Keep your classroom spontaneous

Edutopia is a website and and community that’s part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation shares this great tip that keeps students on their toes without feeling picked on:

The more you can manage your classroom to be a supportive environment, where students are encouraged to take risks without fear of being put down or teased, the easier it will be to use your fairness cup regularly, without feeling that you are setting students up for failure.

Here’s how: Write each student’s name on a Popsicle stick and put the sticks in a cup. To keep students on their toes, pull a random stick to choose someone to speak or answer a question. Important: When you begin using your fairness cup, prepare a range of questions, some of which all your students can successfully answer. This strategy allows the bottom third of your class to get involved and answer questions without being put on the spot.

For younger grades,  you can even let the kids decorate their own sticks as a group activity!

Reach the back of the class

Audio is very important in today’s teaching envirmoent. Without quality speakers, audio that comes from your TV, phone or laptop has crackling and popping that distracts from the lesson you so carefully planned? All your work in creating an engaging assignment goes out the door the minute they have to struggle to listen.

With Juno, a classroom audio system developed by FrontRow, crystal-clear sound is delivered from teacher and student microphones and, with Bluetooth capability, Juno wirelessly connects to any Bluetooth-enabled device and delivers quality sound that really engages students.

“Having Juno in the classroom is like having a full-time aide that helps students better connect with and better understand my lessons and instructions. Now that Juno has Bluetooth, sharing audio from my laptop and Apple TV is much easier, and the students benefit from dynamic lessons; they pay attention to the material better, and I can be anywhere in the room,” shared Heather Sposato, a teacher at Penngrove Elementary School in California.

 Make it Fun

“Gamification in education may optimize the brain’s processing of new information. This may be facilitated by the general aspects of gamified lessons, with the audio-visual presentation, minimized bites of schematized information, short time lapses, and often repetitive patterns.

Gamification in education can improve motivation and engagement. Game elements such as immediate feedback and earning badges for completing the challenges successfully are strongly influential on increasing the students’ drive in engaging in these games even within the walls of a classroom.

Gamification modifies the brain’s reward and pleasure center and ameliorates learning. It is well established that games, whereby a person wins or receives positive feedback, can activate the brain’s pleasure circuits by inducing the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Educational games are suggested to have the same influence given their elements of winning challenges or successfully achieving a goal. This pleasure during gamified education results thus in a long-lasting affinity for the academic subject or for solving otherwise complex problems.”

Engaging students is one of the most important goals in education. Hopefully with these strategies in mind, your classroom experience could achieve a new level of participation.