20 Ways to Turn Off Repeat in the Classroom

Now that school is well beyond the planning phases of the first few weeks, it’s time to think about how to continuously ensure that this year is not a repeat of every other year. We’ve all heard the phrase about teachers that teach the same year over and over and over. How can we keep our schools from living the same cycle?

I’ve been in staff meetings, like many of you, where we get the goals down on paper only to return to class and leave the goals on paper. Every now and then, there would be a goal reminder in the form of an email that didn’t quite translate to real life. We were already repeating the previous years. To switch the cycle and lasso our kids in, we must make the necessary changes where it matters most…IN THE CLASSROOM!

Consider these thoughts…

How can I make today better than the day before?

How can I make sure that my class is the one that students WANT to be in?

Routines, while important, can sometimes filter into our methods creating a cycle of boring. What can we do to change that?

  1. Get “the pirate” off of twitter and bring him into your room! 
  2. Teach a lesson worth the cost of a ticket EVERYDAY! (See “the pirate” for guidance!)
  3. Watch a few Kid President pep talks, especially his message to teachers and students.
  4. Don’t repeat last year’s lessons…even those that worked. Tweak something!
  5. Play a new song everyday as kids enter! Different songs bring about different reactions.
  6. Change the seating arrangement…often. (This used to freak my kids out!)
  7. In math, use devices for graphing instead of the graphing calculators that are only available in your class. In other words, teach them how to be self-sufficient at home!
  8. Ask different questions.
  9. Tell a joke. Play a game. Kids like those.
  10. If kids are using devices, don’t focus on whether or not they text their parents to pick them up. Focus on what you can do to make a difference before the text is sent.
  11. Let kids create the lesson!
  12. Don’t teach what kids already know! (This helps by knowing what kids DO know!)
  13. Connect with another classroom (Skype or Google Hangout)
  14. Invite a guest speaker
  15. Have class outside!
  16. Switch classes with another teacher.
  17. Collaborate on an idea with members of your PLN, bring it to your room and have follow-up support!
  18. Find the time to chat via twitter…try a different chat!!
  19. Integrate Technology (If you are reading this, chances are that you might be doing it already…If not, DO IT!)
  20. Toss out the packets and let students drive the lesson.

Whatever you do, do something. Everyday and every lesson is a new opportunity to capture students in a different way. Be purposeful and sometimes know that it’s okay to change it up on the fly. The most important thing that I can leave you with in this post is to know how to “read” your students and understand when change is needed. Their faces and actions will almost always tell you.


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