Don’t you think it would have been better if our instructors taught us addition and subtraction in a rather fun way? Like creating a song out of the lecture maybe? It would have been easier to retain the knowledge in our heads that way. Well, life is easy said no one ever and we have had our share of problems to deal with as students. We had to learn the concepts in the dry, rather boring way. However, I teach my students in a more engaging way (that is what the school asks of us). The classrooms in the school have excess to internet and exams dumps. This way I teach the students by showing them informational videos, educational movies and at times play games with them.
In my 7 years of career as a teacher, I have taught the students through various educational games and have found the following most effective:
Majority of my students find it challenging to learn the concepts related to Math. So, I started taking 3-D dices to the classroom. I make the huge dices out of cardboard myself and divide the students into pairs (sometimes in small groups). I then teach them addition and subtraction. The kids find it rather funny to carry the big dices around the class but they learn during the process. And the concepts that they learn this way, get engraved in their brains. They learn faster than they usually would as a result of this as well. You can come up with various games of your own to play with the dices.
To teach spellings to the little ones, I divide my class into groups of 4-5 and play scrabble. Here’s the twist. My class does not know what actual scrabble boards look like (or that’s what I am assuming). They play scrabble on the floor of the classroom with the huge flashcards (that have alphabets written on them). I provide each group with a set of flashcards (with all 26 alphabets) and make them compete against each other. This instills a sense of healthy competition in the students apart from teaching them difficult spellings.
What is Condensation?
I remember explaining condensation to my students using the following experiment:
- I filled a glass with water and added blue food color to it
- In another glass of water, an added shaving foam to it (it did not sink)
- I then started adding the colored water in this glass that had shaving foam drop by drop
There came a time when the water beneath the shaving foam started getting blue as well. It became easier for me to explain to the kids the concept of condensation after they witnessed this experiment. I told them that when the clouds become saturated with water and cannot hold any more water, they start showering rain upon us. Till date, my students refer to rain as the shaving foam experiment, which is cute.
What Do the Different Nations Do?
Things learned through rote learning or cramming do not stay with you for long. However, if the basic concept is clear in your mind, the lesson stays with you for the rest of the life. I did not ask my beloved students to learn what a certain country produced or was famously known for. Instead, I drew an outline of the world map on a classroom wall (using sticky notes) and labeled the countries. I would then write a new thing about a particular country in that country’s section. My students would notice and read it every day. They would then research more about it and we used to have elaborate in-class discussions. This way the students developed two skills:
- Patience (because they had to wait for their turn to share the knowledge they had acquired about the topic)
Oh, and they did learn facts about the countries too.
This game is my favorite to play with the students. So, I would tell my students to arrange themselves according to their height without uttering a word. Or I would assign each student a state capital which they would display on their foreheads. And ask them to arrange themselves in alphabetical order. This way they developed the habit of maintaining silence (not an easy habit to adapt to) and learned the names of various states, animals, games etc.
There came a time when the students started suggesting game ideas to me. I was glad to learn that they are enjoying the whole experience while not learning in the process. I teach all my students the technique of conversing with people on phone as well. I remember asking a student to explain the problem our cable network was facing by calling the Cox Customer service number and talking to the rep. To my surprise, the little kid was quite confident while the whole conversation.