Many teachers find themselves trying to find ways to implement a new classroom management idea.
How can they make learning fun? How can they engage students today when the media they are surrounded by is more captivating than the teacher in front of them?
While at no time should student engagement and motivation come down to a dog and pony show from the teacher, there are certain “hacks” that you can put in play to see pretty quick results in the classroom.
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Classroom Management Idea Hacks
1) Questioning techniques that are outside the box
Come up with one or two questions that you want the students to be thinking about while listening and/or watching. When they get those questions answered, you can spend some time going over the material and then ask them to answer the question again. This time though, have them turn in their answer as a drawing or graphic representation. (e.g., graph, chart, storyboard, etc.)
2) The “Pause and Jot” technique
Make sure students know that if they don’t understand something you’re teaching to jot it down and write it out later. At the end of class, hand out a sheet of paper and have students “pause” what you’re teaching and write down any questions they have. Discuss these together at the end to clear up any misconceptions.
3) Use it as a starting point to further discussion
Let’s say you just taught a lesson on how the Electoral College works in the U.S. Instead of just putting a video on and watching it, come up with two or three questions before the lesson starts and ask them as you go through the material.
The beauty of this is that they’ll start asking more and more questions as time goes by which will lead to further discussion in class.
4) Have students teach something to each other
This one is very effective. Divide students into pairs and give them a topic to teach their partner(s) about.
They can use books, notes, charts, graphs, or whatever to prepare the material and then they present it to their classmates (be sure you don’t grade on how well they “teach”).
After the presentation, have a discussion on what was learned and why it’s important.
The beauty of this technique is that you can do it with any grade level or subject matter!
Have fun playing around with these different techniques and let us know how they work for you in your classroom. I guarantee if you give them a shot, you’ll see some progress in terms of student engagement and motivation.
Unique Classroom Management Idea Tricks
A lot of teachers are looking for ways to make learning more fun. How can they make learning captivating when the media surrounding them is more interesting than the teacher in front of them? This seems to be a big hang-up with many teachers.
Generation Z is a techy generation and trying to use methods that worked for more “pencil and paper” generations simply are not going to work.
That doesn’t mean you need to throw away everything you have tried before; it simply means you need to change up how you do it. Utilizing technology or games in the classroom doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The basics of learning still apply and you simply need to be creative.
Here are a few unique classroom management idea hacks that you can try in your classroom:
- Hack #1 – Use technology to engage students.
Technology can be used in many different ways, but it simply boils down to why the product was created in the first place, which is for learning. Technology can provide multiple avenues of learning, using information and ideas. It also provides students with the opportunity to work collaboratively, which can lead to a deep understanding of concepts. An example of this would be having the class start a website for their history project, or create a timeline in Google Slides that they can all add to and edit together.
- Hack #2 – Use mind maps to help students retain information.
The idea behind mind maps is that the brain likes to link ideas together, not learn them in isolation. So while some teachers are spending time explaining all of the individual parts of a whole, they may be neglecting the actual point of the lesson itself. Mind maps can also give you an insight into what concepts your student may need more help with, which you can then address in class.
- Hack #3 – Use games to make learning fun and engaging.
There are a lot of board games out there that can be used in the classroom, no matter what subject is being taught. Giving students goals and creating competition (in the form of points) can make games a powerful tool in engaging students. There are even some board games that have questions embedded in the game, making it fun for students to learn while they play.
Ideas for Technology or Games in the Classroom
Kahoot is a free tool that allows you to create fun multiple choice quizzes that your students can take on their devices. Can they access the internet? Do they have a phone or tablet? Then your students can play Kahoot! The beauty of this is that everyone plays at the same time and it’s incredibly engaging. A lot of students I have talked to call Kahoot “the new game night.”
Quizlet is great for creating flashcards specific to your class material. You can make sets that incorporate pictures, videos, songs, and more. Then you can share these sets with your students and quiz them on their devices or in groups. It’s a great way to differentiate instruction and incorporate different learning styles.
ClassDojo is an app that allows you to grade your students based on their behaviors, post messages for parents to see, and track your classroom as a whole. You can utilize this tool to teach cause and effect or behavior management.
4) Learning games
There are a lot of educational apps that allow you to play games to help learn concepts. For example, Khan Academy allows you to work through tutorials and then take quizzes on the material. You don’t have to use a big-name company for this, though. Just Google “game-based” and then whatever topic you’re trying to tackle and see what pops up.
5) Take advantage of household tech
Students have access to a wide variety of technology in their homes. Utilize this by having students bring devices from home or allowing them to use a shared device during your class time. This way they can work on different concepts on their own time and you can check what they’ve been working on as homework.
6) Go old-school
Just because we’re moving on from pencil and paper doesn’t mean you should outright get rid of it. Go over problems that students can work through on their own or even assign them as homework. Just because teachers themselves may not utilize this method anymore doesn’t mean students don’t like it.
7) Utilize digital games
I’m not talking about popular games like Minecraft or Fortnite, though those are great. I’m talking about games that use concepts from your class material to make a fun game. There are a lot of these types of games out there and it’s simply a matter of looking for them. Again, a quick Google search will be your friend here.
8) Make it competitive
Creating a “class vs. class” type of atmosphere can be very engaging, especially if the other class is in your school or district. You could create a points system and then award students who accumulate the most points and/or penalize students who do not meet the goals you set forth.
9) Make it social
There are a lot of ways you can incorporate your students’ love of social media into the classroom. For example, there are apps like Padlet that allow you to post questions for your class, and then they can respond using their phones or tablets. You could also use an app like Follow Me where the class follows you (the teacher) on Twitter or posts messages they want you to answer.
10) Don’t Miss the Point
The entire point of technology is that it’s supposed to be engaging, right? So why not utilize that when you’re teaching? Have students do presentations via Google Hangouts or have them show their work on ShowMe or even just have them use device cameras to talk about concepts and ideas during your class time. Technology is supposed to keep students engaged in their learning, which means that if you’re not doing that then you’re missing the point of technology!
Your Classroom Management Idea and the 4 Keys
Tapping into student engagement and motivation isn’t difficult, it just needs to ebb and flow with the students and where they are (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Being flexible is the key to making all of this work. The key is engagement. There are four keys to student engagement that I discuss in my video training challenge that releases twice per year. It is called “Finding Your Student Engagement Formula” and it walks you through those four keys and how to implement them in the classroom.
If you are interested in registering (it’s totally free), visit the Finding Your Student Engagement Formula Challenge registration page and you will be notified the next time the series is available.