By Teachers, For Teachers
Many teachers use their homeroom time as a study hall or an unstructured time for their students to go to the library or work on computers. But what if you could take that 20-30 minutes of time and use it for something a little less structured, all the while using teaching strategies to keep the students in line? Homeroom periods provide students with the opportunity to interact with their peers in a comfortable (non-graded) atmosphere. So whether you have students for 10 minutes or 30 minutes, you can use this time to really get to know your students and try out some new teaching strategies. Here are a few teaching strategies to utilize your time with students in homeroom.
The first thing that you need to do is learn about your students. You can start by giving them a student survey to fill out. This is where you will learn about their likes and dislikes, hobbies, interests, goals, friends, family, or whatever you would like to know about them. Once you have this information, then you can plan activities based around student interest.
Another way to get to know your students better is to create a homeroom community. You can do this by playing get-to-know-you games or just having students sit in a circle and take turns sharing whatever news they have going on in their lives. This is also a great way for students to bond with unlikely classmates that they would normally never connect with.
A great way to utilize your homeroom time is to have the students try and solve a pressing issue that may be going on in their school. Are the school lunches bad or unhealthy? Has the vending machine been broken for a year? Is the parking lot too congested? Students can use this time to brainstorm some ways to fix this issues.
Homeroom is a great time to take on a service project. Students can spend their time collecting donations, making flyers, or planning an event to help raise money for a cause that is near and dear to their heart. Once the students figure out what service they want to help out, they can use their homeroom time to accomplish their goal.
Many students struggle with one subject or another, and homeroom is the perfect time to help these students get back on track with their studies. Have students start a tutoring center where they can help their peers with the subjects that they know the best. If one student is particularly good in math, they can offer their free services a few times a week to help their classmates. It’s not only a great way to help students with their studies, but it’s also a great way to pair up unlikely students with one another to help them bond and become friends.
Educational games are another fun way to fill your homeroom time in a semistructured manner. Many teachers opt to play Jeopardy!, Bingo, or Memory, while other teachers like to use this time to allow their students to play review games on the iPad or computers. Games are a fun way for students to pass the time while still learning, but without the worry of being assessed.
As you plan your homeroom period, keep in mind that you have many options. Think about your teaching style and your students’ wants and needs. If you have a lot of students that you know could benefit from extra help during this time, then use it to help them with their studies. If you noticed that a lot of your students are creative, then take the time to let them explore their creative side. Or, if you happen to see that students are having a hard time making friends or getting along with their peers, then use this time to help them create a closer bond with one another and plan get-to-know you games. Even though your class time may be short, you can still utilize this time wisely so your students will benefit from it.
How do you structure your homeroom? Do you use teaching strategies to plan lessons and give your students an opportunity to study or do you create a more structured learning environment? Please share your comments in the section below, we would love to hear from you.
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 master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.