This week is the last week of the second quarter, and I'm still trying to figure out how to best use class time during this awkward transition week. It's the end of the quarter and everybody's tired. I don't want to assign any more work this week since I want to devote my time to grading final projects. I want to make class time meaningful while giving everybody a chance to breathe and reflect.
So I thought....why not let the students choose what they want to do? And what did they choose? They chose to play Just Dance, and I was all for it.
For those of you that questioned the yelling and singing from my classroom today (sorry about that!) here are four reasons why we devoted 15 minutes of class time today to the Just Dance Michael Jackson Experience (which by the way....is super good).
So.......why should I let my students dance in class?
1. Playing games in class builds classroom culture
Maybe I'm just jealous that I never got to play Just Dance in class when I was in school, or maybe this is just my Zumba background infiltrating my teaching. The way I see it, in the real world, workplaces encourage team building, group exercise, and activities that build a positive culture. A classroom is no different. There's no reason to feel like we have to work all the time, especially at the end of the quarter. I want to hear your thoughts too! How do you spend the end of the quarter with your classes?
Yep, you read that right. This week my classroom went from having one pet to four.....
Growing up I was always known as that kid with a bajillion animals in her house. At one point, my house was home to a guinea pig, hamsters, a rabbit, a dog, fish, turtles, hermit crabs, a newt, an African clawed frog, and sea monkeys all at once. Yes, it was crazy. Yes, my parents are still caring for some of those pets. Yes, living with a zoo was fun. And without even realizing it, I found myself carrying home three Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches yesterday in a take out container. "The kids are gonna love this", I thought. And the crazy thing is? They actually did! Well...not all of them did....but enough of them to justify writing this blog post!
Why roaches you may ask? Here's why
5 Reasons why Roaches make Great Classroom Pets
Reason #1: They're safe
Reason #2: They move a lot
Reason #3: They eat everything
Reason #4: They're hard to kill
Reason #5: They start conversations about science
I never anticipated that I would one day defend the worthiness of cockroaches but after more than a handful of students took a chance at handling them today, I'm feeling pretty good about keeping these three roaches around for now =O Next time you pass by my class, come say hi to them!
I can't remember who told me this but....I remember in grad school somebody told me that teaching is like working in a black box. In a lot of ways, it feels harder than ever to grow professionally because I can go days without interacting with a single adult if I wanted to. The students get to see different teaching styles on a daily basis. Me on the other hand? If I'm not teaching, I'm prepping. If I'm not prepping, I'm doing something unrelated to teaching. The only teacher I observe on a daily basis is myself. It's like my classroom is a blackbox and I can't see outside of it.
At first, it was hard to prioritize professional development. However, when I started running out of ideas, I realized I needed to do some outside research to grow myself professionally. Which is when I discovered podcasts. Podcasts are amazing for two reasons 1) They're entertaining and educational and 2) You can listen to them while driving/cooking/falling asleep.....
Here's a list of podcasts that have helped me the most with my teaching this year. All are available for free on Spotify and/or Apple Podcasts.