I would like to start off by asking you to think about the items that you have purchased over the last few months. Perhaps you have bought some makeup, chosen one brand of canned tomatoes over another, switched insurance companies, or even dined out at a particular restaurant. What caused you to make those decisions? Was it a billboard, a television commercial, the label looked pretty, a coupon, an email advertisement, a testimonial that you read, or were samples being given out while you shopped? Any way you slice it; there was some type of marketing involved. Talking geckos, singing M&Ms, babies talking about the stock market, or children talking about the meaning of fast and slow all grab our attention and sometimes make us laugh. In fact, I would say that most of the commercials I have described might even be considered creative and fun. These are all features that grab my attention. What do you believe grabs a student’s attention?
How do you grab your students’ attention for each of your lessons? Do you expect them all to come in, sit down, and be quiet? My 6th grade social studies teacher said these exact words on a daily basis back in 1982. I can probably count on one hand how many times it actually happened. She was a very nice lady, but was a very poor classroom teacher. Today’s students have many more distractions than I did back in 1982. Like it or not, we as teachers need be able to grab the attention of our learners. Just like the funny ads that get our attention, we need to lure them into our lessons. In my opinion, humor really is the best medicine. You could write a humorous skit about the day’s topic. This could be about any subject. Many math teachers feel left out, but a script could be written between two characters talking about fractions. The key is to be creative and have fun with it. You could us a web tool such as http://vyond.com/ (formerly goanimate.com) . After you have modeled such great creativity, students could even create their own skits on the topic of the day as part of your lesson.
I have heard teachers say, “Teaching is like tap dancing or putting on a big show.” Well, I am afraid that is probably what it takes these days. My mechanic told me once, “That is just the nature of the beast.” Today’s learner is surrounded and bombarded with entertainment from the time they leave school until they return the next morning. We have to put some effort, creativity, and fun into the lessons. Remember, if you do what you always have done, then you will always get what you have always gotten. Teachers, as well as students, will become more engaged in a lesson or project if we are all using our imagination and creativity. Create a Voki from http://www.voki.com/ or a sound clip at https://soundcloud.com/ to give instructions or deliver a message to your students. Sell your classroom and get your students to buy in and they will be more excited and willing to learn something new!
Check out more tools to stimulate creativity at the following link: http://creativitytools.weebly.com/index.html