Conversations with my children are generally quite insightful. So insightful that I feel it necessary to share one from this past weekend.
Setting: In my car on Saturday, going to a soccer game.
Characters: Will (4th grade) & Mom
Will: School is boring.
Mom: Well, what makes it boring?
Will: It’s just boring because there are not enough fun activities.
Mom: What would be some fun activities?
Will: My dream classroom would be…there would be a teleport machine. Every desk would have iPads and on the iPads there would be apps of the students’ choice. On one wall there would be a beach and on the other wall there would be a math board.
Mom: Interesting. But, what would be the fun activities? Part of my job is helping teachers find fun activities for their classes? What should I tell them?
It took a while for me to get Will to understand that teachers have to teach to standards. But, once he got it, his responses were great.
Will: In Reading / English, teacher should take their classes outside the classroom. Maybe, they could listen to an audio book together outside. Every week, they journal about a subject they want to journal about. Have the kids read what they want, not what the school wants them to read. This is better because they can have more fun that way when they do what they want to do. In Technology, every part of class, kids can go on a website they like and play games. The kids would not be able to go to anything closed off or inappropriate. And, also in every part of class, they can research on something they want to research on. They would journal about it. In Math, do fun activities like less Math homework.
Zach (2nd grade) chimed in while I was typing: Rich tasks because, Mom, those are fun.
Will: Kids should have more field trips and they could choose which class the field trip relates to. If the school doesn’t have enough money, the teachers should collect donations from the parents or go on field trips around the school campus. In Science, do more fun labs. Kids take votes on labs. In Social Studies, at the end of class, kids get to vote on a fun game to play.
Zach chiming in again: There would be ball chairs. On some of the tables there would be regular chairs that had wheels on them. You would get to decide where to sit. And, on the first day of school, you would get to set your name tag on the seat you wanted and each quarter, you would get to change seats. And, for homework, teachers would ask you to use Legos.
There is so much to reflect upon in this conversation. But, I would like to end with one question. What would your students say if you asked them how you could make school (or your class / instruction) more fun?