So something I’ve noticed recently is that my classes have been going really smoothly.  Actually, every class now I have nearly no classroom management problems and every students is engaged for nearly the entire class on their work.  I don’t think I’m doing anything tricky, I’m just doing what the students want to do.

Imagine this box represents all of the possible learning activities you could do in a classroom.

Rectangle

Now imagine that you draw a circle inside the box to represent all of the activities your students want to do.  Note: Diagram not to scale.

Rectangle with one circle

Now we draw a circle which represents the portion of the possible educational activities you want to do and which are relevant for the topic area you are facilitating or teaching.

Rectangle with overlapping circles

All you do is choose a learning activity for class which occurs in the intersection of the two circles shown in red.  In my experience this includes any activity in which all of the following three criterion is met:

  1. The students get to create something or interact with the material more deeply.
  2. The students see the point of the activity.
  3. The students are engaged at a higher level on the pyramid of learning.

Some examples of activities which qualify include, but are not limited to:

  • Students tutoring each other
  • Creating video tutorials or podcast tutorials
  • Projects based on the real world applications of what you are teaching
  • Student led interviews with professionals in the field
  • Student generated quizzes, worksheets, tests, etc…
  • and more….

What I’ve also noticed over time is that the intersection gets a bit larger as the students see a trend: they are doing fun, relevant and engaging activities all the time.  They will tend to more willing to do other activities because they spend most of the time in your class engaged, so they will jump in and focus on activities which they may have otherwise enjoyed less in a non-interactive class.

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