Unshakeable - Day 12

20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching - No Matter What!

Book Study

Just my notes, thoughts, reflections while reading Unshakeable by Angela Watson.

#12 - Incorporate playfulness and have fun with learning

Create experiences

Playfulness in the classroom isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Say whaaaat? I have learned that everyone has their styles. Some teachers are warm and friendly, but don’t like to get kids wound up then bring them down. I am always ready for fun. We all have our styles.

The author is the former and explains how and why she tries to be more playful:

Create emotional experiences that make content memorable

(Ha - I think of last chapter and paper mache. Part of the fun for the students was watching me squirm and whine about the newspaper and flour)

There is a lot of research regarding the connection between emotions and learning. Human beings remember things which provoke an emotional response. We need emotion to make it “stick.”

Playful learning makes teaching more fun

Happiness is a powerful emotion. How can you not smile when there is a room full of giggles?

How far will a little bit of playfulness go in terms of engagement?

You might conserve energy when you aren’t constantly trying to get kids’ attention and force them to participate when you put a little effort into fun.

Integrate music in creative ways

- class theme song

- theme song for each unit of study

- incorporate song lyrics into lessons (hmmm…. song lyrics for demonstrated reading)

- transition songs

- try singing - 'You can even turn it into a joke—” You guys know how terrible my singing is. If you don’t follow my directions the first time, I’m going to have to sing them. Loudly.”’

Have a 30 second dance break

I used to have tons of those animals that sing when you press their ear, leg, etc. Kids loved those as we lined up, cleaned up, had a brain break. It was hilarious, yet manageable. When the animal was done, we were done.

- strike a pose

- freeze dance

Talk and read in various accents and voices

Students used to love Hank the Cow Dog - not because 2nd graders understood the more mature humor, but because I read the entire book in a ridiculous hick accent. They watched me the whole time. Then the library had to start buying all the Hank books. A few students even read every single one by the end of 3rd or 4th grade.

Who will let me do a read aloud in their classroom? I miss that!

Transform yourself into a different character

I have watched others be able to do this. I have never mastered the acting part.

“Create characters for different topics you teach and have them “visit” to facilitate a lesson. When reviewing grammar, put on a cape and transform yourself into Grammar Girl or Grammar Guy, a superhero who’s there to save student writing from incomprehensibility.”

Find fun props to use during routine activities

- puppets

- hands on sticks

- clappers

- pretend microphones (or I used a real one lol) for whole group responses

Turn the task into a game

Quickest way to make anything a game - use a timer

"If you call on a student to give an answer and it’s correct, have the rest of the class say yeeeeeee-haw, holy moly, or yeahhhh buddy. You can also have them say a made-up word, like fantabulous! The kids will love that you’re not afraid to be silly, and they’ll pay better attention so they don’t miss the antics.”

Create a learning environment where humor is celebrated

A passionate teacher with a great sense of humor truly makes learning fun. The more you care about the curriculum and give yourself and the kids permission to laugh, the easier it will be to find the fun in teaching. Your classroom can be a place full of rigor AND students can laugh the entire day.

Angela Watson. Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day...No Matter What (Kindle Locations 2092-2094).