What kind of picture shows up in your head when you think about school? Do you imagine boring, uninteresting classes and monotonous, colourless lectures? If so, we are not surprised. However, a lot of teachers care about their students’ interest and attention a lot – no matter if their students and little children, teenagers, or adults. Such teachers choose to make difficult material less difficult and tiresome lectures more entertaining.
Every student wants to be involved into some engaging creative project. We do not mean that every single class has to be a game: school is a serious institute where people have to work hard. Nevertheless, quite often a creative approach helps students relax and become more interested in a new subject. The more involved students are, the better associations they make and the more material they memorize. So what can help students be more active and interested in the subject? Now we would like to talk about different creative projects that could inspire high school or college students.
Visualization of concepts
Abstract thinking is important, but people tend to apply their knowledge and skills in practice. People want to visualize things because it helps them memorize complicated concepts. If you have a difficult topic with a lot of terms and uneasy concepts, one of the ways that works perfectly is to divide your students into the groups of three or four and ask them to draw a table or a graphic that includes these terms and shows how they are related to each other. Such an exercise helps better understanding of the subject. Through cooperation they discuss the subject and try to explain it to each other. Drawing a picture makes them see the links between concepts. Then students can make small presentations and share their results.
Students as teachers
Another interesting approach is jigsaw reading. This is extremely interesting because every student can feel like a teacher. For instance, you have two or more interesting articles that share a theme. The class is divided into groups again (the number of groups equals the number of articles). Every student in each group needs to read a particular article, summarize it, and prepare a presentation. Next time they work in groups of two or three with students who read other articles and share what they have learnt. This activity is extremely interesting because students manage to present their findings in a number of different creative ways which is always entertaining. If students enjoy this activity and like to teach, you could go further and let them teach a class. They would get a subject and need to find out information about reading materials and prominent figure in this field. They would discuss the major concepts and ideas and even give some exercise to their fellow students.
Yes, classes should be serious, but sometimes students should have a chance to have some fun during the class. Why not combine education and entertainment and offer students some interesting game that would let them review the material and answer a lot of questions about the subject they are studying? When people are competing, they are stressed enough to think quickly. A game will let students review everything they have learnt and a teacher to observe their weaknesses. Probably, some aspects of the subject will turn out to be unclear for a few of them, and you will need to pay attention to them one more time.
If you struggle with explaining your students some historical facts, make it easier and let them approach this subject creatively. A very good idea is to let students write a play or a movie script that will be about this particular historical event or figure. Maybe, it is not easy for them to memorize facts when they read a boring book, but when they create their own characters and give them descriptions and establish their relationships, everything will be much easier. They will associate a family or a group of people or even a nation with the person they have created and in the end will be able to understand the entire historical conflict and its consequences. Today people know the history of Westeros better than the history of Europe. Why? Because they like the story and they sympathize with the characters. People like to read and learn a lot about life and history from the books – so why not create your own story?
Creating your own test might sound not so entertaining, but it really is. Ask your students to create a small multiple choice or True/False test for their fellow students and mention that some of your questions will be on the real test. Students will get extremely excited. By composing questions and possible answers students will need to know these answers, so they will have to review a lot of material in order to make it right. Thus, they can help their teacher with the test and will have some time for preparation when writing their own test.
There are a lot of possible projects and assignments that can interest students and make them work harder and more enthusiastically. Teachers have no limits as long as the activities they offer really help students learn more and study better. We encourage you to be creative and excited about the subject you are teaching. When you are interested in it, students can feel it and get excited as well.