Creative Lesson Ideas

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Apollo151, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. Apollo151

    Apollo151 New Member

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    Jun 6, 2015

    Hey everybody!

    So I am currently in University, but I am already thinking up some ideas for creative lesson ideas.

    I plan on teaching History at either the High School or Middle School level, so I imagine that I have a bit of creative freedom regarding how the information is presented to the students as long as it adheres to the government core curriculum, right?

    I was thinking that I would offer an approved list of movies, books, and even video games for students to use for visual aide material. I was thinking of using them as sort of fun way to present the material to students.

    I know my brother who is a Sophomore in High School has issues with ADHD and just staring at notes all day and night, so I was thinking that maybe this could be a more interactive way for the students to educate themselves outside of the classroom.

    I know that there are a lot of movies that refer to historic material, there are a couple of video game series that I know are historically accurate when it comes to historical figures such as the Assassin's Creed series.

    Now I know this might be a bit controversial to the traditionalists, but even I found it tough to pay attention to school when it was just pages and pages of notes.

    I wouldn't have them playing video games in class of course. The movies/books/video games would be more as extra credit projects/reports for the students to do.

    Any suggestions that are not simply saying 'No' or outright shutting down my idea without contributing a better one?
    So is this
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 6, 2015

    you may or may not have creative freedom. It will depend upon your school and/or district.

    Videos, books and even games can be good supplements. But they can't take the place of actual instruction. What exactly are you planning to do during the time you have your students, if they are going to be expected to get information from movies outside of class?

    Are you expecting them to get actual facts from video games? And remember them for tests?

    How exactly are you going to guarantee that your students have access to these supplemental materials? You might find that your students don't even go to school with paper and pencils. You might be at a school where students simply do not/cannot spend time on school work once they leave campus. Do you think they'll actually rent John Adams to watch in their spare time?
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 6, 2015

    I laud your desire to make your subject more engaging for your students. Remember though that you are responsible for teaching the state standards to ALL of your students, and 2nd brings up some good concerns. Not all students will have access to games and videos, etc. They're great supplements, but extra credit, etc. is inequitable if not everyone has access to it.

    I remember when I first started, I was intending to show Star Trek to my students, because honestly, it's one of the things that got me interested in science. Nothing from a book, notes, or anything my teachers taught me. It was fiction. And you can tie in things like that.

    One project I did this year involved art, and imagining an alien solar system. Students had to develop an imaginary solar system that they depicted with spray paint, and then went on to classify the star in their system and the planets, talking about their seasons and lengths of their day, as well as the composition of the planets and age of the star.

    Students are very creative and love the feeling they get when they create something that they think is good quality. Maybe tap into that.
     
  5. Apollo151

    Apollo151 New Member

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    Jun 6, 2015

    I was thinking more as a way to offer it as supplemental material for extra credit purposes.

    The standard lectures and presentations would be utilized during class time, with the occasional video or film.

    I realized, at least when I was in school, that standard note taking and lectures were boring and I did not retain the information well. However, when I surrounded myself in my free time with various media that I found entertaining and genuinely interesting that contained relevant information to a particular subject I was learning about in school, I actually retained the lectures better because I had a sort of..."fun" point of reference for some of the information.

    For example, I had some issues in AP Bio retaining some of the more detail oriented chemical functions and reactions in the body. I ended up watching some sci-fi movies at home and because of the entertaining framework that the subject matter came in, I willingly did some research on the subject which later helped me in class.

    Something similar to that, where I offer entertaining media outlets for students which sort of piques their own natural interest to go study a subject all on their own.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 7, 2015

    A problem that many new teachers face is an assumption that their students will be just like them.

    You looked into those chemical reactions because you found something that was interesting to YOU. Did you do your own independent research for your math class? Your history class? Or did you just get excited learning about something you were already interested in?

    Don't assume that if you throw the same opportunities to your students that they are going to be as revved up as you were - their interests may not be the same as yours.
     
  7. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Jun 7, 2015

    As a Virginia HS History teacher, welcome! Creativity is going to depend very much on district, though.

    Your population of students might determine a lot too. For instance, I would never offer viewing a movie/playing a video game as extra credit unless I could offer an equal opportunity that required as little work. I have so many students who wouldn't be able to access a movie/game on demand due to their home situation.

    There are so many creative things you can do in the classroom, though. My school doesn't allow movies to be shown, but we certainly don't take notes all class. You can work with primary sources, political cartoons, etc.
     
  8. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jun 12, 2015

    Honestly, offering a few feel goods for extra credit isn't going to do a darn thing for learning in your classroom. It is good that you are considering engagement for your future students but it takes more than what you're suggesting.

    I'd highly recommend reading Teach like a PIRATE if you want to see what creativity in a history classroom can look like. You can also check out the #tlap and #sschat hashtags on Twitter.

    If you want to see my curriculum which hardly touches a textbook and does notes very differently you get it all mrroughton.com.

    And, I do use Assassin's Creed a couple times throughout the year but I just use a quick Let's Play clip and don't expect, or ask, my students to play anything M rated.
     
  9. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Jun 13, 2015

    I understand what you're saying, and I definitely support connecting things in the classroom to things that kids may be more naturally interested in. While suggesting that students watch a movie or saying something like, "If you play XYZ video game, you may notice ABC... that actually happened..."

    You could do an ongoing open ended type of extra credit assignment like, "Find something in your life that connects to what we're studying in class." That way it can be something related to freedom of speech, civil rights, etc. Really, any student can find an example of something like this if they just look around them, no matter what their situation is.

    A history teacher at our school does a "History vs. Hollywood" unit for the week before Christmas break. He shows clips from movies and discusses what is accurate and what is fictional.

    I think finding creative ways to bring these things into the classroom will be more effective than making them optional extra credit assignments. For example, I teach English and we are required to do vocabulary. While I could just say, "Write a sentence using each word", we do more creative things. The students are put into pairs and are assigned opposing characters from the novel we're reading. Then they have to write things that the characters would say to each other. I usually give them the protagonist/antagonist characters because my students like to write insulting things using the vocab words- and I would rather that be in role play than to each other!
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jun 13, 2015

    I think it is great that you want to have creative lessons in history.

    I have been at 3 schools with 8 principals for over 20 +years of teaching. I have never been told to not be creative. I will say though that you want to make sure you make learning into fun and not fun into learning. The former emphasizes the standard to be taught and a fun way to teach it. The second comes up with some fun movie, video game or activity and creatively gets a little learning out of it. The second often doesn't fly with many principals as they will see there is only a small amount of learning going on in the activity.

    Some things that I use that really work are the following:

    1. Mini-plays where we go back in time and re-create history with simple props and fun scripts. Students are held accountable for the material through some form of assessment, and the history lesson is tied directly to a standard or two that is expected to be covered.

    2. I dress up as an important character and pretend I am that character. I often videotape this so the class can watch key points that this character said. Costumes can be expensive so I usually ask teachers through e-mails--(does anyone have a beard, black hat etc.) I also find some saies such as right after Halloween time.

    3. In class games such as Jeopardy are great. I get to ask exactly the questions I want the students to know.

    4. Key short videos or video clips. There are some excellent history videos that are amazing. I do give assessments on every video that I show to make sure they know, "Hey I know this is fun, but I want to make sure you are learning as well."

    Have fun with it. When you and the students are having fun, and they are learning, the classroom can be a wonderful place for all.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 13, 2015

    In addition to many of the concerns raised here, I'd be further concerned that you might struggle finding age-appropriate movies and video games worth watching. I mean, isn't Assassin's Creed rated M? If a teacher told my kid to go play an M-rated video game for credit in his class, I'd be pretty irritated. As a parent I get to be the one to decide whether a particular game or video is appropriate for my kid. That's not their teacher's call.

    What I do in my classroom is offer extra credit to students who seek out a related topic in the real world. Like, if we're learning about (or have already learned about) Roman numerals and they bring me photos of all the clocks they find with Roman numerals, boom--extra credit. Students get into this, and the motivated students really go all out. Offering self-selection options are much safer for you in terms of parental and admin support, and they're much more interesting for the kids.

    In any event, I would recommend that you avoid focusing too much on extra credit and other things that will happen outside your classroom. Focus more on the lessons you will deliver in class.

    Have you looked into doing a flipped classroom?
     
  12. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Jun 13, 2015

    Although I don't personally go for it, some teachers I know of swear by game-based learning, where the lessons are done in the context of an RPG (role playing game). There are entire curricula with accompanying software for this sort of thing.
     

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