Summer Camp Week 1: Adding Variety to Your Classroom

Do you love what you do?  Are your students engaged at least most of the time?  If not, maybe it’s time for a career change or time for you to change your teaching methods.  I remember finding myself with a set week of event s in my classroom:

  • Day 1:  Introduce new lesson with lecture/bookwork
  • Day 2:  Re-teach lesson with worksheets
  • Day 3:  Mini project or activity for students to apply skills learned
  • Day 4:  Review of week’s lesson
  • Day 5:  paper test

Now, don’t get me wrong, having such a routine cut down on a lot of stress for me because I always knew what was coming up, but it soon got old for not only me but the students as well.  I soon found myself questioning my choice of profession and wondering why I didn’t enjoy teaching the way I did when I first started out of college.

It’s ok to lose focus sometimes or to become burned out to where convenience is best.  However, once you start doubting yourself and questioning your career choice, or when students lose enthusiasm and interest for the class, then it is definitely time to change it up.  This leads me to our weekly summer camp topic of adding variety in the classroom.

Every now and then, it is a great idea to change up the way you do things in your classroom for your sanity and to increase interest and encourage enthusiasm for you and your students.  Variety can be added in your classroom in several ways and a few or listed below:

  • Incorporating technology
  • Creating themed days
  • Varying your teaching methods
  • Change the types of activities frequently
  • Make the material relevant to your students’ lives
  • Integrate critical thinking
  • Get excited!

As I have always stated before, if you are not excited and enthused about what you are teaching, how can you expect your students to be excited.  So to assist with keeping it fun and interesting in your classroom, here are some fun  and creative ways and ideas for adding variety into your classroom.

Sometimes thinking outside the box or adding variety to your classroom can be as simple as incorporating activities related to upcoming holidays.  Check out some different ways below that you can incorporate holiday activities into your classroom.

Adding Variety with Holidays

Holiday

Teaching Idea

January-New   Year’s Day

  •   Goal Planning   activities
  •   Create personal   calendars that allow teens to include categories for things they like to plan   such as their wardrobe, work schedule, homework, parties, school events,   etc.  Allow them to decorate it with a   theme of their choice.

February-Valentine’s   Day

  •   Present lesson   on relationships and have a dating game show

March- St.   Patrick’s Day

  •   Irish and/or   St. Patrick’s day recipes food lab
  •   Experiment with   green food coloring in foods
  •   Interior   Design:  Design a room that   incorporates green as its main color pallet

April-Easter

  •   Allow teens to   participate in an Easter egg hunt using the plastic eggs filled with lesson   trivia.  Unlike traditional egg hunts   for younger kids where the prize is immediate; for this egg hunt, students   won’t receive a prize until they have answered the trivia questions   correctly.  You may give prize   (teen-appropriate Easter basket) to the student with the most points, or to   each student with a certain number of points.
  •   Easter   Scavenger Hunt where the eggs contain clues to the next clue and the first   one to complete the hunt wins.

May -June–Memorial   Day, Mothers/Fathers Day

  •   Have students   plan a luncheon and invite local Veterans to attend.  Students should also be in charge of   creating decorations as well.
  •   Plan several   events that include inviting parents to the classroom.
  1.    Sharing Recipes (parents come in and prepare   a recipe for the class
  2.   Share a Craft   Project (parents share craft projects with the class (mainly moms)
  3.   DIY project   (parents share DIY projects with the class
  4.   Career Day (invite   parents to share their careers/jobs with the class
  5.   Lunch with Mom   or Dad
  6.   Parents Judge   (hold a class competition and invite parents to be the judge)
  7.   Game Day (have   a game day and invite parents to come; it can be parents against students or   men vs women
  8.   Student   presentations/demonstrations (students will put on a demonstration for   parents showing them what we do in FACS)
  9.   Parent   appreciation (have a special awards ceremony where students present parents with   small gifts of appreciation, prepare food and other events)
  10. Family Photo day (invite a professional photography   or use someone from the yearbook committee to take family photos or just   shots of pictures with parents-encourage them to dress up)-great because many   families don’t have family photos

September-Labor   Day

  •   “No Labor” Day   where you plan a fun-filled day of fun games/food and no class work.
  •   Since students   only consider book work to be work in the classroom, have a “No Book Work”   Day where students complete tons of other activities but none that use the   book…Lol!

October-Halloween

  •   Plan a Haunted   House for Kids (local elementary schools/local daycare centers)

November-   Thanksgiving

December-   Christmas

  •   Allowing   students to create hand-made gifts for loved ones and/or families in need.

Looking for even more ways to add variety to your classroom, check out some of Just FACS’s previous monthly activities here.

What are some ways that you incorporate holiday activities into your classroom to shake things up?  Share below or in the forum under Adding Variety with Holidays”.

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