5 Simple Ways to Improve a Boring Lesson

Top 5 Tricks to Try Today

bored student
Photo Courtesy of Tetra Images/Getty Images

The key to teaching any student is to get them to be actively engaged in the lesson. Textbooks and worksheets have been a staple in classrooms for decades, but they can be extremely boring. Not only are they boring to the students, but they are boring for the teachers as well.

Technology has made teaching and learning more engaging, but sometimes that may not be enough either. Although it's quite possible to have a paperless classroom that is filled with appealing technology, it's not always possible to keep students actively engaged.

Here are 5 teacher-tested tricks to help you improve a boring lesson and keep your students engaged.

1. Give Student Choice

When students are given a choice they feel like they have some kind of control over what they are learning. Try asking students what they want to read, or give them an option on how they want to go about learning a topic or completing a project. For example, let's say that students have to read a book for a lesson but it's a boring book. Give them the option of watching the movie, or acting out the book as well. If you are conducting a lesson and you want students to complete a project about it, then give them a few options, it will make it more interesting if they decide how they will complete the task, versus having you tell them what to do.

2. Add Music

The benefits of music is amazing: increased test scores, higher IQ, improved language development, and that's just to name a few.

If you find that your lesson is boring, add music to it. You can basically add music to anything if you really think about it. Let's say that you are in the middle of a multiplication lesson and you find that students are getting extremely restless, add some music. How you ask? Simple, have students clap, snap, or stomp as they are saying the times tables.

Every time they count, 5, 10, 15, 20... they will add a sound. Music can help you get out of any boring lesson, and get students back on track.

3. Use Food

Who doesn't like food? Food is the perfect option to make your boring lesson, a little less boring. Here's how. We will take the same example from above. You are working on a multiplication lesson and students are doing their times tables. Instead of adding rhythm and music, you can add food. For example, let's say students are trying to figure out what 4 x 4 is. Give each student enough gummy bears, grapes, fish crackers, or whatever other food you want to use and have them use the food to figure out the answer. If they get the answer right, they get to eat the food. Everyone's got to eat, so why not make this lesson during snack time?

4. Use Real-World Examples

There is no better way to keep students engaged then to relate the lesson to something that they already know. If you are teaching fifth graders a social studies lesson, then try having students create a song by changing the lyrics of a popular artist to correlate with what they are learning. Use technology, popular celebrities, video games, musicians, or whatever else that is currently relevant to children to keep them interested.

If you are teaching students about Rosa Parks, then find a real-world example to compare her journey to.

5. Use Objects

By objects, I mean anything from a tiny manipulative like a coin, to a magazine or an everyday item like a paper towel roll or piece of fruit. Here are a few examples of how you can use objects to increase student engagement and make your lessons less boring.

  • Lesson - students are learning the basics about measurement, instead of having them compete a boring worksheet, have them measure anything and everything that is in the classroom.
  • Lesson - students are learning a grammar lesson where they have to identify the parts of speech, give students a newspaper, or a magazine and have them pull sentences from that.
  • Lesson - students are learning about atoms and acids, have them bring in an object like a lemon and conduct a science experiment with objects that they are around everyday. 
    Format
    mla apa chicago
    Your Citation
    Cox, Janelle. "5 Simple Ways to Improve a Boring Lesson." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2016, thoughtco.com/ways-to-improve-a-boring-lesson-3967087. Cox, Janelle. (2016, March 3). 5 Simple Ways to Improve a Boring Lesson. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-to-improve-a-boring-lesson-3967087 Cox, Janelle. "5 Simple Ways to Improve a Boring Lesson." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-to-improve-a-boring-lesson-3967087 (accessed November 21, 2017).