As the weather turns nice here in the Midwest and springtime is in the air, students begin to lose interest in school. It is a challenging time for teachers and students as the daily grind starts to actually grind you down.
We were currently in an Savings and Investing unit in our Business and Consumer course. The students needed to learn some banking terms. An initial conversation led me to understand that most the students never heard most of the terms essential for understanding fiscal responsibility. As I prepped the days lesson, I looked at the boring note sheet that had the terms and blanks behind them for students to fill in. It looked so bland. It looked so traditional. I had to change it. I had to find out another way for the students to learn the terms of the unit.
So I took a risk and tried something new.
I came up with a simple instruction for learning the terms. The directions read “Create a fun way to learn the terms of the unit.” That was it. I gave the assignment a due date and waited for questions from students. Students looked puzzled at first. They didn’t know what to do. So I redirected them to a brainstorming session. We came up with a bunch of ideas and places to find even more. After that, the class was buzzing with ideas. Students were laughing and conversing about their ideas. WIthin their discussions, I noticed they were slowly filtering down what they were actually going to do.
The typical classroom was gone. Students were coming and going. Some went to the library where they worked with a green screen and video, some were in the hallway recording voices and creating games. Some students remained in the room working independently. The due date came and I had no idea what to expect.
What students created was amazing.
While some students stayed with the typical slide show of terms, most students created something very cool.
There was a Chutes and Ladders like board game called Profits and Panic and much more!
The following ideas were made:
A Rap Song
“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” video.
An Artistic Cartoon Video.
A Spoken Word Presentation.
A Cartoon Strip
It was amazing. The students had fun creating. They felt free in the confines of a typical school day. As they went in the hall, I noticed they were not bored anymore. They were engaged. Very engaged. It was uncomfortable for me on some days because I was taught to “be in control” at all times. Taking this risk was proof that the students can still find little moments of creativity in regular tasks in the traditional classroom if you get out of their way and allow them to explore some. I encourage all teachers to try new things that are student centered in the classroom. Another way to #disrupteducation.
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