I’d like to highlight a few ideas from The Cult of Pedagogy’s Jennifer Gonzalez. As you know, I find a lot of her posts to be relevant and helpful. She posted 9 Simple Solutions for Common Teaching Problems— http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/hack-learning-series/ Here are just 2 of the ideas she shares that I found incredibly smart:
- Celebrity Couple Nickname Game
From Hacking Engagement: 50 Tips & Tools to Engage Teachers and Learners Daily
Oh, you know celebrity couple nicknames like Kimye and Brangelina are so hard to forget! So why not have students create their own nickname by mashing together their first and last names? This would be such a fun activity for the beginning of the year, semester, or 9 weeks. Jennifer suggests that this will make learning your new students’ names much, much easier. Great idea, right?! I can also see this being the starting point for graffiti-style name tags or students using them consistently for Kahoots and such (no more trying to figure out who put their name in as Donald Trump).
- Boomerang Model
From Hacking Homework: 10 Strategies that Inspire Learning Outside the Classroom
Struggling with students lacking “grit” on tougher problems or assignments? Think about utilizing this Boomerang Model style of questioning to get students to work their own way through the tough stuff. So, the idea is to create your own list of questions to pose to students while in class but also to share a list of questions for parents to use while their students are working on homework. Creating that consistency and pushing students to work through is brilliant! Take a look:
Barnes explains: “So they come to me, and they say, ‘Dad, I need help with this. I don’t get it.’ I’m going to respond with, ‘How can you help yourself? What strategy can you use that maybe you haven’t tried yet? Where should you start, because maybe you missed the real starting point? What evidence do you have to support this?’ If they say, ‘Is this right? Should I do this this way?’ I can say, ‘Well, what evidence do you have?’ We don’t want their automatic response to a struggle to be, ‘I need help from a teacher,’ or ‘I need help from a parent.’ We want them to help themselves.”
Getting into the holiday spirit? Looking for a few fun ideas to create connections with students and build classroom culture? Here are a few ideas to run with–
Would You Rather? Holiday— Have you ever played the game Would You Rather? It is a silly way to start conversations such as– “Would you rather have toenails that can never be clipped or… (fill in the blank with something equally as unpleasant)? Bleh! Here is a holiday version from Jen at Kitchen Counter Chronicle– http://www.kitchencounterchronicle.com/would-you-rather-christmas-edition-for-kids/ Think about having students compose their own after trying out a few. Then, play again! Have fun!
Christmas Jokes— Here is a fun Christmas Jokes handout from http://www.squishycutedesigns.com/free-kids-printable-activities-christmas/ It could be a fun handout to start with, then have students create their own. Think about adding in other decoding tasks such as questions about YA books, math or word problems, etc. to then identify the letters that will provide the answers to the jokes.