With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.
3 creative routines to help foster a safe learning environment
“The world is undergoing revolutionary changes, we need a revolution in education too.” - Creative Schools, Ken Robinson
In February 2006, the late Sir Ken Robinson delivered a talk at TED titled: “Do schools kill creativity?”. This was some years ago and time seems to have stood still in education since then.
Creativity is a key 21st century skill. Our young students need to harness it in order to be successful in further education and the workplace, especially now that technology is advancing at such a rapid rate.
So what can we do to encourage creativity and create a safe learning environment? I’ll take you through three activities that I use with my own students to help them flourish.
Clear and structured objectives
To nurture and encourage creativity in the classroom, it is important to have clear, well-structured objectives and routines that give students a safe learning environment. Here’s a breakdown of a few you can try in your classroom.
1. Monday activity
As part of your routine, do something different every Monday and have your students guess what it is. For example, you could change your earrings or only wear one. You could shave your mustache, wear a hat, or do something less obvious.
Students should participate too, so have them do something different every week. Select a student in the class and everyone must guess what has changed that Monday.
This activity is designed to encourage students to pay attention to each student in the class and notice things about them during the week. At the same time, it will encourage them to be creative and think about how to do things differently and mix up their own routines.
2. Friday team building challenge
Every Friday, my class play a team building challenge activity which helps them set and follow rules, be respectful to one another, and work and play with students from different circles.
Here’s a simple, energetic team building activity you could try:
- Have students call out all the new vocabulary words they learned during the week. Write them on the board as they do so.
- Split the class into teams of four or five students.
- Tell them they have to use their bodies to spell each word (if there are lots of words, pick the top three). Wipe the word off the board and explain that they can stand up, lie down, and use their arms and legs – but they should work together to form the shapes of the letters. The first team that correctly spells the word you dictate wins a point!
3. "Hurray, I failed” activity
The final activity is all about celebrating failure. Start by putting students in a circle or a line, and have them each name a color out loud. If someone repeats a color or takes longer than five seconds to answer, they must stand up, dance, and shout “hurray, I failed!” as loudly as possible.
You can select any topic – such as nouns, countries, or, even better, your students’ interests. The intention is to create a safe learning environment for your class, where students feel supported and being wrong is fun and okay. This will enable students to participate in class without fear of judgment or criticism.
Try it out until your students become comfortable with dancing and 'hurraying' in front of everyone in the group.
This activity has yielded fantastic results with groups of people I’ve worked with, regardless of their age group (young, old, junior high). Participants may feel silly or shy, until one participant starts doing it for fun, and then the rest of the group will start feeling comfortable with being wrong. They will realize it’s okay, and the exercise will start to flow with greater ease.
If your group is shyer or your students are more introverted, you can ask the person who makes a mistake to wear a silly hat – until the next person fails.
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In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.
You may have heard the term learning management system (LMS) at work or perhaps during your time in education. For many, this throws out images of clunky, outdated systems that clumsily distribute course materials and are tough to use. But that is no longer the case. Modern LMS's are far more user-friendly, and it's time to relearn what you thought you knew about these tools.
In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about learning management systems and why they are so beneficial.
What is a learning management system?
The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training.
This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management.
Who uses LMS's and why?
There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms:
HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit
Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler
Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations
Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms.
Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning.
Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students
Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause
Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's.
Who has access to LMS's?
In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.
Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.
On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.
However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher.
Key features in modern LMS's
There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include:
Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses
Access to subject matter experts who can contribute to learning and development activities
Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys
A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses
Quizzes and surveys for a more fun and engaging way to assess learners
Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain
Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets
Insights and analysis for individual progress and results, allowing administrators to identify gaps or areas where support is needed
Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go
Integrations with other internal systems and software
This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.
The benefits of using learning management systems
Saving time and money
First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training.
Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort.
Ensuring compliance training is completed
These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training.
Provide accurate data
Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.
Improves the learning experience
Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated.
Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials.