Last night I went out to dinner with a group of friends, as the waitress made her way around the table taking orders, I began to glance down at the dessert menu. A delicious piece of Carrot Cake grabbed my attention. I thought to myself; I’m not going to have dinner, I’m going to have dessert. But, when it was my turn to order, I placed my order for my main entrée’ and skipped entirely over dessert. Why didn’t I order my Carrot Cake, after all, it’s what I wanted? I began to think about why I wasn’t comfortable ordering dessert first.
The thought of ordering dessert first would be fun! Mixing things up would be exciting! So, why didn’t I order it? Because it’s not the “norm.” The fact is it’s not “normal” to eat dessert first.
Let’s take this example and apply it to our schools. Typically, educators present lessons in the classroom or in the student salon by following a regimented system. Perhaps we start our lesson by providing a lesson overview, followed by a lecture, or we have students complete a reading assignment. We might engage students in a friendly group discussion, or as the educator, we will perform a demonstration, which is then followed by students performing the procedure for themselves. Does this sound familiar? Why do we follow such a regimented approach to presenting lessons? For the same reason, I wasn’t comfortable ordering dessert first. Because it’s the “norm.”
What if we allowed our students to start with dessert first? Of course, I’m only speaking metaphorically. What if we presented our lesson in a completely different manner? What if we didn’t start off by reviewing the lesson overview, followed by our students performing a reading assignment, etc. What if we had them do something completely unexpected? Do you think it could potentially create the thrill of ordering dessert first? Do you think it could create a level of excitement?
To break out of the “norm” try on these fun alternatives.
Begin your lesson;
- Have students research the topic of the day using their smartphones.
- Assign a few YouTube videos for students to watch before you jump into the lesson.
- Play fun games using keywords from the lesson.
- Flip your classroom; have students read the chapter the night before and come prepared to share what they learned.