Tips & Tricks

8 Ways to Make Learning FUN!

Today I wanted to share with you this post I wrote over at
I’m the first to admit that technology is AMAZING! There’s nothing like conducting research on the Internet or searching for a book on the computer. It sure beats
having to spend hours researching in the public library or searching the card catalogs.

 

At the same time, I realize that every day I step foot into my classroom I’m asked to compete with Technology’s quick pace and 3D animations. Our students are used to instant gratification, immediate answers, fast moving games and action packed videos.
So how do we compete with that?
We do the BEST that we can and we look to each other for support. That’s why today I’m sharing with you 8 strategies that have proven to be successful in MOTIVATING and ENGAGING my third graders!

This is one of the easiest ways to guarantee that your student’s are actively participating. Simply hand them an Expo marker and a tissue and have them practice their spelling words, solve math problems, write complete sentences, … anything you want right on their desks.

(Don’t worry, it comes right off with a tissue or a wipee. FYI-black markers work best.) While students are working, walk around and spot check. I use this ALL the time and my kids ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

You can even leave motivating messages on their desks for them to find in the morning.
Third graders love to use blocks, counters, cubes, Legos, etc… So whip out those manipulatives or play dough and let students have FUN while they learn. Just remember to set
clear expectations and rules from the beginning.
I have found that manips. not only encourage student participation, but are a great asset when introducing new math concepts. They are also a must for those visual and
tactile learners. I always like to introduce new math concepts using manipulatives first.

If I want my students immediate attention, all I have to do is head on over to my glue sponges because they know that it means it’s time for an interactive notebook activity. It’s amazing how quickly students learn to cut, fold, and glue the pages of their notebooks.

Not only do INB help them develop fine motor skills, but it is also
a fun way for students to record information, demonstrate what they’ve learned, and it can also be a great assessment tool. In my classroom, we use interactive notebooks in
ALL subject areas and my students never seem to get tired of them. (The pictures included are of my Text Features, Intro. to Science, and Government Interactive Notebooks)

Pattern Puzzle Freebie

Allow your students to work with a partner or in small groups. Encourage them to solve problems together through discussion, trial, and error. The more they work together, the better they will become at listening to each other, and
solving problems on their own rather than depending on you.

Collaboration is also great for those students that have difficulties getting started or completing tasks. I have found that when having my students complete difficult tasks or assignments, they are more inclined to try to figure things out on their own when they have a partner versus working independently.

 

Students L-O-V-E to conduct experiments and although they do take some prep work in advance, they are well worth it. Science experiments are a great way for students to practice their problem solving skills. It encourages them to think critically and involves reading, writing, and sometimes even math skills. If you’re looking for some great science experiments, check out Steve Spangler’s Science website here.

 

Post-it Notes are like little colorful squares of magic. I say this because anytime I take out Post-its for an activity, my students quickly sit up straight in attention waiting to find out how they’re going to get to use the notes today.

My kids ABSOLUTELY LOVE them! I can’t say enough about Post-its… (I wish I had invented them!) I have them in all colors, shapes, and sizes and use them in so many ways. I’ve even been known to run them through my printer using a template so that I can print on them.

Take out a bottle of paint and BAM you’ll have your students attention just like that! I know this because just a few weeks ago it happened to me. It was the first time that this year’s students saw me take out paint. The sparkle in their little brown eyes was enough to validate what I already knew… Kids love to use paint and art supplies.

I know that many teachers don’t like it because they think things are going to get messy. Well I’m here to tell you that that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes all you need is a small blob of color on a plate to get your students attention.

I’ve done big projects such as my Solar System Craftivity
where students use feathers and marbles to paint and projects such as my Landforms 3D Craftivity where students used little paint but plenty of other materials such as yarn, glitter, and paper bags. Just give it a try and see how it goes…

Addition and Subtraction with Regrouping Task Cards

Lastly, make learning fun by finding the time to play games. My kiddos love playing Scoot with task cards. They also love simple games such as Multiplication War or Around the World. If you search on Pinterest you can find a bunch of ideas on games to play in the classroom. The key is to find games that motivate your students and that make learning fun!

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