3 Offbeat Tips From My Classroom

These are offbeat tips that may or may not work for you. I offer them freely to you. All teachers in California as most of the country now are learning to teach with the “Common Core.” This is exciting to me but we shouldn’t lose sight of the timeless things that work with whatever curriculum you use. These are three offbeat things that I have tried and that have worked to foster literacy and meet academic goals in my classroom. Maybe these things are powerful or maybe it’s the intent behind them that seeks to reach human in the child and awaken her/his sense of wonder.

12506845744_0120be8609Kids are just like us only smaller. There is a reason music is a multi-billion dollar industry, people are inspired by it. Kids get burned out after hours of academic stuff. Occasionally I will pass out age-appropriate lyric packets and we sing together. The relieved look on some of their faces says to me that music heals and fosters. MY favorite song to do with kids so far is “The Rainbow Connection.”

9847439604_8e8a1b40f7When I graduated, I paid 50 bucks to have both my degrees mounted on wood. This was a great decision because it allows my kids to pass them around and look closely at them. I want my students to see a diploma and know they can do it just like their teacher did. At the very least, post your diplomas. Your kids are watching.

13015781444_c483b14fd5Puppets are the weirdest things adults can do, that’s why we should use them! Kids are so freaked out by puppets that they just might listen. I have said some things through a puppet that are outside my personality type. Kids respond too. I’ve had better conversations with kids during “Say no to drugs” with my pig puppet than any teacher talk could ever generate. I highly recommend getting puppets in your room. You never know when one will come in handy. Like music, they are a temporary escape from the required rigor. In my opinion, music and opinion have the potential to teach just as much as the most rigorous of lesson plans. It’s all in how you incorporate them. Those are my three things to share. What are yours? I’d love to read about them and they don’t have to be as offbeat as mine.

Author: Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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