Playing around in class

Yesterday was fun and I felt like a fun teacher. Too often I am too serious – serious about the learning experiences I’ve designed for my students and whether they’re going to achieve the learning outcomes I hope and serious about student focus and distraction. Yesterday, however, was different. And it was good.

Year 7 are currently exploring different types of storytelling as they try to answer the question, Why do we continue to tell stories? They’ve been play-building and scriptwriting, trying to appropriate traditional and contemporary storytelling methods. Yesterday they began blocking out their performances using an improvised space at the top of the library. We are very lucky that the tables up there have wheels on the bottom! The space was ultimately filled with laughter and other sounds – lots of weird cackles and even the Benny Hill themes thanks to iPhone apps used for sound effects! It was really cool to just watch them let go and be creative. They were all on task and any silliness was part of the learning – cos play is silly but it’s part of learning. I’m really looking forward to seeing their final performances, which are being filmed for Lee’s Kindy class. They’re our audience!

Year 10 are about to start a ‘Macbeth’ project. I haven’t been very excited about this project because it’s one I’ve run a few times and I don’t really like repeating projects. I know it’s pretty much essential to do that when teaching 6 different classes of all different ages, but it doesn’t make it any more fun. I did spend Sunday night reworking the project as much as I could get away with, and also modified my hook lesson. Yesterday was said hook lesson and it was great. It being great does remind me that you can do similar activities with different groups of students and still enjoy it! If you search ‘Macbeth’ in the search bar on this blog, you’ll find a brief overview of the activity we did. I changed it slightly, getting students to present tableaux representing a specific type of power, rather than acting it out. I also got them to add paper ‘speech bubbles’ so it was kind of like a live comic. Really cool. Kids loved it. It was nice just pushing all the tables and chairs in my room to the sides and really opening up the space. I’ve got to do that more often. I’ve also got to be more playful… I certainly am getting too serious in my old age!

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2 thoughts on “Playing around in class

  1. I know what you mean… Have been really challenged the last two years to open up and have some fun with it all. After all, if the teacher is bored… Have taken a lot of cues and inspiration from what you’ve been doing with your lessons and tried to reawaken the ‘fun’. One of the successful things I’ve managed to get my year 10 class to play with is a meme building exercise that helped show their understanding of ‘Macbeth’ by the end of Act Two. It came about because the unit was straddling two terms and this was the last lesson I had with them before a significant break. They loved developing an understanding of the reasoning and development behind memes as social commentary and then came up with a few corkers…

  2. Here, here. You sometimes forget that you are dealing with young children and it can be nice to see them let loose and experiment. It is very easy to get caught up with targets and learning objectives.

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