I just attended some great workshops this past weekend at the NJEA convention in Atlantic City, NJ. Two were particularly inspiring: "I'm the Write Teacher" by Joseph Pizzo and "The Kinesthetic Classroom" by Mike Kuczala. Mr. Pizzo brought new energy to classroom pedagogy with his integration of fun activities that accomplished the same tasks as a boring lecture. I particularly enjoyed his impromptu poetry slam made up with teacher-supplied excuses. It was a fun exercise that also demonstrated parallel structure, a win-win strategy! Mr. Kuczala showed some simple ways that movement can increase cognitive processing, class cohesion, and just plain fun. He managed to get over 150 teachers moving, laughing, and agreeing that these were worthwhile activities. I plan to purchase his book that offers more background on the research and many practical applications of movement for all disciplines.
My point? Our classrooms don't need to be boring to be effective. We need to work on developing energized environments that appeal to all learners and keep them engaged. Humor, movement, and just plain silliness are great assets for teachers. Let's remember that if we're bored, our students are probably asleep. Plan for movement. Plan for group interaction. Plan for laughter and silliness. You'll be glad you did!
Here's a link to Mike Kuczala's book: