Three practical ways to energize your classroom
I don’t know about you, but over here in Japan the semester is coming to an end and students and teachers alike are starting to feel the pace. There are a lot of fatigued faces on campus as a combination of a long semester, lots of reports and final test week looming is really starting to take its toll. Unless you’re involved with the program design at your school or institute, there is probably not a lot you can do to lighten the load of a busy student and give them the energy to get through those final few weeks. However, there are activities you can do at the start of class to get them energized for your lesson. Here are three ways to energize your classroom.
Walk and talk
I love to do this as a warm up activity at the start of each class. It is as simple as it sounds. Give the students a topic to talk about, pair them up and have them walk around the class or campus walking and talking. I try to keep the topics light and relevant. Recently, the students in one of my classes talked about their plans for the upcoming break. I really find this can bring the class to life. I usually do this in class and have the students walk around the outside of the room. I don’t try to interfere or listen in, and I usually play some lively music to help create a good atmosphere. They talk for a few minutes and then change partners.
For this, I line up two rows of chairs facing each other. Again the students pair up and talk about a light-hearted and relevant topic. However, they only have a limited time to do this. I put a timer on the screen or monitor and tell them they need to convey everything they want to in that limited period of time. For my classes, two minutes is about the optimum time. Once the timer goes off they rotate to the next partner and do the same again. The repetition seems to give the less confident students the chance to practice several times and after a few rotations there is usually a great deal of energy in the room.
Long distance conversations
Like the previous activity, I line up two rows of chairs. However, this time the chairs are some distance apart. The rows are far enough away so the students have to raise their voices to be heard. This can send the energy levels right up as they find themselves having to talk louder and louder. I usually rotate the students again to give the less confident students more chance to practice. After a few rotations, there is usually a fair noise in the room.
I hope these three simple activities help to bring a little energy into your classes!