Hey guys, so if you’ve been following my blog for a while you know how important I think it is to keep kids engaged in the classroom. It doesn’t matter how well prepared you are for the day’s lesson, if your kids aren’t engaged, they simply won’t get anything out of it. With that in mind, I’ve decided to put together a short list of tools I’ve used to make sure kids participate, learn, and get the most out of classes, even during summertime!
Take Advantage of Holidays
While almost all teachers will develop lesson plans to coincide with the major holidays, many forget that there are smaller holidays and observances throughout the year that offer fantastic learning opportunities. For example, you can build lessons plans around holidays like:
- Groundhog Day
- Chinese New Year
- Read Across America Day
- Flag Day
- June Solstice
- Patriot Day
The list goes on, and each of them offers an opportunity to combine a historical lesson with an activity. Holidays also feel like a celebration, making them the perfect tool for getting your young kids excited and engaged in the classroom. Better yet, treat them to a European vacation along with all the holidays that happen there!
No matter how interesting your lesson plan may be, if your kids are asked to sit still for hours on end they will eventually disengage from the lesson in exchange for boredom. One of the best ways to counteract this is to introduce various forms of physical activity into your lesson plan, if only as a tool to mix things up. If you have access to nature nearby, use it!
Some of my favorite quick physical activities include:
- Yoga: Little kids love yoga! A few simple and fun poses can bring energy into the classroom and prepare them for your next lesson.
- Tag: Tag might be an old-school game, but in reality, it’s timeless. Kids get the chance to run around, feel silly, and run off any restless energy they have stored up.
- Sports: If there’s a basketball hoop nearby, consider playing a game like knockout or HORSE, both of which are simple and fun for everyone involved.
Turn Your Lessons into a Game
I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it can be to turn your lessons into games. Whenever you get a chance to disguise learning as a fun activity, your kids will absorb the information with a vehemence you could never imagine. It’s youth at its finest.
Word games, board games, and “Jeopardy” style games are always great hits, but feel free to get creative and think of your own!
Embrace Technology in Your Classroom
Tech tools are often dismissed as distractions in the classroom, but in reality they can serve several important functions. When your kids are learning on a tablet or on educational computers, they often feel engaged with their education in ways that are both novel and modern.
It’s also worth mentioning that the current generation of young students were raised with computer screens, in the form of both mobile phones and PCs. Because of this, when computers are used in the classroom, it becomes easier for them to engage with the lesson, mainly because they are familiar and happy to use the technology.
Make Lessons Relatable
Especially for little ones who have a limited understanding of how the world works, reading and discussing abstract ideas like “jobs in government” or “how tides work” may both confuse and bore them.
The best way to counteract this is to plan your lessons in so that they’re relatable. This could mean taking short field trips to your nearby city hall or going to the beach to investigate tide pools. Of all the tools on this list, relatability might be the most effective in terms of encouraging engagement and getting your kids to think about how the world around them actually works. It’s all in the details!
Keep Your Kids Engaged!
If you want your kids to get the most out of their time in the classroom, you need to introduce several different learning tools to keep them engaged. Don’t just rely on one or two of the tools on this list. Over the course of a semester, incorporate all five into your lesson plan and watch as your little ones actually get excited to wake up and learn. As a teacher, you have the most important job in society. Utilize these tools to help the futures of the lives who are blessed with your guidance.