Thursday, February 3, 2011

Making Learning Fun

In many places around the world, the pressure of doing well on standardized tests has taken the fun out of education.  Yet, making something fun can often motive people to work harder, as evidenced in this video clip.

One of my favorite books as a beginning teacher was The Laughing Classroom, by Dianne Loomans and Karen Kolberg.  In their book they advocate several quick and easy strategies to keep the fun in learning and motivate students to work hard.

Over the years, I have also come up with my own games or strategies that I have adapted from television shows.  Here are some of my favorite strategies to keep learning fun;

1.  The homework game- near the end of class I would ask for 5 volunteers to play a contest.   The contests would vary depending on the day: rock-paper-scissors, shoot the ball of paper into the garbage can, bowling, name that tune, etc.  If the student beat me at the contest, I would take one question off their homework assignment.

2. The Mystery Bag- I used this strategy at the start of class, as a set induction technique.  In an old pillow case, students would have to stick their hand into the pillow case and try and guess the item without looking.  If they were correct I would bring the item out of the bag.  Items in the bag would be related to the topic of lesson.  Once all items were identified, we would discuss how these items were related to the lesson.

3. Jeopardy Auction Game-before a major quiz or test, we would play an electronic game of jeopardy (see this site to build your game).  Students can earn monopoly money for each correct answer.  Then, close to the end of class, I would have small prizes that could be purchased with then fake money they won during the game.

4. Spin the Wheel Review-I build a spinning roulette wheel like the one in the picture.  Then I place review questions and small prizes on the wheel.  I ask for students to come up and stand by the wheel.   I give it a spin, when the wheel stops, students answer the question that is pointing to them, if they are correct, they get the small prize.  There is an option to ask for help from the audience but then they must share the small prize.

1 comment:

  1. Wow these are some great ideas!! I intern in the Fall and hopefully as an intern I can use some of these fun strategies! I am an energetic pre-service teacher who, like my students, tends to get bored in class! I am always looking for ways to engage and make learning fun. I can definitely see students and teachers having fun with these! Thanks for this!