As Eric aptly points out in his post, capturing the hearts and attention of our students often requires us to take an unconventional route. Here’s how Berngen put a new spin on one of his tried and true activities:
During one lesson in particular, I asked the students a question and they responded in their journals. When it was time to share, instead of me writing their responses on the board, I walked over to the window instead. I pulled out an expo (whiteboard marker) and began writing frivolously, to the students shock and awe. Mouths began to drop and shortly thereafter, all eyes were on me as I was discussing their responses. One student muttered questioningly, “You can do that?” I responded, “Why not?”
Shortly thereafter I gave the students another question—except this time they were to work in groups and write their responses on the window. All students were thoroughly engaged and loved the opportunity. Afterwards, we did a gallery walk and all students got to share out their responses from the group.
It’s a simple idea, but I never would have thought of it on my own. If you decide to give this activity a try, let me know how it goes with your students!