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5 Engaging Teaching Ideas to Beat the End of School Blues

It’s April and schools in the northern hemisphere are counting down the days until the end of the school year. Students are antsy for summer break, and teachers often find student engagement challenging during these final weeks. Here are five new teaching ideas that are sure to engage your students while pushing through those last standards and learning outcomes for the year.

Text with Others

Imagine texting existed during World War II. Show what you learned about World War II by creating what could have been a text conversation between leaders Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Engaging teaching idea: Example text conversation between Winston Churchill and FDR.

This is an example of a formative assessment when learning about World War II. What better way to engage students than to bring what they do in their spare time into the classroom: texting!

With Text Chat Animator creating text conversations is not only possible, but easy. This site creates “fake” text exchanges and even animates the conversation to create a video. The video is saved as a .webm file, which means that it opens as a web page. This is great, because students can add the link to their text conversation to an assignment in your digital course homebase or learning management system. You can then easily open each link to view each unique creation.

Text Chat Animator is ad-free and does not require accounts, logins, emails, names, or other personal identifying information, so it should pass many student data privacy requirements. Of course, always check with your school’s technology director before using any sites with students, though. And coach students on their digital citizenship skills, i.e., only adding their first name or first name and last initial to websites such as this.

Of course, you could always have students write out the conversation or create a template using a tool such as Google Slides. However, using a site such as Text Chat Animator makes the text conversation look real!

What other topics could use creating text conversations as a learning task?

  • World language: Create a conversation between individuals in another language. You would need to define if abbreviations or slang are allowed!

  • Art: What would Van Gogh say to another artist about modern art?

  • Science: Create a conversation between a cold-blooded animal and hot-blooded animal.

  • Math: What would Pythagoras say to construction workers?

  • Music: What would Beethoven say to Dr. Dre?

  • Health: What would a cell say to a virus?

  • English/language arts: What would Athena say to Poseidon?

  • Agriculture: How would a plant explain its needs to soil?

  • Personal finance: Create a conversation between a loan provider and the credit agency.

Write Yelp Reviews

Imagine you are an animal. This could be any animal of your choice. What environment do you live in? Evaluate the environment that you live in by writing a Yelp review of that environment using the Google Slides template provided. What do you need in order to live? Based on that, how many stars would you give your environment in terms of livability, climate, and ability to find food and water? Then explain your ranking. What does your environment do well? How could your environment improve to be more livable for your species?

This is an example of a format