About Me

I am a student at Riverside High School (9th grade). I play football, baseball, and enjoy learning and writing. I strive to help create the most productive environment for students to collaborate and connect. As #BowTieBoys, we work to help mold the perfect classroom with the help of student voice and teacher guidance.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Active Lessons Keep Students Engaged

Making learning fun is difficult for teachers these days due to all of the material they must get through within a certain period of time.  Although it may seem like a stretch, students still enjoy learning and taking in information when they are engaged and interested.  When I was in middle school, a lot of my history lessons were extremely interactive.  My teacher would take us into the hallway and separate us into different countries to help us understand what each army was trying to do.  This kept us on our toes and also helped us learn the material with ease.  Another example is when my geometry teacher had us create kites to understand the dimensions of kites and what helps them fly.  This not only engaged us in the classroom, but had us thinking creatively and collaborating to create the model we thought would work best. 
When we walked into the history classroom, the teacher told us we were going into the locker bay to do an activity.  We immediately got excited due to the fact that the class was not going to be taking notes all day.  When our teacher split the class up into two halves, and escorted each half to the opposite side of the locker bay.  My group was the colonists, and the other was the British.  He told us to scatter around the locker bay and look toward the big door that opened to the hallway.  The other group was told to stay in one big line and walk into the locker bay together.  My group immediately saw all of the "British soldiers," while it took them much longer to see all of us.  This activity was extremely engaging and I still remember the meaning behind it three years later.  He was teaching us that the colonists strategy was superior to the British because they spread out and knew their land way better than the British. The British had no idea where to look for the colonists and were extremely vulnerable.  All of the students understood the meaning of the activity and were excited to learn more about the topic.  We continued to do this throughout the year which made us look forward to learning in the teachers class.  The activity was a perfect way to implement the material into a fun memory in our brains.  "When you combine activities that require movement, talking, and listening, it activates multiple areas of the brain."  (scholastic.com). 
Two years later in my geometry class, we were assigned a project where we had to build a kite that could fly for at least ten seconds.  There were other parts to the project such as a write-up, dimensions of the kite, and history of the design, but for the most part this project was entertaining due to the creativeness needed in order to make the kite fly.  We were given about a month to come up with an effective design.  At first most of the students tried to make the most complex design possible.  We would have fancy paper taped to lots of pieces of balsa wood shaped in a kite.  Once we completed building the kite, we did a few test flights.  Most of us realized that the more complicated the kite was, the less it worked.  We ended up scrapping the design of our original kite, and re-created a different one with a simple efficient design.  The test flight went perfect as all the kites soared in the sky.  We learned to be extremely creative and think outside of the box.  Our teacher was supporting us the whole time, but for the majority of it, she was just letting us do our thing.  "For example, think about how much more exciting active math projects are compared to completing dittos day after day. Math is all around us. Students can actively count, measure, and graph almost anything."  (calstatela.edu).  That not only showed us we could do it by ourselves, but it showed that we were collaborative and patient enough to trust the process. 
Those are both examples of how students are willing to put in the work to learn if they have fun during the process or are able to become fully engaged.  It was not only easier for the students to take in the material but it was also for the teacher to be effective due to having all of the students ready for any kind of instruction whether it's another activity or a quick video to help explain the material.  It is important to make the classroom a place where students enjoy being.  Comfortable learning environments can result in limitless creativity.  Too much sitting and doing the same thing every class is not good for students.  Keeping them on their toes will make the class more fun, interactive, and help the students acquire the information with ease. 

Works Cited 

"Developing Strategies that Encourage Hands-On Learning." N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=64198CBB334A4849ADBF150ECCEF4298&CID=226A676023146DE81F876D3422256C72&rd=1&h=vC5olTSQSYtiSSIesyiJof5cSVVQnwefIl_tTHl1i_Y&v=1&r=http%3a%2f%2fwww.calstatela.edu%2fsites%2fdefault%2ffiles%2fcenters%2fspedintern%2fhints09DevelopingHandsOn.pdf&p=DevEx,5062.1>. 

"Hands-On Is Minds-On." Hands-On Is Minds-On | Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3751901>. 


  1. Thank you for emphasizing the importance of student engagement and interest Jack. I loved your examples and the idea that you still remember the experience years later is very telling! Great post!

  2. Jack, you do a nice job lifting the positive and helping to remind us of the power of engaging and relevant work to develop concepts.