Writing my way through the school year!

I sat with my small group today and listened to my students, and smiled. They had  finished sharing their writing prompt about an imagined device that would make their lives easier. I listened to stories about a teleporter , a robot, and a pen, that can do the unimaginable.  After they shared their stories, and asked each other questions, they began an animated conversation about how they could market their inventions through a partnership. I sat and listened to their imaginations go wild!

We have to engage our students,  understanding that there is a difference between engaging students and entertaining them. I am not an entertainer, I do not sing and dance.(Well, not all the time anyway) My job is to teach, but to teach in a way where my students can wrap their minds around a subject in a way they are used to. My students are bored easily, they spend a lot of time in front of  a television playing video games. Therefore,  every day I make it my mission to  find a way to engage them.

Teaching volume? I used the video  Volume Song to supplement the curriculum. Boy, does that song stick in your head! Learning about Leonardo’s Horse? I located a video that mirrored the selection in the anthology, “The Story of Leonardo’s Horse“.  I added an image of Mona Lisa to Collaborize Classroom, and asked my students to post why she is smiling. And to my delight, I found a video on WatchKnowLearn, “How Mona Lisa Got Her Smile“. We are studying Ecosystems, and I have two wonderful opportunities to make it real for them.  We are participating in a contest offered by the Philadelphia Zoo, and I have registered my class to join the Polar Bear webcast being offered on the Edmodo site.  And, of course, in order to provide access to my students, I post all of these wonderful items on Edmodo, so they can be accessed at home.

Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that all I do is put my feet up while my students watch videos.:)  Not at all, each video incorporates learning, this has to take place. For example, after watching  the video,  “How Mona Lisa…”, the students and I discussed  story elements and sequence. It’s not all fun and games.  At the time I was writing this post, I was also engaged by my PLN in a  #5thchat. We discussed using drama in the classroom. Another exciting way to engage your class as they learn.  Imagine how many more students would stay in school if they weren’t bored out of their mind?

I do not like being bored, (I think back on all the PD workshops I have attended), and I try to spare my students that fate. And again, I’m not suggesting that every minute of your day be comparable to a video game.  But we have to do something to make our kids interested in coming, and staying, in school!

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Comments on: "Yawn, Yawn, Go Away! Little Johnny Wants to be Engaged!" (5)

  1. I totally agree! I am an adult with ADHD, and I know for a fact that I learn much better when things capture my interest… which really didn’t happen a lot when I was a kid in school. No, teachers shouldn’t have to amuse the students all day… BUT if you can truly capture their interests, they will learn a lot more than if they are just sitting in captivity at their desks as you force them to listen to a lecture!

  2. Thanks for the video list! I think I’ll try out your method with my kids in a few days.

    Best regards,
    Steve Holmes

  3. I was a teacher for 28 years, five in Malaysia and 23 in Ontario so I have had many experiences. As an author of children’s books, I find I have to make power point presentations up to engage children’s interest these days. I don’t carry along a special projector but, in one or two schools, it did not matter because they had ‘white boards’ that took video etc automatically. I was pleased but also amazed. Teaching has changed as children relate more to visuals and video than to audio learning, I think.
    They listen to parts of my book when they’ve seen the presentation first; the two go together. But books are still important I seek to entertain and educate children as they read whether it’s a picture book or a novel. My books are at http://www.truestorybooks.com
    I enjoyed your remarks here and about loving the child in order to improve his view of life.

  4. This is so true. What you are doing should not only be called teaching but now for the 21st century we should rename it to maybe “Teachology” and that you are “technogaging” your students. You think those terms will stick?

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