Forget the Flashcards
The longer I teach, the more I realize how important creativity is in the classroom. When students are engaged in interesting, imaginative work, grades become secondary.* But don’t take my word for it. Watch what my 5th and 6th graders came up with when given a chance to “study” in a non-traditional way:
I don’t mean to suggest that flashcards are a bad thing (I still use them sometimes too). However, there are many other ways to learn information. In this case, we were studying the events leading up to the American Revolution. In class, I showed the students some memory tricks that I made up, using different motions done in different parts of the room.** For their homework assignment, students got to use their bodies to make up their own tricks, and then share their work in any creative way they could come up with. Some students drew cartoons, wrote original songs, and made videos like the ones shown above. It’s clear when you see the results that they had tons of fun with the assignment. I’m pretty sure they’ll remember these events a few years down the line.
* I’m also motivated by creativity, as you can see by this website! It’s not part of my job description, but I love to flex my creative muscles through writing, photography, and videography. That’s why I’ve put my heart into this blog even though there’s no A + grade or financial reward around the corner.
** I have to credit the teachers who came before me for coming up with the concept for this assignment, and my previous students for coming up with the idea to make videos showing their memory tricks. Creativity spreads easily!