Today’s K–12 classrooms look vastly different than they did a generation ago; more educators are embracing an interactive approach to learning, one that empowers students to take more ownership of their education.
When teachers employ interactive, in-person instructional procedures, they allow students to connect with the learning material in ways that textbooks and lectures can’t achieve. Students are able to intrinsically glean what they need to succeed academically, thus performing better both in the classroom and beyond its walls.
Ready to implement some easy interactive learning activities in your own classroom? Here are three techniques that any teacher can use:
Entry and Exit Tickets
Let students know exactly what will happen in class each day by distributing entry tickets (3" x 5" index cards or small pieces of paper). On these “tickets,” ask them to write what they expect to learn in class, based on reading they’ve done or homework they’ve completed. For younger students, pre-filled forms may work better, and students can instead list what they hope to learn. At the end of class, collect an “exit ticket” where students answer a simple question like, “What did you learn today about the topic?” or “What questions do you still have on this topic?” This simple exercise helps students focus and provides prompt feedback to help you tailor your teaching moving forward.
Student-Guided Note Taking
When you engage students in a creative, hands-on learning process, it allows them to thrive. So create independent learners who actively process information and accurately apply concept knowledge with interactive student notebooks. This form of learning naturally evokes a sense of pride with students, which leads to more active and motivated learners. Carson-Dellosa’s math, language arts, and science Interactive Notebooks help teachers save time and enable students to better organize and synthesize information — they truly offer a unique and personalized form of note-taking. This comprehensive, ready-to-use series includes all the templates and instructions you’ll need to easily apply hands-on experiences to standards-based skills. Use this unique and creative note-taking strategy to provide an organized, interactive learning environment.
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned debate? Even young students can join in the fun with a simple “taking sides” setup that fosters civil, respectful debate on a topic. These debates can refer to recent literature assignments (which character was in the right?) or even scientific topics (what is the best way to save the environment?). Explain that no opinion is wrong in the scope of the debate, but that statements made with supporting facts and evidence will fare much better. The debate approach allows students to apply concepts and think critically about the subject matter, enhancing their understanding of it by engaging their brains.
You may also consider a twist to the classic debate setup: where the teacher takes the side of an unpopular opinion, with many valid arguments at the ready. The students can then work as a team, or take turns as individuals, to debate the teacher on the topic. Point out holes in the students’ arguments, in order to make them think and come back with even stronger viewpoints. Ask them to reflect on what they learned or to share whether the debate changed their opinions on the topic.
Get Your Students Involved
Remember that students learn better when they participate actively in the learning process. Experiment with these and other interactive learning activities until you find the ones that best fit your teaching style, grade level, and subject matter. Give your students the chance to take more ownership of their own learning paths; it will give them a greater sense of investment in their education. Find ways to engage and motivate them to want to learn, and then feed that inspiration with productive, interactive classroom activities.