I’ve never been afraid to have students take notes, listen to lectures, or learn facts. But that doesn’t mean my classroom is one-dimensional. Being a firm believer in engaging students in as many ways as possible (and having had to write a paper or two on brain-based learning in college) I change it up as creatively as I can, whether through painful originality or blatant thievery.
So is this post about creative teaching? Nope. It’s about the things my students have had to do this week in order to step outside their boxes – and maybe for my entertainment.
Example 1: My agricultural biology class has moved to seventh period (we have seven periods a day – no blocks for us). While I thought coming back from lunch 5th period jacked up on Mountain Dew was rough for 31 sophomores last term, the end of the day has created a whole new set of challenges. The worst one being their self-determination that learning ends at 2:23, despite the fact that schools continues until 3:12pm. Therefore, a little ‘motivation’ was in order Monday as they were taken outside, divided into four groups, and then given the task of creating a dance that demonstrates the four steps of mitosis.
Yep, picture that in your mind a minute.
The beauty of having these 31 particular sophomores is that I had 29 of them in Intro to Agricultural Science their freshmen year, so there is a fair amount of connection/relationship developed at this point. Otherwise this might have been a train wreck. As it was, fairly well choreographed. Two and a half stars.
Example 2: Like I mentioned, the new semester has just begun. For the Intro to Ag Science final the week before last, I told them it would be comprehensive and even open-note. What they didn’t know is that their final would be the task of creating a TV-show presentation that summarized everything we’d done during the term and include why each was important to learn about for the future. The result? A couple groups did game shows (quite well), another was a news broadcast, but the gems of the day were “The Young and the Restless present Ag” (complete with theme music and Timmy in a tractor accident) and a sock puppet show. Melodrama and smelly feet all in one day. Three stars.
Example 3: Veterinary Science is currently in their surgical procedures unit. This includes suturing and some rehabilitated bananas (thank you, Ideas Unlimited!) as well as some of the procedures down in production agriculture, such as castration, docking, etc. I decided to throw in ear notching for pigs as well. To apply the learning, students cut out a set of pig’s ears and had to notch them according to the litter and individual numbers they received.
While this may sound pretty vanilla at this point some of you may predict the cherry coming on top. Upon completion of their ears students had to take the ears to their heads, then go around the room and identify one another on a note card. One this was done they sorted themselves by litter.
To summarize, juniors and seniors running around with orange pig ears taped to their heads. I love my job.