During the weeks right before Christmas Break, it’s easy for students and faculty to feel a little unmotivated and anxious for the holidays. Fortunately, some McNicholas teachers have found creative ways to make a normal school day a little more exciting.
“At the Help Desk, we’ve started something called ‘Musical Monday’,” Director of Educational Technology Katie Ritter said. “It started up just as a way to make the day more enjoyable. A lot of the computer problems repeat themselves, and it can get really frustrating to keep doing the same thing. So we just decided to have fun with it and sing everything we said. It makes the day go by quickly and prevents me from having to work in silence.”
English teacher Ashley Markesbery also does things to raise morale. When students seem down, she sets aside time to take a break and watch a couple music videos to get them energized. She also started “Markesbery’s Medals,” which was inspired by the Summer Olympics.
“I was really into the Olympics and didn’t want it to be over, so I decided to incorporate it into my teaching. Once or twice every quarter, I pick an assignment that I feel my students went above and beyond in, and choose the top three entries. Then, I hold a ceremony exactly like the Olympic medal ceremonies, including medals, a flag, and the national anthem.”
While Markesbery celebrates with the American flag, some teachers in the Language Department use foreign festivities to make class more exciting. On block days, Spanish teacher Carla Wessels and French teacher Julie Dill allow students to bring in food popular in their languages’ countries.
“Every block day, Mrs. Wessels will get us Chipotle if we have her during a lunch period,” senior AP Spanish student Maria Clark said. “Around holidays and special events, we will also have a fiesta with lots of different Spanish food. It’s a fun way to learn a little more about the culture.”
“Along with our bringing in food for our last block day, we also had the Tour de France event,” French I student Nick Emig said. “The food days are always really cool.”
In addition to fun ideas for the classroom, Librarian Anne Jones has also found ways to make the school library more engaging. In accordance with holidays and upcoming events, Jones sets up themes for the library, often with raffles and incentives for reading involved. During Halloween, the library was themed “Read…I Dare You,” with frightening décor, a selection of horror books, and a chance to win tickets to the haunted Dent School House. Currently, the library has a display for the 12 Books of Christmas, with 12 novels that incorporate the numbers 1-12 in their titles. There is also a central display of new and popular releases.
While not every teacher has a specific entertaining activity, almost all do something to make school more fun. Government and Spanish teacher Michelle Semancik held a mock election for her students this year, and regularly incorporates the classes’ inside jokes onto her PowerPoint slides. Math teacher Bill Losekamp has continued the “SOH-CAH-TOA” dance in his classes to help students learn about trigonometry.
“I had heard about the dance from my former math teacher Mrs. Meyers, but I didn’t really know what to expect,” junior Megan Schaefer said. “I liked the dance because it helped explained the concept and was able to grab everyone’s attention.”
These are just some of the many examples of how teachers liven up the day. Please feel free to comment below with examples of fun you’ve experienced in the classroom…