Today, though, two colleagues (at different times of the day) told me about some of the GREAT things they are doing with their classes. I poked my head out of my teaching shell long enough to take a good look around, and was so inspired by what teachers at my school are doing.
One of my colleagues is using Plickers for the first time in her Law class - it's a quick way to poll the students in her class and project real-time results. But instead of everyone needing a device of some kind, the students hold up cards and she scans the room with a tablet. What a great way of getting immediate (and possibly anonymous) feedback from the students when not all of them have access to technology.
One of the math teachers is looking for ways to get his locally developed math class engaged. He was showing me an activity they were going to do today which involved going outside, throwing tennis balls against a wall and catching them. They had to catch as many as they could in 30 seconds, and then repeat with a bounce. And then repeat with one eye closed. (Oh, and then they had to do ratios and percentages with their data afterward.) I love this kind of active math. I want to be able to do more of that in my math classes too.
Another of my colleagues is doing a Global Read Aloud project with her class. They are in the process of coming up with and choosing the questions to ask their partner class to figure out where in the world they are. Hearing about how invested the students are in crafting the perfect questions, as well as their strategy for unravelling the mystery as they lead up to the actual project, is so wonderful. Talk about investing in your education!
I traded classrooms with yet another colleague earlier this week so he could do a tree identification lab with his class. All the lab benches were covered with branches of various trees as the students made their way through a bell-ringer to identify them. Where did they first learn about the trees? Not from a book... but while out on a hike just off school grounds. Love that they can bring take their learning outside (and then bring the outdoors back into the classroom).
And how could I forget - another science teacher had his students create cell models using whatever medium they would like. One group donated their project to the science office when they were finished, and it was delicious! I love seeing students get this creative with their work.