Whether you’re meeting someone, going to an event, or beginning a new lesson, first impressions are everything. I’m writing this piece as a reflection of a comment I made on a podcast recording the other day. The comment I made related to taking some time to have some fun when introducing something new with students. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the day to day routine of school, introduce things to students, and don’t think about the first impression they have of a lesson, technology, or content.
Last year I read about the Iron Chef Eduprotocol and was on board and ready to go. I was together the slides for a lesson on Andrew Jackson, blasted out the slides through Google Classroom, and timed the students 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, we switched to presentations. ABSOLUTE. DISASTER. Why? Because this was something they never did before. Thinking about the process and content is enough to make anyone’s head explode……….then tack on a presentation……….look out!!! If I tried to do an Iron Chef again with those students, I would have a mutiny on my hands because they had a bad first impression.
Here is what I learned from that experience……use something light hearted and fun to introduce a lesson, technology, or content. Here are 2 examples of ways I introduced 2 lessons this year:
- I introduced presentations and presenting with the Worst Presentation Ever. It was a fun, lighthearted way for students to create presentations using Google Slides, give feedback, and learn how to present by doing it the wrong way. Here is a link to the post.
- I learned my lesson from last year’s Iron Chef. This year, I introduced the Iron Chef with a simple lesson on Thomas Paine. The reading I provided was organized, to the point, and below grade level. I was fine with this because I wanted the students to understand the process. In one class period, they collaborated, created a presentation, and communicated their results. Each time we did the Iron Chef thereafter, it got a little bit more in-depth.
- I just started doing 8-parts with my class. Students analyze a painting or photo and find nouns, verbs, ask questions, consider the audience, etc on a Google Drawing template. The students finalize their analysis by writing a paragraph using all 8-parts on the Drawing. The first we did this, however, we used a silly photograph of a girl drinking Sunny D off of a countertop. The students laughed, but learned the process of 8-parts. The second time we did 8-parts with a historical photo made it so much easier! Here is an example
At the end of the day, take some time to have some fun when introducing new lessons, technology, or content in class. It will create a fun, relaxed atmosphere and the students will most likely associate positivity with the lesson next time it’s used. Remember, first impressions are everything.