain... We need to teach them how to cheat their brains! We need to teach them how to use tools and how to practice skills to help them achieve at the level expected.
These tools are actually easy to find, and I will not waste your time in reciting them all here. Just google key phrases such as multiple intelligences strategies, or teaching methods, learning styles, etc. You will find an assortment of great ideas!
However, I will introduce one of my favorites! And it is a bit old school! After all, how many of you could tell me how to do Math equations without reciting "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally?" or remember the colors of the rainbow without thinking of good ole "Roy G. Biv" and his classic name!
Use word games to cheat the system and to cheat the brain! One of my absolute favorites? Acronyms! I've just started creating a whole series of reading handouts with SPRITE Acronym Organizers for the Social Studies classroom. They are easy to explain, use, and organize. And more importantly, they help students to retain and recall the content they need AND to organize and explain it in a way that answers the BIG QUESTIONS!
What is SPRITE? SPRITE is just one of many, but here goes:
S - Social
P - Political
R - Religious
I - Intellectual
T - Technological
E - Economic
Top that off by asking for the Big Picture and the topic's Significance in History, and you have a complete analysis and critical thinking activity that will help your students prepare for that big test, and any course they will study in their futures!
Want to try it? Here's a freebie! This set includes the student guide and a general organizer!
And then come back for SPRITE Sets with Reading Sheets, A Student Guide, the SPRITE Organizer, and a Teacher Key. And new topics are being added as I can get them completed!
But remember... this is just one tool that should be included in your teacher toolbox! Even in the acronym section, you could...
Give them a taste of SPRITE!
Let them eat GRAPES!
Send them to PERSIA!
Or even sacrifice them to the PIRATES!
It's up to you! What tool will you use?