I kid you not. Pencils. The lines are made between people who are quick to give out pencils, as opposed to those that prefer pupils bring in their own. After reading a lot of passionate tweets and watching the TikToks of each camp, I’ve become more concerned. Not about pencils in Class Rooms.
Pencils are not the issue. They’re a sign of the more significant problem of our exhaustion, despair, and professional exhaustion, driving thousands of dedicated teachers out of their ClassRooms and leaving others without the enthusiasm they once had within their field.
Many believe the answer lies in the level of engagement. If teachers are engaging enough, the students will behave. There’s no one solution. It’s too complicated and human-like for one approach or resource to address. Do we have a reason to believe that high engagement is related to fewer problems in classroom management? Yes. Does it come with a guarantee? No.
There is the possibility of hope. It is possible to find a new sense of happiness. These boredom busters require no preparation activities that make worksheets exciting, meaningful, and enjoyable learning activities.
Give out a worksheet, and ask students to write their names at the top of the page and then answer the first question. Then, they fold the sheet into a paper airplane. On your command, then, they can launch their airplanes. Students choose a plane to solve the next question. Repeat until the exercise is complete. Then, students return the original piece of paper, look at the answers in their entirety, and make any corrections as necessary.
Take a worksheet apart with a question, and then place it on each desk, along with the paper. You can turn on the music. Students grab their pencils and then dance around the classroom. If you stop the music, they go to the desk closest to them and work on the question. When you re-start it, the students take off the desk, take out their pencils, and then move. Repeat, but this time, as students are sitting at their desks, they have to prove that they got the answer correct, find a different method, correct it, and so on.
Differentiate with different shades of paper. You can make copies of other worksheets or assignments with a different color paper. Give the correct position to each student. After that, students can carry on the paper plane or musical desk using the same color of paper they began with. This will allow all students to participate in the same activity while working on an assignment that is right for them.
Write essays or solve multi-step problems. Every student begins the essay or task and then exchanges it with a different student until they’re completed. The following student continues the report or issues the same way their classmate began the essay or problem. Repeat until every student contributes to several assignments or topics.
Students are free to ask questions! Each student is required to write queries, and afterward, they make musical desks or paper airplanes to take a question from someone else and respond.
What happens if a student isn’t willing to begin? There is still the possibility of regaining some control. A stress buster can help us understand our feelings and assist students in overcoming inertia and returning to learning.
Then, ask the student to take the time to read the directions or explain them to you to make sure they know what they need to do. You can give them a low-risk option: “Do you want to begin on the first or the last?” “Do you want to work from your workstation or a table?” This helps lower the fear of being threatened and encourages participation.
Next, tackle a challenge with them. Students’ opinions about their capabilities may not be correct. It proves to them and us that they can accomplish it when they work together—still stuck? Write to them. They speak, then you type.
At this point, there are likely to be 17412 hands in your classroom when you only have 29 students. Think about setting the student up with a friend. Set aside five minutes to work on another task or two before returning to examine them. Repeat the steps as necessary and gradually increase the time for independent work.