Friday, September 16, 2011

Making School Magic

     Remember at some point when you were a child when you became old enough to figure out that magic was fake?  It was almost depressing when we realized that the magician on stage was really using slight of hand and props to deceive us.  Even after we thought we had it all figured out, there would be times when a great magician could do something that we couldn’t explain.  It made us think that maybe there is such a thing as magic!
     In my classroom I try and add some wonder to the monotony of each day.  This can be as simple as pulling something fascinating out of a cabinet or as complex as planting something in the room to make it suddenly appear at the right moment.  The element of surprise has a great way of keeping students attention. 
     I also enjoy using props to keep the students engaged. For example, when I’m having my groups share out I will hold a sticky note above the heads of the students and say, “Sticky, who do you want to share?”  I then drop the sticky and the students watch as it flutters haphazardly down to the table.  I then say, “You are the chosen one.”  “Sticky has chosen you.”   As silly as this exchange may be, my students beg for more group work just so they can be chosen by the almighty sticky.  It’s like magic. 
     We all enjoy a little magic in our lives.  As adults it may take the form of a new baby, a fancy appliance that works miracles, or a place where we can recapture the wonder of our youth.  Without these moments of magic our lives can end up rather stale.  So let the show begin.

(In the comments below, please tell me how you add some magic to your student’s daily grind.)

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