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how can yall make learning interesting for kids?

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Alison’s Answer

Hi Dantavia,
This is such a HUGE question! You will probably take entire courses on it if you do end up getting a teaching certification. It can be tremendously difficult to make every lesson everyday interesting for every student. It gets even harder when you remember that there are state and federal standards that you have to meet while you’re doing it. Since there is not one magical technique that works for all students all of the time, let me give you some of my favorite “go-to”s.

-Discovery Learning - This is where you set a challenge for students to figure out on their own. You provide them with the information they need, but they need to piece it together for themselves. For example, if I wanted my students to be able to use past tense verbs correctly, maybe I’d tell them a story about what I did during the last school vacation or holiday. As they were listening to the story, they could follow along with a written paragraph that had all of the past tense verbs missing and fill in those words as they heard them in my story. Then they could work with a partner/group to figure out what all the written in words had in common (“they all end in ‘ed’” and “they all happened before today”). From there, you just have to point out that the students made the connection correctly: past tense verbs happen before now and many of them end in “ed”.

-Real Life - Selecting topics that are related to students in some way can help students feel more interested in the material. Sometimes this can be easy to do. “There’s an election coming up; Candidate X believes in repealing this environmental protection rule, and Candidate Z believes in supporting and strengthening it. There’s a business in our town that will be directly following this rule or won’t have to follow it, depending on who gets elected. What are the consequences of this rule going into effect or being repealed, and based on that, who should you tell your parents to vote for?” Sometimes it can be a little harder to make students realize the connection between their lives and their learning, however, so you have to come up with a way to show them. I really like how this teacher figured out how to make his students realize differences in socio-economic status:

-Practical Applications - Showing students how to use information from class outside of class can also be really motivating. For example, if your class was going on a field trip to Washington DC, maybe your teacher would (1) have you do some research on different museums/tourist attractions then give the class a summary of the site you researched so the class can vote on exactly what you’ll see on the trip - uses your researching skills from social studies or science, and your summarizing and persuasion skills from English, then (2) plot the most efficient route possible through the city so you can actually get to all the things the class voted to see - uses your map reading from social studies or science and your data analysis from math, and finally (3) figure out how much time you’ll be spending on the bus to the city and how much it’ll cost to get into those attractions so you can go on the trip prepared with enough money to do everything and enough stuff to keep you entertained during your travels - math, math, math.

-Giving Students the Power - Sometimes the best way to get a student interested is to let you pick what you’re interested in to work on. If your teacher has ever let you choose your own book for a book report, your own topic for a research paper, or your own role in a cooperative group project, they’re trying to give you the power over your own learning. We hope that when we do this, students take the opportunity to realize that, ultimately, you control your level of interest and level of success when learning. A teacher can stand in front of a class and talk until they turn blue, but if students choose not to listen or not participate then no learning happens. So, my final “go-to” (which is more like my daily philosophy, really) is let the students know how important they are. Because YOU absolutely are the most important things in any classroom.

Hope this helps, future teacher. :)
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Dave’s Answer

Alison's answer was spot-on. Students today like to feel that they have some say in their learning. And they want to learn things that are relevant to them at the moment. You can't say someday you're going to use this. It has to be something that they can use today. And it can't be something that they use just to get an answer for you.
It also helps if they have a resource if they can go to if they get stuck. Sometimes working with a partner helps, sometimes they need to be able to go to a resource in your room to help discover the answer. Kids do not like homework. What if you worked really hard in class and were able to finish I work during class? It helps if there are rewards built in that they can relate to as well. Everybody works hard in class today everybody works as a team, we don't need to do homework tonight because we've learned it all in class today by working hard. Sometimes study guides help. But don't give them all the answers.
and they should look forward to coming into your class because today we're going to play a game. They just don't know but they're reviewing for a test.
the high academic students in your class will want to maintain that high academic profile. The lower academic students just want to finish your class.
Projects done in class could also be fun. Again, it has to be something real for them, not something just to get a grade. And in fact it's much easier to deal with if we're not talking about grades at all. It's talking about getting the information that you're trying to present to the students.
If I assign homework, I give them at least five minutes to work together. I also make sure that I'm available to every student who needs more assistance. That would mean you're there early in the morning and after school as well. In any students having problems I would make myself available during their home room. Every day to help them catch up. If you show interest in them they will show interest in you. Make sure everything you say is positive. Students want to please adults. Do you like to be valued. If you are enthusiastic about what you do and they see it they will work to their maximum for you. Remember every day you should do something fun. Remember how excited first graders are? what happens between them and sophomores in high school who can't wait to be finished and out of there? It's because those first grade teachers are so excited and everything they do just seems like a fun thing! If you make it look like work it will be work. If you make it look like you're just having a great time everyone will have a great time.
Teaching is a very rewarding profession. I taught all levels and practically every subject in high school. During my 40 years of teaching I taught PE, woodworking, music, art, English, history, math, driver's ed, science, ETC. I loved my students but I hated the paperwork. And as the above professional mentioned there's all kinds of state and federal guidelines for you to follow. But at the end of it your students will think that you were the most wonderful teacher they ever had! Remember reward, reward, reward. Remain positive at all times. Be flexible. You can't copy off of someone else because there's only one of you! Good luck and stay the course because it's an exciting ride!
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Bryce’s Answer

Hi Dantavia,

this is a very complex question with an wen more complex answer. Gaining students' interest involves many layers and there isn't one answer that will solve the problem for each student. Interest or engagement starts with identifying students own interest. Then with your teachings you have to appeal to these interests. Next, you have to make sure your teachings are relatable and students can make connections to the information. You can achieve this by finding culturally responsive material Sand supplying students with real-world experiences.Like I said there are many things you can do to get students engaged but you just have to figure out what strategies work for your students.
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Joan’s Answer

Alison and Dave gave you great advice.

Some things to keep in mind:

Be sure to tailor your class to the age and composition of your class.

Know your group of students and their interests so that you can make your classes interesting to them.

Get them involved--don't just lecture--make sure your classes are interactive.

Think of your favorite teachers....what did they do in their classes that made them so special and made you look forward to their classes?

Try using as many different methods as you can. For example:

Use technology
Use audiovisual aids, videos etc.
Relate what you are teaching to the real world (current events,sports etc.)and/or how it may help them in their lives
If you can, make it fun.
Be creative
Let your students take the lead-in what they want to learn, presentations to the class, and/or special projects that interest them

There are so many things you can do to make learning interesting for your students. Here are a few links to help you: