Monday, March 30, 2015

Creating Experiences in the ELA Classroom

Inspired by this Tweet from Mrs. Toflinski and Teach Like A Pirate, I want to talk about creating experiences in the ELA classroom this week. I’ve been focusing much more on experiences this year as I try to reclaim my true teaching personality.

You see, I taught French (and sometimes English) for my first 6 years in education, and I ALWAYS included experiences as part of my French lessons.  It’s what foreign language teachers do by nature; introducing students to the cultures of the language is about equal to teaching the language itself. How else are we going to do that in the Midwest, other than creating classroom experiences?

My ELA lessons were never as fun; I felt I “had” to do things a certain way.  I was the new kid in the department when I started teaching English as well in my fourth year, and I was given lessons and told how to do things.  When I switched schools and started teaching English exclusively, I felt more of the same pressure.

In English class, I’m guilty of neglecting the experience more often than I’d like to admit.  With all the standards to cover and standardized testing hoops, it’s all too easy to get caught in a whirlwind of boring lessons.  I consciously fight against this battle, for I truly do want to create experiences my students will remember long after any story/poem/novel/literary concept we’ve covered.

So I turn to you, my #slowchatela friends, for inspiration and a challenge.  How are you creating experiences? What more can you do to create those lessons you could sell tickets for? Think about specific pieces of literature or concepts you study.

Q1 3/30: How do/can you use/transform the classroom environment to create the experience?

Q2 3/31: How do/can you use food to create a classroom experience?

Q3 4/01: Which guest speakers/experts can help create an experience for your students?

Q4 4/02: How can you incorporate family/parent contact with the experience?

Q5 4/03: Can technology help to create an experience?