Tis the Season to Spice up Your Lessons!

 

I introduced my dad in the first blog post, giving him credit for my boldness in trying new things with technology in my classroom, but that is not the main impact he has had on my development as an educator.  One of the big things I learned from him was the never ceasing job of a teacher to make lessons bigger and better than the last time you taught them.  It is a never ending process because students change from year to year, times change, technology changes, and yet we so often as teachers…don’t.  We create one lesson or test, declare it great, and then 10 years later, we’re still giving it.

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So why don’t we try to make things amazing for them? (@burgesdave) Yes, I am well aware of the critics in your building. They are in everyone’s building, actually. A good friend of mine always told me when facing critics in my hallway, “Laura, let it be like water off a duck’s back. Let it be water off a duck.” I love that, and if you teach science, that’s a great analogy for kids to see in science and then apply in life to critics. I had a critic recently state that there’s more to learning than fun. Life isn’t always fun, so we aren’t doing students a favor by always having fun. Life is about hard work. Try as I might, I could not seem to get through to this particular critic (on that day-not giving up) that having fun does not necessarily mean the hard work isn’t being done as well.  For this critic, it isn’t work if it’s fun.  Sigh. There are always critics, so think water…duck…and then work on making things amazing for students.

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Okay, you have your BRAVE on, so now what? Start with working to add seasoning.  Bland food needs a little salt and pepper, and so do your bland lessons. Students not engaged in your content? Then go to your spice rack, and if you don’t have one, there are a bunch of us out there who do. Find one. We are always happy to share spices with other teachers. Get over your fear of exploring Twitter. There’s a large international professional learning network waiting for you out there. Do you start cooking with a cold grill, oven, or stovetop? No! You preheat! Try doing that with your lessons too! Preheat with mystery, curiosity, and buzz! (@burgesdave) Create events students will remember! Let them feel a part of something big!  Try a Goosechase that brings fun into your teaching. Let your classes divide into teams. The free version allows up to five teams. Not into that? Try using Remind to toss out a teaser before beginning your lesson. (@jmattmiller) What about social media? Kids love Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms to connect, so get in there and EXPLORE how to use that to your advantage. Not good at figuring out how to apply these ideas to your content? PLN!  Get out there and ask! Twitter has been an amazing resource/PLN for me, and I encourage you to put on your BRAVE and jump in with the rest of us. Go! Find your passion! Share it!

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