By Teachers, For Teachers
Remember the days when all students learned the same thing and that was taught to all of the students in the same way?
These days’ educational innovations are set where you must teach to each individual learning style, and create differentiated learning plans for each student. If you have been keeping up with the news lately, you’re likely to read about the common core state standards, and how it is essential that students pass these state exams. You may have also read that teachers are encouraged to teach to individual students’ abilities (differentiated learning, as mentioned above).
With all of these things to implement, it’s no wonder teachers are stressed out. When you have stressed-out teachers, how can you expect them to make learning fun? I came across an educational article the other day, and it said “If you’re looking for fun, go to a party!” It went on to say that teachers don’t have to make every lesson “fun.” What I took from that is, “I can sure try.”
Sure, being a teacher is hard, there is a lot of pressure these days to make our students learn much more than we were ever required to know. But, if we want our students to stay motivated and engaged, then it is essential to make learning fun. Here are five easy ways to try.
When you incorporate technology into classroom instruction, students are going to have fun. Think about it: When they are at home, what are they doing? Playing video games, texting their friends, playing on their tablets and iPads. Children love technology, so if you’re looking for the perfect way to make learning fun, then be sure to incorporate it somehow into your everyday schedule.
Here are a few ideas to try:
There will be times when you just can’t make a lesson fun. Or, some students may think it’s fun while other may disagree. For times like these, follow up the lesson with a fun activity. For example, let’s say you just taught a common core state standards-mandated lesson on neutrons. Now, some students may find that this topic was interesting, while others, not so much. So, as a follow up activity, have students create an illustration of a neutron. Or better yet, for your more body-kinesthetic learners, have them use clay to make a neutron. Your students will find any hands-on learning activity fun and entertaining.
Science experiments are fun, hands-on, and a great way to keep students engaged in learning. Even the students who may not seem interested in learning about science, will find conducting an experiment a fun activity. Choose a simple experiment that students can do with little supervision, or with a partner. Here are a few to try out.
I am sure that you hear a lot of groans coming from the classroom whenever you say, “It’s review time!” Well, an easy way to turn those groans into grins is to tell students you will be playing a review game. Any type of game you chose you’ll find that your students will be pleased. Turn review time into fun time with a few of these games.
You’ll find directions for the games above, as well as many more ideas in the article, fun review activities, and games to do now.
Any opportunity you get to take your students out of the classroom, take it. The best way to engage students and make learning fun is to physically and visually show students. If you are doing a unit on the local government, then take a field trip to your local city hall. If you are teaching students about farm animals, then take them on a field trip to your local farm. If students are learning about dinosaurs, then take them to the science museum. Field trips allow students to connect what they are learning in class with the outside world.
With all the stress that may come with being a teacher, it is still possible to make learning fun for your students. It can be something as simple as allowing students to draw what they just learned, or giving them a few minutes to play on the computers. Any way that you can make learning fun, will keep students motivated to learn.
How do you make learning fun in your classroom? Please share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your ideas!
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.