Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fun as a Behavior Management Tool

I had a particularly successful lesson on Wednesday. The topic of the lesson was "mood" in stories. The textbook was referring to mood as the setting (i.e. the place), the description of the character, their emotions, and what could be heard around the place at the point in the story.

I didn't introduce mood simply by going into the workbook because that would bore my students. Instead, I gave them a situation. The situation was that we are in a plane and we are about to sky dive. So, I've basically already given them the setting insofar as the place is concerned (I know that setting can extend beyond place by also including the time/period of a story, but the textbook we use didn't address that).

From there, I would give my students questions and just let them throw their ideas at me. These are the kinds of questions that I would ask them: "How do you think you would feel while you are in the plane?", "What do you think you are wearing?", and "What do you think you could hear in or around the plane?" After I took their ideas, I summarized by saying what the setting, description, character emotion, and surrounding sounds are. I could've improved the effectiveness of my lesson by restating the details that some of my students gave me for their answers.

This was a great lesson because I didn't even have to ask my students to raise their hand. Actually, it's like I had to fend them off with a stick. That's how eager they were to answer my questions. I was pretty pleased with my students' level of participation. So, I'm much more motivated to make sure that the lessons I create are fun.

I want to clarify why it's important to provide lessons that are fun. The obvious reason that you should already be familiar with is because it maximizes student participation. There are some other reasons that may not be quite as obvious. If every student is participating, that means that no student is doing something irrelevant to the lesson. For example, no student would be making cootie catchers, covertly reading their silent reading book, drawing and decorating their name (and other miscellaneous drawings).

Further, if you provide a lesson that is fun for most students, not only is it easier to spot students that are not doing what is supposed to be done in the lesson, but they will be more likely to feel peer pressure to join the majority of students who are currently engaged in the lesson.

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