I’ve got this theory that if you make one lesson stand out (like, really stand out) then the content associated with that lesson will be more memorable and thus more beneficial to the students and their future exam success.
Two years ago I ran a revision session using games typically associated with kids’ parties, such as pass-the-parcel. Last year I did something similar but with more ‘mature’ games – while studying Nick Enright’s Blackrock we played spin-the-bottle and beer pong (but with study questions NOT alcohol).
Today… the students walked into the classroom to see craft materials laid out for them and their teacher in a lab coat. Why? Well it all stemmed from this:
That’s the opening of chapter 2 in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In that section of the novel a group of students are being walked through the facilities where they grow and train the future citizens of the world state. Rather than provide my students with real flowers (and picture books), I gave them the resources to make their own.
I figured we could make flash cards in the shape of roses, telling the class that many students praise the use of flash cards in helping them learn content for other subjects.
As for the picture books, I thought they’d be good ‘study guides’. I told the students that memorable passages or important lines could be paired with images of their construction and that this may help them remember them in the exam. It sounds legit… right?
Anyway, IN THE NOVEL, the beautiful display of flowers and bright, glossy pages is essentially a trap designed to encourage children away from an interest in nature and knowledge. Just as the children begin to enjoy these treats a loud siren blares and they receive a mild electric shock.
So… I pre-prepared a water pistol and hid it in the drawer closest to the television. I then set an alarm on my iPad and connected it to the tv with the volume as loud as it would go. Just as the students began to enjoy their craft lesson, a loud siren blared. I apologised for the ‘accident’ and went to turn it off, retrieving the water pistol as I did. After spraying everyone with a jet of water from my gun, we had a giggle and then got back to work.
THAT’s what I call a lesson they won’t forget in a hurry.
* I should also point out that I’ve also had some poorly planned, terribly managed lessons of late too – but that’s something for another post.