<----- What I DON"T want to see in my class!
Over the years of teaching I have come to realize that some topics are very difficult for my students. I find that the students learn and perform much better if I teach in spurts. I teach a new concept for 15-20 minutes, and then I give my students a "brain-break". What is a "brain- break"? I am glad you asked!!
A "brain-break" is a 2 or 3 minute break away from the topic currently being taught. It is a couple of minutes where the student can relax, and it relieves the tension of a very complex lesson. I am still a teacher who wants every minute to count. So during a "brain-break" I usually throw out a bit of science trivia. These are just fun and interesting facts that teach the student about the amazing natural world we live in. Over the last few months my "brain-breaks" have consisted of the Mother Nature Awards for Planet Earth.
Here is an example:
These are PowerPoint slides. I insert one of these slides into a PowerPoint on cellular respiration or photosynthesis or enzyme-catalyzed reactions. My students have come to expect these little surprises and they get so excited when one of these pops up into my otherwise overly technical lecture. This is fun, it teaches a bit about the wonders of nature, and best of all, it gives the student just a minute to relax and get focused again before I launch back into the real topic of the day.
After a slide has been viewed, I print it, laminate it, and place it on the wall in my classroom. I have been very pleasantly surprised at how often students stop by the wall to look at the Mother Nature Awards.
I have put together a group of 20 of these awards and placed them in my store on TeachersPayTeachers.com. There are two product listings, one for Grades 2-5 and a separate listing for grades 6-12.
listing for grades 2-5 comes with a set of activity worksheets (42 pages) for the students to complete as the PowerPoint slide is being viewed. The finished worksheets can be put together to make a great Mother Nature Award book.
The listing for grades 6-12 comes with a worksheet for students to conduct their own research to develop a PowerPoint slide for a Mother Nature Award of their own choosing. This makes a nice homework assignment for a grade, or for a great extra credit opportunity.
Don't forget that Earth Day is coming up soon. The Mother Nature Awards are a perfect Earth Day activity.
Have fun teaching!