Forty-five minutes can seem like the longest time in your life as a teacher. It’s even more painful when you have to teach something as dull and dry as grammar. Imagine, if it passes by that slowly for you, then it probably seems three times as long for your students.
So, we’ve talked about engaging bored students, but how do you sit down and create an engaging lesson plan that is dynamic for all of you? Try these three tips below!
Mix Up Activities
It can be easy to get caught up in only planning one type of activity to take up the whole class time. I don’t blame you, it makes for easy lesson planning. But even if it’s a fun activity like charades or role play, students have short attention spans (the general rule of thumb is that one year of their age is equivalent to one minute of attention span, so if they are five years old, they can focus for a max of five minutes at a time). Not to mention they get bored easily with phones and tablets training them to have multiple forms of entertainment at all times.
Choose two or three different shorter activities as opposed to only one. And activities don’t always have to be games. Start out with a worksheet to have them practice the lesson objective, then break out into a small group or whole group activity that is more dynamic.
Mix Up Group Division
Similar to the first tip, but this is about how you break up the class into groups. There are four types of work that you can have students do: individual, pair work, small group, or whole class. Doing whole class work for the entire period can become a drag for you. Why not start off with small group work then come together as a whole class to share? Or you can have students brainstorm in pairs for one activity then they can take what they worked on and use it to help them with an individual activity.
Learning can’t always be a game. But it sure does come in handy when you have to teach something as dry as grammar to a bunch of Spanish teenagers that can’t be bothered. Try to gamify your lessons once in a while. What does that mean? It can mean dividing the class in half and any time a student answers a questions correctly they earn a point for their team. Or you can do the same with small groups. Let students earn points for answering questions, asking questions, correcting other students who answer incorrectly, correcting the teacher (you can intentionally make mistakes and let them win points if they catch you, there’s nothing they like better than correcting the teacher), or being the first person/group to finish the exercise correctly. Be creative, but don’t do this all the time, as it can get boring. And the prize? There doesn’t have to be a prize, but if you wanted to, I don’t know any kids, no matter how old, that don’t go crazy for chuches (candies). Pick up a pack of sweets for a buck and the winning team can split the goodies.
The are all basic things that anyone can do and it can help keep the lesson flowing and keep the students on their toes! Give it a try and let us know how it goes down below!
How do you create fun and engaging lesson plans?