10 Ways to Keep Your Class Interesting

10 Teaching Strategies to Make Class More Fun

students engaged
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Have you ever been teaching a class and look over at your students to find them staring into outer space? Just when you think you have created the perfect lesson plan or engaging activity you find that your students are still not interested. If students are not paying attention, then how are they going to learn and absorb information? It is essential that teachers find a way to keep their class interesting enough that students take in the information that is being presented to them.

For decades educators have been trying new teaching strategies to keep their students on their toes and get them excited about learning. While some strategies fail, others are found to be quite effective. Here are 10 teacher-tested ways to keep your class interesting so students will stay engaged at all times.

1. Incorporate Some Mystery Into Your Lessons

Learning is the most fun when you don't know what to expect. When was the last time you were at a surprise party? How did it make you feel when you were being surprised or when you saw your friend's expression as they entered the door to a surprise? Learning can be interesting too when you make it a mystery. The next time you plan your lesson try giving students a new clue each day up until the very last day of the lesson. This is a fun way to make your lesson mysterious, and you may just find that your students are actually looking forward to finding out what they will be learning about.

2. Do Not Repeat Classroom Material

It's okay to review classroom material but you should not repeat it because this can become quite boring for students. The next time you need to review material try and play a review game and make sure to present the material in a new way, not the same way that you did it the first time that you taught students. The 3-2-1 strategy is a fun way to review material and not repeat material. For this activity students draw a pyramid in their notebooks and write down three things they learned, two things they thought was interesting, and one question they still have. It's a fun new way to go over old material without repeating it.

3. Create Classroom Games

Whether your five or twenty-five playing a game is fun. Games are a great way to keep lessons interesting while having a little bit of fun. If students need to practice their math facts then play "Around the World" if they need to remember their spelling words then have a "Spelling Bee". Games make learning fun and when there are games, there are happy children.

4. Give Students Choices

One strategy that teachers are now offering students is the ability to make their own choices when it comes to learning. Choice can be a powerful motivator because it helps to foster student interest. Research suggests that when teachers craft effective choices for children it gives them a sense of control, purpose, and competence.

In short, by giving students the opportunity to choose what or how they are going to learn you are cultivating students interest which is a great motivator. Next time you are planning an activity try making a choice board. Print out a "Tic Tac Toe" board and write down nine different tasks for students to complete. The goal is for students to choose three in a row.

5. Utilize Technology

Technology is a great way to keep your lessons interesting. Children love electronics and any chance that they get to use it is a good thing. Instead of standing in front of the room and lecturing try using a Smartboard. Instead of having students do a cooperative learning activity with just the students in the classroom, try connecting to another classroom via video-conference to do the group work with. Utilize technology in any way that you can and you will see the interest level go up tremendously in your classroom.

6. Don't Take Teaching so Seriously

Being an effective teacher is an important job but it doesn't mean that you have to take it so seriously. Try and loosen up a bit and and acknowledge that your students may have different interests or learning styles than you. It's okay to laugh at yourself at times and it is also okay to have some fun. You may even find that your students will be even more interested when you are a little bit more relaxed.

7. Make Lessons Interactive

In a traditional classroom the teacher stands in front of the room and lectures to the students as the students listen and take notes. We all know that this way of teaching is boring and has been for decades. Make lessons interactive by involving students in every aspect of the lesson, this means creating hands-on lessons. Try using the Jigsaw cooperative learning activity where each student is responsible for their own part of a whole group activity or try a hands-on science experiment. By involving students and making your lesson interactive you are keeping your class more interesting.

8. Relate Material to Students' Lives

Try and create a real-world connection to what students are learning, so that it will give them a better understanding of why they need to learn what you are teaching them. If your students are constantly asking you why they need to learn something, and you always are answering with “because” you will soon lose your credibility with your students. Instead, try giving them a real answer like "You are learning about money because in the real world you need to know how to use it if you want to survive. You need to know how to buy food and pay your bills." By giving them a real answer you are helping them connect that they must learn what they are learning for their future.

9. Flip Your Lessons

The Flipped classroom have been gaining some credibility since the term "flipped" entered the education world in 2012. The idea that students can learn new information at home and come to school and use class time for critical thinking activities and to reinforce concepts was unheard of. However, today many teachers are using this strategy and finding that the results are amazing. Students are now able to work at their own pace (which is great for differentiated learning) and engaging with their peers in a more interactive, meaningful way when they are in the classroom. Try using the Flipped teaching strategy for your next lesson and see how well your students are engaged. You never know, this may be just the tool that you were looking for to help keep your students more engaged.

10. Think Outside of the Box

Lesson plans don't have to be the same old boring worksheets or lectures where students sit and take notes time and time again. Try thinking outside of the box and do something that is completely out of the ordinary. Invite in a guest speaker, go on a field trip or take learning outdoors. When you try something new and different, there is a good chance that your students will respond with delight not defeat. The next time you are planning your lesson try collaborating with another teacher or take your students on a virtual field trip. Learning doesn't have to be boring in order to be effective. Your students will find it more interesting to learn when it is presented to them in a variety of different ways.