Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Tips to Keep Your Students Interested

  1. Cultivate the Element of Surprise!  Plan surprises and then tell your students to look forward to them...on a particular day or at the end of the hour, for example.  I've used films, games, French treats and special skits (performed by me :).
  2. Build Anticipation  Tell students about all the exciting things you have planned for them this year, next week, next month and especially in the next level of your class.  Students need to have things to look forward to.
  3. Deliver the Unexpected  Find ways to "repackage" your content.  Be unconventional.  Close your textbooks more often.  Think outside the box.  My best idea has been to create stories about a department store mannequin named Jacques, who lives in my classroom.  (See posts on "How to Use a Mannequin in Your Classroom!) 
  4. Make your Classroom Inviting  Place interesting objects on your desk, and change them once in a while.  Hang things from the ceiling.  Use plants.  Buy some air freshener.  Make the room a place everyone will enjoy spending time in.
  5. Accentuate the Positive  Take time to remind students how far they've come and how much they've accomplished.  They tend to focus on what they don't know instead of all they've learned.  For example, I tell my students how many vocabulary words they've learned at the end of each year.
Jacques, the classroom mannequin.
Escargot (snail) tape dispenser on my desk.

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