Today I want to share my five favorite SIMPLE tips for making a lesson more engaging.
I say simple because I don’t believe that every lesson or activity needs to be a huge production or broadway show. In fact, I’ve been reading an amazing book called Research Based Strategies To Ignite Student Learning (by Judy Willis M.D.) that discusses how some simple things can increase engagement and retention of learning. The book also talks about how doing big huge over the top things too much can hurt student learning because it removes the surprise and wow factor which is vital to engagement and memory retention!
I say this because I want us (teachers) to know that we’re enough. We’re good enough. We’re doing enough. I know there’s a lot of pressure to do big, grand, Pinterest worthy stuff in your classroom. Trust me, I feel it. I see it. But….our kids aren’t demanding a broadway show…they just want fun and silly and hands on learning!
And guess what? If it works, if your students are having and learning and are happy, then IT IS PINTEREST WORTHY!!!!!!!! #thatisall
So here are my 5 simple ideas for making a lesson engagement!
Costumes. Yes! Dress up! Wear a silly hat!
These costumes don’t have to be expensive, elaborate costumes. They can be as simple as a cowboy hat for a lesson on cowboys or an apron when reading gingerbread man stories. My kids love when I wear a costume or hat when reading a story or teaching a lesson!
In fact, on Friday when we do Mad Science Friday, the kids make sure I have my Mad Scientist outfit on!
Use music in your lessons. Jack Hartmann, Dr. Jean, Harry Kindergarten are all great resources for music that teaches about academic skills! There are songs for letters and sounds and sight words and numbers and counting and shapes…and CVC Words! Brain research tells us the power of music and learning. We all know how easy it is to learn lyrics to songs, so why not use music to teach and reinforce academics?
If you’re teaching a lesson, show a video on YouTube. Or show a snippet of a video. When we did our holidays around the world unit, I showed a video for each country we visited and my kids were RIVETED!
If you can’t access YouTube at school, you can download the videos onto your home computer and then email them to yourself or upload them to your cloud drive!
Use food in your lessons. Research says that if we can utilize our students five senses, they’re more engaged and learning has a better chance to be moved into long term storage.
Use marshmallows for “snow” counters for a math lesson on adding or subtracting or counting.
Pretzels and marshmallows make great shape building tools.
Pretzels make great tally marks!
Use food for writing!
Give your students choice.
Choice in seating.
Choice in activities.
Choice in manipulatives.
Giving students choice automatically engaged them because they have some control of their learning. After all, it is their learning so we need to give them choice.
My class has choice in their seating, in the centers or workstations or hippopotamuses and choice in the supplies they use. That choice has greatly improved our engagement and behavior!
To see more about our no tables, no desks classroom, check out these links!
Howdy, I am Mr. Greg. I have been teaching for 11 years. I spent a year teaching fifth grade, two years in second grade and am now in my 9th year in Kindergarten. Kindergarten is my passion and my calling but honestly, that wasn’t how it started. Read the whole story >