Entertaining students seems to be a gigantic subject of debate. I have been applying to many schools trying to find the place with which I want to partner. Many school districts use a survey to see if your responses match what they are looking for.
One of the sets of questions has to do with entertaining students. Now I know that entertaining is not the same thing as making education fun, howeer, there is a great need to engage the students.
Personally, I like to make education more like a partitipation sport. Once I teach the concept I go into learning teams. It is in these teams that the students learn to work together and apply all their new-founded knowledge. Something else I have witnessed is the remarkable way th students can get along with one another.
I do not allow the students to pick their teams. I assign them by ability levels. What I mean is that I make sure there is someone in every group who has different weanesses and strengths. This way they can learn from each other. I tell them ahead of time not to gripe about the teams. Even when they say they have a problem with someone, I tell them they need to work it out because in life they will have to work with people whom they do not like. I have seen some remarkable work from people who “supposedly” do not get along.
I am a music teacher. One of the assignments that I have used is when learning about musicals. Prior to learning about musicals, we learned basic music theory, notations and rhythm. We watched a musical on DVD. We then learned all the components of the musical. I did test them on theory,the content of the musical and the components. Afterwards, I placed them into groups based on the results of the tests.
There was one goal for the class: to write a mini musical. WE worked together first to come up with a theme and title. Then each group had a diferent component of the musical to create. I gave the rubrics, timelines, helpful worksheets and the chance to grade one another’s projects. (I think they liked this best). What resulted was a magnificent project.
A fun experience does not have to mean playing games. A fun experience allows students to put forth their individuality by putting together their own projects. Why should teachers soley give out worksheets, reading assignments and questions to answer? If more teachers gave our students opportunities to actually create something new and fresh, they would learn to love education and have fun in the process.