Teenager with headphones listening to music

4 ways I make learning fun in the classroom

From playing games to giving choices, this middle school teacher shares how she engages her students

As a middle school Spanish teacher, my #1 goal is to have my students fall in love with learning a language the way I did in middle school. When learning a second language, it’s important to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Even though many of the ideas in this article have been created for a language classroom, most of them will work for any subject or grade level.

1. Play games

We play games in my classroom just about every day. Sometimes the games involve the use of technology. Sometimes they are interactive. And sometimes they are cooperative activities that require the whole class to work together.

Games that require tech:

  • Kahoot! – an oldie but goodie. Students still love Kahoot! and even like making their own to use as study tools.
  • Quizlet Live – the best thing about this game is that it gets students out of their seats and working in random groups. It can be a quick activity, a Do Now at the beginning of class, or an Exit Ticket for the last few minutes.
  • Gimkit – this is a newer game that was created by a high school student! Students may play as individuals or in groups. My students love this game because it allows them to earn (fake) money.
  • Quizizz – I love this tool the best because it tests accuracy instead of speed.

Games that don’t require tech:

Cooperative activities:

2. Give students choice

I think that it’s important to give students choices for in-class activities and projects. When a student has choice, s/he can enjoy what they are working on more and take ownership over their work. Middle-school students are developing skills and interests for the future; giving them choices offers them the opportunity to discover what they are passionate about.

One of the best ways to give choices during a classroom activity is to create a Tic Tac Toe sheet or a Hyperdoc. With these organized lesson plans, the student can choose activities during a specific day during class. Some teachers use Tic Tac Toe sheets for weekly homework assignments. Here is an example of a sheet used in a 4th grade math class.

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