Sunday, February 6, 2011

Four Nifty Little Ideas

It is not always easy to find the time to make changes that are not vital to the well-being of our students, but that would still add a bit of fun and motivation to our daily routines. Recently, I was able to find that time in the form of a three day snow event. As a teacher, I love snow days. I’ve always used the gift of unexpected time to recharge and explore new ways to accomplish mundane tasks.

While you may live in a part of the world without snow days, you still have lots of nifty ideas for the little things that can make a big difference in a classroom. From fresh bulletin boards that instruct as well as decorate to ideas to make simple tasks easier, motivational, and just plain fun, please feel free to share your ideas and suggestions.

Here are a few things that I found the time to do during the snow days to make my class just a bit more fun and interesting for my students. I hope the four nifty little ideas can help you and your students!

• To deter students from being tempted to look at each other’s papers during assessments, like many other teachers, I have my students use cover sheets. Instead of the plain recycled paper ones that they had been using, however, I created cover sheets using bright paper, cool clip art, and motivational quotations. It took about thirty minutes and has been worth every second of the trouble. It’s fun to see students read their cover sheets and compare their sheets with a classmate’s.

• I checked out this nifty site in an attempt to find new ways to motivate my students to overcome their learned helplessness: While this site may not appeal to every grade level, it is certainly an idea worth tweaking.

• I also wanted to start the new grading period with a fresh bulletin board or two in place. By using Google’s “Images” search tool, I was able to look at hundreds of photos of classrooms and bulletin boards around the globe. What creativity teachers have! If you would like to give your classroom a midyear spruce up, it’s worth a try.

• My students love to play Free Rice. I’ve challenged my classes to race to donate one million grains of rice. Currently, the donations are going to help Haiti. Playing the games at  is a wonderful way for students with computers to use every minute of class productively. Because I believe in making success visible in a classroom, I used my snow day time to create a giant bar graph for each class. Student captains are responsible for keeping score on their bar graph. Students working together to solve a problem in the world while learning vocabulary words? Worth the energy for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment