Meaningful Lessons

How do teachers create meaningful lessons their students will love? Where does it start?  Is it in the planning stages of the lesson? Is it the climate of the classroom? Is it classroom management? Honestly, I don’t have the true answer. But in my gut I believe it to be a combination of all three.

To get some more information, I decided to do a twtpoll. I wanted to see what others thought. Here are the results of that poll as the writing of this post:

  • “I think that it is a lot more to do with the teacher than the environment, Jeff. I can remember the Pauff brothers like it was yesterday”
  • “be passionate about their subject, be prepared to learn with the students and be prepared to deviate from the plan!”
  • “Passions, genuine interest a little bit of pizzazz and knowing to be quiet”
  • “1. Knowledge of what the kids like and want. 2. Flexibility and customization. 3. PBL 4. Meaningful and fun assessments.”
  • “Meaningful lesson relate to the students own experiences. They are student focused and give them a voice.”

I would have to agree with all of the opinions of the poll. Lessons that are meaningful have a variety of elements. From what I see from the results of the poll and my own opinions I think it comes down to the teacher and the delivery of the material.

The Teacher

To be a successful teacher you must have a love for learning, planning, questioning, challenging,  and a love to see children succeed. Teachers are special people. They love to teach. They love to be in the classroom with a group of children challenging them, and allowing them to explore different topics. It is a wonderful sight to see a student’s eyes light up when they figure something out. Seeing the way some students take that success is awesome. I see it everyday in my classroom, and I think how the teacher allows the students to enjoy that success helps to make that a memorable lesson.

Teachers have to have a love of exploration. Some teachers have learned that really good questions can lead to many different directions a lesson can go into. Giving students some leadership and ownership into the lesson will most likely allow students to remember it. All teachers have a state mandated objectives that we have to follow, but a successful teacher will come up with some of the most creative ways to present it.

Also, some teachers have the pizzazz or charisma that just connects with students. Some teachers are very good at showing their true personality. Some students can connect to it, because they either have the same type of personality or they have some a similar background.  Some teachers just know how to connect with students, or have the ability to draw students into the content that is being presented. 

The other aspect to the teacher is climate of the classroom. A successful teacher will create a climate that will allow students to feel comfortable. Students need to know that the classroom is a safe place. So if they make mistakes they will not be put down for being wrong. As long as students feel comfortable they will allow themselves to open up and take chances on challenges that are difficult. Those challenges will feel good when they are conquered in a safe classroom. Students need to feel like they are leaders and developers of their own education alongside the teacher. That’s a climate that needs time to foster, but when you have it you will definitely enjoy it.

The Delivery

Teachers write lesson plans every week. It’s a great way to get organized for the week. Some teachers have a way of deviating from the lesson plan, because they see a chance of real learning through student interest. They have such a love of their content, they can adjust to the needs of the students. Becuase of this adjustment they pass their love of their content to their students. When students fall in love with the content they will remember the lessons that helped them fall in love with it.

One of the elements that I belive in, as a gifted teacher, is project based learning (PBL). This was mentioned in the poll results. I think that when you give students a real life examples of what they are learning is being used outside of the classroom can be so powerful. By designing PBL lessons students will not only remember the lesson, they will remember the content. I have seen it in my own classroom. They are time-consuming, and most of the time you need to coordinate with other teachers, but they are worth all of the work. Students will definitely remember the activities of the PBL unit.  

Another way to deliver a memorable lesson is to incorporate technology. Using technology in your lessons always helps to bring in real life situations and also continues to improve their own technology skills.  

To close, making lessons that are memorable take time and effort to make, but they are difinately worth it. Teachers teach hundreds of lessons a year, you never know which ones will be memorable to which student, but you have to teach like every lesson will touch the lives of your students forever. Remember, I mentioned the elements that I think were important. You may have other elements that you think are important to you and your style of teaching. Analyze your lessons, your classroom environment, and your delivery style and see where you can improve. I want to think that I am continually improving every year. How about you?


2 thoughts on “Meaningful Lessons

  1. Pingback: 10 Things you need to Know About Gifted Kids: Underachievement is Possible (Part 8) « Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

  2. Pingback: 10 Things You Should Know About Gifted Kids: Meet My Needs (part 9) « Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

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