Whenever I teach my students, I also think as a student. I’m very particular about students getting bored or losing interest in my lessons. I can’t blame them – I was a student myself. I believe that fun must always be incorporated in classes because that’s how you maintain interest. Lessons are all for naught when the students don’t pay attention.
If you want to make your classes more fun and interesting, I’m going to share with you some of my techniques:
Relate lessons to the typical student life.
If you’re expecting games and activities, I’ll get to that later. But for now, let’s put fun in discussions. Of course, classes must not only focus on entertainment. Technical subjects like math and science must also be taught in detail. But, how can we teach these topics in an interesting way?
As much as possible, give examples that are relevant to the young population. If you’re teaching advanced topics like physics, you can give problem-solving questions that are relatable. For example, you can let your students calculate how fast they get to school by letting them measure the actual distance and duration. When the students realize how applicable math is in their daily lives and some of their interests like sci-fi movies, they are more likely to love the subject.
Use riddles as icebreaker and boredom-killer.
One thing I realized about young students is that there are many ways to entertain them. My favorite is giving them riddles. It is funny how my students get rowdy when they run out of ideas. And, once I give the answer, they are amazed how supposedly easy it is. As their teacher, I’m happy that I get to stimulate their brains with tricky questions.
Quick tip: Give riddles before and during classes, especially when you spot a student yawning or looking bored. For a fast-paced riddle break, I write a lot of different riddles on pieces of paper so I can just pick a random question. I put the tiny folds of paper pieces inside a jar. I also give simple prizes such as chocolates to students who get to answer the riddles correctly.
Set an exciting review session for the class, especially before examinations or quizzes.
Funnily enough, even I get bored giving reviews to students. It can be repetitive or redundant. So, I spice it up through activities or games.
Stump the Teacher
When I came across this type of activity while browsing the internet, I’m amazed how unique it is. Students are like your own kids at home. They want to show that grownups are not right all the time. Stump the Teacher is the perfect time for students to challenge teachers with very difficult questions. At the same time, difficult parts of the topic would mark into the students’ minds while having fun during the activity. Just a few reminders before doing this activity:
- Students must take note of the right answer, not just blindly asking hard questions.
- The answers must be exact and specific. No wordplays, riddles, puns and opinion-based answers.
- If the teacher can’t provide the right answer, the student wins a prize.
- Interesting and unique prizes can be special privileges such as a free pass of not doing one minor homework.
It is fun if the answer is a little bit tricky because students can openly discuss with each other and with the teacher as well to come up with a decision.
Here’s another one of my favorites. I divide the students into groups based on the number of topics that require review. Remember how university or school fairs are organized? There are various interactive booths to entertain visitors. Since I want a simpler version of the Learning Fair activity, the students and I organize the classroom wherein seats are put aside to make room for booths. For higher grade levels, the students really have to customize their booth stands. For lower ones, I just let the students use the classroom’s tables and chairs. Give the students a few days to prepare.
The students have to decorate their booths according to their assigned topic. They must prepare a short presentation for me and other students to enjoy and understand. Rather than inviting a lot of outside visitors, I just invite one teacher who is free from other classes. The judges of the booths should be the guest teacher, the students and you for a fair decision.
Prepare some quizzes that are informal and fun.
Everytime I give quizzes, I notice some students who are too nervous and stressed out. You can balance it out by giving fun quizzes from time to time. Serious quizzes rely too much on memorization. With entertaining ones, the student can really understand the whole point of the lesson.
Student Team Quizzes
My version goes like this: Two days before the quiz, I divide the class into groups. I will give them one day to prepare at least five questions with answers. They can use identification, multiple choice or essay. The next day, I evaluate their ideas. In case certain groups have the same question, I let them roll two dice. Whichever group gets the higher number of dots, they gain the rights to the question. The losing group will have to formulate another question. With this process, students can review the topics as well.
To avoid easy questions, you can make a competition out of this quiz. A group can gain bonus points from their questions if there are wrong answers from other groups. If a question comes from a certain group and some of its members answer it wrongly, deductions apply in the total score. It may sound harsh but in this way, students will initiate group studies to help their weakest members. Also, it will ensure that everybody in the group works together in coming up with questions.
Another good thing about this activity? You can recycle their questions in future exams. I think that’s fair enough. I also give importance to stock knowledge.
There are definitely more ways to educate students in an entertaining way. The examples I gave are the ones that I’ve been using already. So far, my new techniques are effective because my students are not afraid to share their thoughts with me during lessons. Activities are not just for entertainment – they also provide a more harmonious relationship in the classroom between the teacher and the students.