Learning can be fun, but even the most interesting subject can get tiresome after a while. Sometimes, it's good to liven things up with a little classroom silliness. It's a tricky balance for busy teachers -- you don't want to do anything that will distract the students too much from learning, but at the same time, you want them to enjoy themselves. Choose fun ideas that will still allow you to stick to a schedule and put learning first.
Encourage your students to show their wild side -- but in appearance only. Plan a "crazy sock" day to allow them to express creativity. But don't stop at the bottom of the body -- think about going head to toe with the craziness. Crazy hair day can be fun, and you can go crazy with the clothes too -- try allowing the students to have a pajama day or a day when they are encouraged to wear silly items like a clown nose, wig or fake glasses. Keep the crazy in check by setting firm rules ahead of time -- anything too extreme or potentially offensive can become a distraction in the classroom.
Mix It Up
Most students thrive with a regular routine, but even those who love predictability may find some fun in mixing things up a bit. Plan a "backward day" when you go through your classroom schedule in reverse. For example, if you start the day with circle time and end it with silent reading, start with silent reading instead. This works best in elementary school, but even middle and high schools can make it work with a little planning. Keep the backward theme going by encouraging the students to wear their clothing backward or inside-out, or have teachers switch classes for a brief period of time.
Keen on Themes
Themes are a great way to have a little fun in the classroom, and they can even enhance learning. For example, if you're teaching about character development, have your students dress up as their favorite book characters. Themes can be seasonal -- dressing up like a jack o' lantern if your school allows it, or all in white for winter -- or just for fun, like a Western/cowboy day. Fun can always incorporate learning. Play a "round up the numbers" game on Western day, or have your students write a story about a cowboy or cowgirl. Other theme ideas could include showing off your school spirit or country pride, bringing a favorite stuffed animal for younger students, or even dressing up like your favorite staff member.
Extend the fun by going beyond the crazy clothing to award prizes or even raise money for a good cause. For example, you could give awards for the most colorful socks, comfortable pajamas or craziest hair. Encourage classroom competitions and ask the principal to award the winning classroom a pizza lunch or an extra-long recess. Raise money for a charity by taking pledges to see how long your students can go with only whispering in the classroom. You might even take an in-class "field trip" using the Internet and some props to go along with your theme. For example, go on a virtual field trip to Hawaii for a unit on volcanoes. Start the trip off by getting in a "plane" and using a mapping website to swoop down and visit the beach while playing some Hawaiian music. Then go to the Big Island and visit a volcano. Follow that up by watching a clip from a science website that shows a volcanic eruption. Finally, pass out pumice and basalt and compare and contrast the two types of volcanic rocks.
- Kari Marie/Demand Media