How do teachers implement activity based lessons?
Implementing Activity Based Lessons
I often find that it is the creation of the lesson plan that is the easy part. The difficult aspect is actually putting the lesson to use in a classroom full of students who have an array of different learning styles and abilities. Getting the lesson off to the right start is often the most vital and most difficult part of the entire experience. As mentioned previously, there is no real way to ensure that all students are doing the homework and entering your class with the background knowledge needed to actively participate in the lesson that you have worked so long and hard to prepare. In order to account for this, I often being with my Do Now activity. This is a common name for the introductory activity that serves as a quick way to establish that class has begun, set a tone for what is expected and introduce the topic. I have also heard this called a Bell Ringer in some schools.
In an activity based lesson the Do Now should be... well, an activity. However, it does not have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as an image or a quote that is posted on the board for students to analyze. It should simply get the students thinking about the topic.
Once all the students are settled and you have introduced the Aim for the day you can proceed with the lesson you have worked on. To keep their interest, I often try to motivate them by connecting the Do Now activity with something happening in the school, pop-culture, or in their own lives. The key to motivating students is sparking some sense of imagination through your analogy that connects the topic of discussion. Example: when looking at the topic of United States Industrialization in the Post Civil War Era, I asked the students what are everyday items that they own that they cannot live without. Then I asked to students to do just that, imagine a world without internet and cell phones and how different their lives would be. As we discussed the impact of technology in modern life, it allowed for us to bridge to a discussion of how the changing technologies in the late 1800s impacted the everyday lives of citizens.
Its your turn!