when students talk, i listen
A few weeks ago, in the midst of coming in from recess, I was given the word by several students that my English lessons
were boring less engaging than some of my other subject lessons. Now I could have gotten angry, or bent out of shape, or any other teacher emotion that comes to mind when told a lesson was not all that it could be. Truth be told, my lessons had gotten stale…that after holidays, after January, waiting for Presidents’ Day time of year. I won’t lie, grammar often got the short end of the stick in the day as I tried to fit everything in, as I am a self-contained fifth grade teacher!
Students step up!
While I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years, I’m pretty open to new ideas to improve the learning in my classroom. Trust me, I’ve known a few “done it this way for years so why change?.” teachers. That’s not me, so I tuned in with all ears as I entered the conversation. “How could I fix the lessons?, ” was what I asked. Imagine my surprise when one of my best students asked if she could teach the next lesson! We were both surprised when the words, “Sure, let’s do this!,” came out of my mouth. Next thing I knew, several more students volunteered to teach lessons.
How do I do this, Teacher?
I sat down with my first volunteer and together we chose the lesson…Object Pronouns! We chose a date…three days in the future and I gave her my teacher edition. “I’ve got this, Mrs. Mescall” was what I heard until the day of the lesson.
D-Day or should I say T-Day (teach)! My student did an amazing job…she taught us with a fun game using large dice. The students rolled the two dice of different colors. Each number on one of the dice corresponded to a specific object pronoun. The second dice numbers corresponded to a specific subject pronoun. Students then took those two pronouns and created a sentence with both pronouns used correctly. The students loved the game and my teacher student then walked around checking sentences and having the class read their sentences! SCORE!! It was a good lesson and I will totally be stealing her game for another time!!!
Our second student-led lesson was about possessive pronouns. I again shared my teacher edition and that Brainpop had a good videos and activities. My second student-led class was also a success! My second student’s lesson was more digital and the class really enjoyed it. We did so well as a class that we were rewarded with “thin mints” as we were “smart cookies”!
Have I totally given up teaching grammar and English…not really. I do still teach them both, but I have continued to offer the opportunity to teach the class. Several more students are eager to teach and I will certainly be letting them try out their teaching skills!
I do have some games and activities you might want to try to add some fun and spice to your English lessons! Check out the links below!