One thing I’m hoping to change next year is my students’ attitudes toward school. They, as a class, tend to view school as something to “get through” so you can spend lunch with your friends, or go home and do what they want.
Since they have a number of years left for school, I need to get them excited about school and learning. Toward that end, I’m planning some “fun” Friday activities. Each Friday, we’ll do something out of the ordinary. They’ll still be learning, but in a different manner.
Week one will be an art lesson. I’ve been working with a friend of mine who is an art teacher for some good solid art lessons that will benefit my students. Activities like weaving, collages, wire sculpture and positive/negative space drawings will expand their thinking and help them see the world differently. Also, since art is more freeing, they can feel success in the lessons.
Week two will be a mystery Skype. If you haven’t heard of Mystery Skypes, they’re basically a chance for classrooms to connect to other classrooms around the world. Each class asks yes or no questions of the other class to try to figure out where the other class is. You can check it out here: https://education.microsoft.com/SkypeInTheClassroom. This fits nicely with our social studies curriculum of sixth grade geography, and allows students to participate in an activity they are excited about.
Week three will be a problem solving session. I’ll be using the box and ideas from Breakout Edu – seen here: http://www.breakoutedu.com to give them a story to solve. In order to open the box, they need to work together to solve riddles. This will expand their thinking and encourage creativity.
Week four will be a Guest Speaker. Each month, we’ll have a guest speaker come in (or Skype) and talk to my class about careers. People like plumbers, stage managers, business owners will all be coming in to speak. This gives my students a chance to start thinking about their future. As they hear about various careers, we’ll be able to talk about what is needed to attain that career. This gives a purpose to their education beyond a grade on a report card.
Having a monthly plan like this makes life easier when you’re teaching. This allows me to get the plans set in advance, so the details can be worked out before I’m too busy to think!
What do you do to get students excited to come to school?