One of the reasons I decided to teach high school was because I think Language Arts is fun. Unfortunately, many people disagree with me. As I create lesson plans, I want fun activities to do while teaching high school. I want students to discover how Language Arts (or any subject) can be fun. These are some of the ways to do this.
If you tell students that you’re going to be writing poetry in class, you’re probably going to get a lot of groans and grimaces. That’s one of the reasons I like to use to introduce the unit. It’s a form of poetry that uses words and passages from other sources. Students rearrange the words to create new meaning. It’s a great way to get students to think about a book, historical passage, or other document in a new way. I like to make found poetry by cutting up magazines and newspapers, too. It’s a fun arts and crafts activity for students.
Have you ever read a children’s book to a group of high school students? They love it. It brings them back to their elementary school days, I guess. Not only do I like to use these books in class, but I like to have my students create their own children’s books, too. It’s a great way to get students to go through the writing process in a fun way. And the topic of the children’s books can cover any subject the class is studying. You could even have students read to a group of elementary school students, if possible.
Dramatizations and Simulations
When reading George Orwell’s 1984 in high school, we were expected to wear jeans and a white shirt and pretty much act as emotionless as possible throughout the day. Putting the class into a simulation of the dystopian world helped us understand George Orwell’s themes in the book. You can look for ways to make the subject material come to life through dramatizations or for other novels, subjects, or topics.
Why not put a historical or literary character on trial? Why not debate an issue as a class? A forces students to study the material, create their own opinions, and defend their viewpoints. It’s a fun and interesting way to get students thinking.
Divide the class into several groups. Give each group time to write a few questions about the material. Then, rotate the questions to a different group. That way, each group can debate the answers. I love using questionnaires in class to help everyone feel comfortable speaking up. And students often come up with more interesting questions than I would have come up with on my own. You can also use a version of this to support high school test prep by using ACT or SAT questions and having the students debate the answers.
Movies, Podcasts, and Memes
Let's face it there is a lot of technology that you can use in the classroom. Social media is everywhere. Students are bombarded with video clips, funny memes, and more. With their familiarity with technology, you can set them loose to create their own viral videos, podcasts, and memes based on the subject matter. Students will enjoy putting their tech savvy to good use.
Students love to play games in class. That doesn’t mean that you have to come up with the games on your own. Let students loose to create their own review games. They just might create a game that you’ll want to use again and again. And if not, at least you got them to review the material in the process of making the game. They can also play each other’s games, which would be pretty fun too.
Get students out of their seats and helping others. Find that help students make real-world connections with what they’re learning. It will help them think about others, and they’ll enjoy the opportunity to serve.
What activities have you used with your students? Tell us about some of the fun activities to do while teaching high school in the comments below.