Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Change the Atmosphere

Why is it that some people have a knack at understanding driving directions? For instance, if you are explaining where a restaurant is and the person is completely engaged in what you are saying and can find it. Others will look at you with that glossy eyed look (we teachers see this from time to time) that says I have no idea what you are saying. I think it is because we learn differently. Another example of this is when someone says to me “do you know where Main and 15th streets are?” For me immediately I think of the picture of that intersection with the landmarks. I even remember the conditions of when I saw it the first time like cloudy or rainy. Others might remember the intersection from a map view. So, let’s relate this to the classroom. We set our classroom up to be the same for every learning experience. Maybe, just maybe, if we changed the atmosphere of when they learned something, they would remember it better. Just as I remember the conditions of an intersection, I think students remember the conditions of our classroom. So let’s alter it! I just thought of a few that I’m going to try:

  • Turn off the lights, and use flashlights to study the lesson.
  • Push the desks back and have everyone (even the teacher) sit on the floor
  • Turn on music while learning.
  • Have students bring in their favorite plant from home for the day
  • How about blindfold hour? You must learn only with blindfolds on.
  • How about everyone can only write with their weak hand for 30 minutes?
  • Turn all the desks 180 degrees.
  • Have all the students bring in a pet day
  • Teacher must sing directions.
  • Students must sing questions.

We will not reach everyone with this. However, I might reach some students that I have never even come close to getting through to. As teachers, let’s get ourselves out of our own comfort zone, because when we do, others are probably in theirs.

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