By Teachers, For Teachers
Let’s face it, not all teaching strategies that you use are going to be of interest to you. There will be times (probably many of them) that you will have to use teaching strategies that are boring to you. However, as a teacher, you have the obligation to teach these topics to your students because they are a necessary part of the curriculum. But what if I told you that you can incorporate some things that you are passionate about into your teaching strategies? Do I have your attention now? There are a few ways that you can let your own passions and interests shine through into your lesson plans. Here are a few ideas on what you can do based upon a variety of different interests. You never know, you may have a little more in common with some of your students than you thought.
Everyone loves food, so you really can’t go wrong with this topic. All you have to do is take an ordinary topic and work food into the mix. For example, if students are working on fractions, then give them a recipe where they can practice measuring and multiplying and adding fractions. If you love to eat healthy, then help your students learn about healthy eating habits by bringing in a variety of different snacks for them to try out. You can even take a field trip to your local supermarket and challenge students to choose food items based on their nutritional value. Or, invite a local celebrity chef into your classroom to teach students how to cook. Not only will students learn a skill that they can take with them for the rest of their life, but they will also be learning some math skills too!
If you have a passion for technology, then why not teach your students some 21st century skills that can use for the rest of their lives? Introduce your students to the latest tech tool and teach them how to use it. If you love to try out new apps, why not try it out in class with your students? Challenge students to search and find an app that relates to the particular topic that you are learning about in class. The student who finds the best app (and the cheapest) wins a get out of homework free pass. Technology is a great way to bond with all of your students because every child loves it.
If you have a passion or just a simple interest in sports, then you can use your love of the game and incorporate it into your lessons. Create a fantasy football league with your students so they can practice statistics, or try to incorporate some kind of kinesthetic activity where your students have to move about within the lesson. For example, if students are learning about science, then you can create several science activities where students have to go (or rotate) from one activity to the next. One activity can be where students have to estimate the heart rate zone of an athlete, or students can investigate how gravity affects your balance. Any way to get them moving while incorporating sports is your goal.
Technology has not only made it really easy for us to take photographs, but it has also made it quite easy for us to send and share them as well. If you have a passion for photography then use it in the classroom. Here’s how. First, you can challenge students to take a photograph that relates to whatever the lesson is and share it on your classroom web page. Second, you can ask students to take pictures to help them demonstrate the concept that they are learning or to add to the concept they are leaning. For example, if students are learning about nature, then challenge them to take and bring in photographs that are nature-related. Your photography passion can transcend into some great classroom learning.
There is something about the feel, smell, and touch of a new book that a Kindle or iPad can never replace. If you have a love for reading, let that shine in your classroom by incorporating books and writings into your lessons. Share your favorite books with your students, ask students to write on your classroom blog, or share a story or book that you love. Your passion for books may be just the thing that will help out that reluctant reader in your classroom.
By incorporating your own interests and passions into your everyday lessons, you are showing your students a little piece of yourself. This can really be the thing that transcends the gap between you and your students. Each time you show them a little bit more of yourself, you are shining a light not only on yourself but your students as well.
How do you incorporate your interests into your classroom lessons? Do you have any tips that you would like to share with our readers? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
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.