10 Ways to Keep Your Class Interesting

Teaching Strategies to Make Your Class More Fun

students engaged
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Have you ever been in the middle of teaching a class, glanced at your students, and caught them staring into space? Just when you think you've created the perfect lesson plan or engaging activity, you may find that your students are unfocused and out to lunch. Yet it's essential that you find ways to keep your classes interesting so your students can absorb and retain the information that you present.

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

1. Incorporate Mystery Into Your Lessons

Learning may be the most fun for your students when they don't know what to expect. Try to incorporate a sense of surprise and mystery into your lessons. When you're about to unveil a new lesson, give students a new clue each day up until the last day before the start of the lesson. This is a fun way to make your lesson mysterious, and you may find that your students are actually looking forward to finding out what they'll be learning about next.

2. Don't Repeat Classroom Material

It's appropriate and essential to review classroom material, but try not to repeat it verbatim because this can make it less interesting for students. The next time you need to review material, try playing a review game during which you present the information in a way that's different from the first time you taught the students. The 3-2-1 strategy is a fun way to review 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 were interesting, and one question they still have.

3. Create Classroom Games

Whether you're 5 or 25, playing a game can be fun. Games are also a great way to keep lessons interesting. If your students need to remember their spelling words, conduct a spelling bee—a contest in which participants are eliminated when they misspell a word. Or if the students need to practice math, have a math bee, which is similar to a spelling bee, but with math problems or facts instead of spelling words. Games make learning fun, and games in class are a prescription for happy kids.

4. Give Your Students Choices

One strategy that teachers have found to be effective is offering their students 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 and independence. The next time you're 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 each student to choose three tasks in a row.

5. Use Technology

Technology is a great way to keep your lessons interesting. Children love electronics, so try incorporating it into your overall teaching strategy. Instead of standing in front of the room and lecturing, try using a Smartboard interactive display. Expand your cooperative learning activity lessons by connecting to a classroom in another city or country via videoconferencing. Use technology in a variety of ways, and you'll see the interest level in your classroom increase by leaps and bounds.

6. Don't Take Teaching so Seriously

Being an effective teacher is an important job, but that doesn't mean that you have to remain serious in class at all times. Try to loosen up a bit and acknowledge that your students may have different interests and learning styles than your own. It's OK to laugh at yourself at times and to have some fun. You may find that your students are more interested when you're a little more relaxed.

7. Make Your 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. Unfortunately, this is not the most effective way to hold students' interest. Make learning interactive by creating hands-on lessons that involve students every step of the way. Try using the Jigsaw cooperative learning activity in which each student is responsible for his or her own part of a group activity. Or try a hands-on science experiment. When you involve students and make your lessons interactive, your class becomes more interesting.

8. Relate Material to Your Students' Lives

Try to create a real-world connection to what your students are learning. This will give them a better understanding of why they need to learn what you're teaching. If they're constantly asking you why they need to learn something and you're always answering with “because,” you will soon lose credibility. Instead, try giving them a real answer such as, "You're learning about money because in the real world, you'll need to know how to buy food and pay your bills." By giving a straightforward answer, you're helping them make a connection between what they're learning in class and how they'll use this information in the future.

9. Flip Your Lessons

The flipped classroom has been gaining in popularity since the term "flipped" entered the broader education world in 2012. When it was first presented, the idea that students could learn new information at home and then come to school and use class time for critical thinking activities and reinforcement of concepts was unique. However, many teachers are using this strategy and achieving positive results. Students in a flipped classroom are able to work at their own pace (which is great for differentiated learning) and engage with their peers in a more interactive, meaningful way when they're in the classroom. Try using the flipped teaching strategy for your next lesson and observe the depth of your students' engagement.

10. Think Outside the Box

Lesson plans don't have to include worksheets or lectures during which students sit and take notes time and again. Try thinking outside the box and plan a lesson that's completely out of the ordinary. Invite a guest speaker, go on a field trip, or take learning outdoors. When you try something new and different, there's a good chance that your students will respond positively. When planning a lesson, try collaborating with another teacher or taking your students on a virtual field trip. Learning that engages students is the most effective. Your students will find it more interesting to learn when you present the material to them in a variety of creative ways.