Yawn, Yawn, Go Away! Little Johnny Wants to be Engaged!
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!