Amazing Kids! Magazine

Making Education Exciting

By Ryan Traynor, Contributing Writer

 

When I walk into school, I smile.  I can’t help it – I LOVE SCHOOL!  I know it sounds crazy, being a 7th grade boy, but I look forward to going to school every day.  It’s not only because of my friends, recess and lunch; my teachers make learning fun too.  Here are the things I see that make my lessons exciting:

  1. Acting  – Many times we get to take on a role in a scene from a historical time.  So far this year we’ve acted out stories from a medieval fair and we’ve taken on roles from the different class systems in the dark ages including the king, serfs, lords, knights and barbarians.
  2. Creating – We get to put together creative items to demonstrate our knowledge of the material such as creating dioramas, book covers or posters for book reports, putting together a flip book to help us remember vocabulary, building the layers of the earth out of modeling clay, assembling a poetry book of our own poetry and building a historical city out of classroom items.
  3. Making learning into a game – In the past we’ve tested each other on science facts by creating a game show where correct answers get points.
  4. Having special days centered around learning material – For Egypt day we recited a poem we each created about our character and dressed up in costume.  At lunch we had a potluck of Egyptian food such as hummus, dates, stew and other interesting things.  We also created a full day for the Renaissance and Rome.  We also have an all-school dress-up day where you pick your favorite character from history and play the “20 Question” game where everyone tries to figure out who you are based upon the facts you give them about your character.
  5. Living in the Moment – Next year we get to design our own wigs for US history so we can really feel what it would have been like to live during that time.
  6. Designing characters for a period sketch – For Egypt day we had some funny and informative sketches using characters from that time.  We had to design puppets and scenery and put the sketch on for the class in a puppet theatre.
  7. Using computers – We do school projects where we can use the school computers.  They also teach us computer skills we will use in the future.
  8. Viewing movies – Occasionally the teachers will let us watch movies that will give us a deeper understanding of the class material.  As a reward for finishing material early, sometimes we even get to watch Myth Busters.
  9. Conducting labs – We are lucky enough to have a parent club that provides a lot of materials for science class and we can use the microscopes and other lab equipment.
  10. Coordinating tests so they’re not all on the same day – Our teachers communicate with each other so that multiple tests on the same day are a rarity.  This decreases the stress and allows us to do our best work.
  11. Allowing No Homework nights – Once a month my school designates a “No Homework Night” so we can have “Family Time.”  I love these nights.
  12. Including Enrichment Classes – My school has one period a day which is an enrichment class.  That means that we get to pick a class which has grades mixed but deals with a special skill, such as debate, word games, quilting, speech, multimedia, drama, dance, etc.  I really look forward to this class because I get to learn something new that I have chosen to learn.  These classes always use interesting materials and methods of teaching.

Hopefully my list will give you some ideas to present to your school.  I’d love to hear what you think is being done to help you learn in school too.  Send your comments to the Editor here at Amazing Kids! (email at: editor@amazing-kids.org) and maybe we can have a follow-up article with your suggestions.  Remember, look for the fun in school and it will make the learning much easier.