by Kevin Halloran, AmpliVox Sound Systems

With nearly 180 days of school during one school year, doing school the same way everyday can wear on both teachers and students alike.

Why not ditch the normal lesson plan format? Here are 5 ideas to spice up your teaching process:

1. Have students teach each other.

Dividing up the curriculum and assigning groups of students to teach their peers is a great way to encourage student interaction with class material. Giving students class time to plan their lesson means that the teacher is freed up to plan ahead, meet individually with students, or catch up on grading.

Another plus for this teaching idea is that it gives students experience teaching and speaking in front of their peers.

2. Throw in some technology.

Integrating technology into your lesson plans is a great way to vary the activities in your classroom and engage students. This can be done through just about any technology, including: iPads, listening centers and computers.

This could include combining #1 and #2 by having students make a short movie teaching their topic or lesson.

3. Games!

Using educational games can turn class time from “work” in the minds of the students to “fun!” Without realizing it, many students deeply engage their brains in complex problem solving when playing games.

Why not take advantage of that in an environment where you can guide their thinking and cause students to analyze their actions?

4. Story time. 

Stories have the power to grab attention and powerfully demonstrate principles in clear ways and are often more memorable than teaching straight facts.

A story can take the form of a movie or video clip, article, newspaper clipping or personal story. This also helps connect classroom material to “real life” — which is a concern of students. Schedule more time in your day to tell stories with teachable moments!

5. Try a flipped classroom.

A flipped classroom is where locations for homework and the lecture flip by having students watch teacher-created videos at home and do homework at school. This is a format that is growing in popularity and accessibility with more free and powerful tools available online.

This makes work done from home more engaging and homework (or assignments) done in class more helpful, because there is a teacher there to answer questions. If this interests you, experiment with a day or week at a time and get feedback from your students.


Photos courtesy of Microsoft Office and Flickr Creative Commons, thanks to: Raka_Abe, Academia IF, NASA Goddard Photo and Video, and UC Davis College of Engineering.
AmpliVox engineers, manufactures, and markets portable public address systems, reliable elegant lecterns and integrated wireless sound systems.