It’s been my tradition the past few years to reflect on my best teaching moments of the year. I’m so fortunate to get to work with such amazing students, so it’s hard to pick just a few moments that have been amazing! But I have selected five times throughout the year when I have been most proud of my students! Plus you get to see some more snapshots of the resources from my store that I use in my classroom.
The American Dream Project – There are SO many possibilities for teaching Gatsby. When I have time in my schedule, I love to have students complete the “Making Your American Dream Come to Life” project to end our Gatsby unit. The details, instructions, and rubric are all in my Gatsby complete movie guide. I do hope all their dreams come true!
Vacation Bible School Maker Fun Factory – This year my husband, mom, sister, dad, and I had the task of teaching the nightly lesson to our church’s vacation bible schoolers. Our church had chosen the theme of Maker Fun Factory: Created for a Purpose. We knew we wanted to convey the message that each kid was created for a purpose and God is working on them – shaping and molding them to be something great. So… we transformed our classroom, where students could come and hear the lesson every night, into the inside of a machine! I crafted the lesson each night to tell the story of an important bible character who did great things because they were sensitive to God’s call and were willing to fulfill the plan and purpose He had for them. Those people, our precious church members, dressed like the bible characters, entered as a special delivery, and told the story from their point of view. Each night, the students couldn’t wait to enter the Fun Factory, and they were talking about going into the machine forever! See my entire catalog of kids for Christ materials here!
Break Out Escape Box Games – I had been seeing and hearing about break-out games and escape rooms and even people using them in the classroom, but I’d never seen or done one before. I knew it was something I wanted to try, but I have to admit, I was really apprehensive. So, I attended a training, and the facilitator conducted a game with us, and after that, I knew it was something I had to try with my students. This semester, I’ve done several, and my students are crazy for these games! Since I felt there was such a huge learning curve for me to figure out how to conduct one of these games in my classroom, my escape box games are super user-friendly. They include a simple print-and-go pack of clues for students, three ways for you to play the game, and a video tutorial where I explain everything to you! I have several already prepared for you in my store, so if you are ready to unlock some fun, check them out! All my escape games can be found here!
Canterbury Tales Puppet Show – I’ve never done a puppet show before with my secondary students, and certainly not any seniors. But when I was deciding how to teach the Tales in a modern and engaging way, for some reason a puppet show came to mind! I assigned students in my class one of the tales, and they had to read (from the Prologue) about that character. Everyone took notes on his/her travel log during the show! Then using the super cute clip art puppets I made and a puppet show curtain I borrowed from my nieces, voila! We had a puppet show. My students really got into it, and other teachers have shared their success stories with it, too! The puppet show materials can be found in my Canterbury Tales complete teacher’s guide.
Generational Interview Project with Fahrenheit 451 – When my seniors read 451, the project I assign during part 3 of the book is inspired by the passage where Granger reflects on how his grandpa influenced his life because of the things he was able to do and leave behind. I ask students to close read that passage and answer a set of questions. Then they are required to interview a person several generations older than them and write a report of that interview to share in class. I encourage them to interview a grandparent, and most do. When my seniors presented this year, it was overwhelmingly impressive how many of them took it seriously… and personally. When your seniors cry during a class presentation, you know it just got real. All the materials to conduct this close reading lesson and interview project can be found in my 451 Close Reading Lessons pack or in my 451 Complete Teacher’s Guide.
Please share in the comments below what you tried this year that worked!
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