“I loved taking a boring topic and creating a fun and interesting way to deliver it.”
Unlike Sam, I was never very creative but I loved trying to make boring topics fun to learn too. I also loved when other teachers would give me topic and ask me for suggestions. I think this is a great way to collaborate with others so I encouraged them to do this. It also gave me great ideas in my own classroom and I usually could modify the lessons to accommodate the needs of my students.
Another thing that I loved to do was to know my topics in advance and ask my students for help. Many of my students loved being asked for input and were very creative. I would state in advance that I’m looking for ideas and may not use them at the time but planned on adding their ideas into my “idea toolbox” for future use. Since I didn’t give them any restrictions on ideas, the possibilities were endless and we had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas.
Many times one idea would spark another idea and sometimes it even led to different topics. I started having to record these sessions because I couldn’t write down all their ideas quick enough. We also learned to map ideas and organize them in a way so that they could be used in the future. This was a great lesson for the students to learn how to organize their thoughts for future research papers or essays that they might have to write. But this was a real life situation that made it more meaningful to them.
Two heads are better than one is something my mother used to always tell me. So, what would be better than having a whole class help me with activities to enhance a topic. Sometimes we would do this before a topic is taught or sometimes we would review a topic we just learned and think about additional ideas that would have been great to do.
Students are full of ideas, opinions, and thoughts but sometimes we just have to ask them. Sometimes they think that no one will care or no one will listen. By asking them to help me, I’m showing them that their opinion matters and I care what they think. They in turn are learning to have meaningful conversations and learning to back their opinions with detailed statements.
Do you ever ask your students for help? What topics do you or your students come up with? Have you had any problems or successes doing this? Please share.