1. Working with their peers 2. Working with technology 3. Connecting the real world to the work we do/project-based learning 4. Clearly love what you do 5. Get me out of my seat! 6. Bring in visuals 7. Student choice 8. Understand your clients 9. Mix it up! 10. Be human
I'm so glad to see these ideas, as over the last two semesters I have used and seen the benefits of each of these practiced. Nearly every lesson uses visuals and technology of some sort. I try to get the kids up out of their seats with fun activities, and I'm always looking to add variety and change things up. Gone are the days when teachers were expected to simply lecture the entire class with students sitting quietly and listening. How Boring!! Frankly these students' suggestions seem almost obvious to me, but it's great to hear from their own mouths. It's incumbent on us as teachers to get the students involved and active in their learning, making things fun and interesting. if they're bored they will not internalize the lessons and you can run into other behavior issues.
An example of using technology and real world examples is the #InstagramELE Challenge. Students are encouraged to use hashtags to take representative photos of their vocabulary words. How Cool!! Kids are already using social tools like Instagram in their lives outside of school. Why not plug into that and provide them with a learning opportunity they will really enjoy. It's extra cool because there multiple teachers involved from different schools, so the students get to collaborate digitally with others doing the same project. They can feed off each others' ideas, comment and share, and potentially see other people from around the world using the same hashtags, helping to deepen the meaning of the words.
Another way to use Instagram for learning is through an Instagram Scavenger Hunt. In this one students have a list of items to find while on a field trip. This helps them to directly engage with the location while having fun and interacting with their peers. They will likely see and share details about the trip that you weren't even expecting. I could easily envision doing either of these assignments in my earth science class, having students take pictures of various landforms, weather phenomenon, or parts of the water cycle. This would make for a great extra credit or choice assignment, as you would have to be cognizant of the fact that many students don't have access to the smart phones that are needed for Instagram. I recently took an informal survey of my students and about 25% don't have their own phones available. Perhaps they could work as teams.
On another note, here's a bunch of great suggestions for using Instagram as an institution. While the article specifically points to examples by colleges, it's pretty easy to see how any school or classroom might use these strategies. Imagine sharing photos of the exciting things your students are doing in class, so that their parents can see and get more plugged into their children's education. Why wait until back-to-school night or open house to share those pictures? Build support for your school activities by using social networks to share the excitement and fun, as it's happening. The students will see pictures of themselves, their peers and the things they experience, helping to build better attachment to their schools. If they're more attached, they're also more likely to engage in their learning and really be part of the school community.