Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Student Experiences: 5 Ways to Create Engaging Lessons – Learned During My Practicum

April 5, 2018

Hello! My name is Katie Croft and I am near the end of my journey with the Faculty of Education program, graduating July 2018. I am in the primary/junior division and my FOCI is Leadership in School Organizations. Queen’s has provided me with such an amazing experience from the program itself to the classes and to the practicums and I would love to share this experience with you. 

1) Fostering students to be active participants in their own learning

I have just finished my third practicum in a grade three classroom. This practicum taught me so much! The most important learning I took aback is: creating engaging lessons can be a form of classroom management itself. Creating fun and hands-on learning experiences will result in students being interested, which in turn results in students becoming active participants in their own learning! 

2) Utilizing student centers to increase engagement

Centers are such a great way to get students attention! Centers result in students rotating every several minutes, therefore, the student’s attention is redirected and switched up. This allows the students to never become bored but have a sense of excitement of the next station that is to come. A good trick is to involve a technology center since many students love technology! Centers are also so great because you can “man a center” and perform and record a form of assessment! It is in math when learning about telling time that I did centers. Centers included having to match cards, mPower, having their own paper watches and writing down movie times! I also did centers in social studies in our First Nations and Metis Communities unit. We investigated Indigenous artifacts and learned Indigenous people used lots of natural resources for tools, materials and everyday life. 

  • Students doing activity at student center
  • Students writing on chalkboard
  • Students rotating stations in their student center
  • Students live chat with Olympians in the Pyeongchang Korea Winter 2018 Olympics
  • Student using scales to learn about kilograms and grams
  • Students posting their answers on sticky notes
  • Students showing their poster
  • Students participating in active learning

3) Creating fun activities that are forms of assessment

Musical clocks was an activity I created for my math lesson on telling time. It is like musical chairs but it is musical clocks! On each student desk, there was a clock and each student had a sheet of paper to record the times. It is when the music stopped that students had to stop dancing and find a desk and write down the time! This was another great form of assessment! 

Create a scavenger hunt! We did a thermometer scavenger hunt all over the school! The students were able to tell the temperature in degrees Celsius with real thermometers and pictures of thermometers. They also were able to take a reasonable estimate of the temperature of something! Students had such a blast doing this activity. 

Bring in manipulatives! It is when teaching the kilogram and gram in math that students loved using the scales and having to estimate and record the mass of a chosen object. 

4) Let the students be in control of their own learning

In social studies, the students are in charge of their own learning! I wrote questions on chart paper and had each group read a page of the chapter. By doing this students took learning into their own hands and posted their answers on sticky notes underneath the question. This was such a success! 

5) Making classroom discussions relevant and relatable

Make it relatable! It is in religion that we had the opportunity to be a part of Classroom Champions. This is a four-part lesson plan where athlete mentors from the Olympics produce video lessons on a different topic each day! Lessons deal with social/emotional learning topics designed to build skills: goal-setting, teamwork, fair play, perseverance, and courage. At the end of this four-part lesson plan, we got to live chat with several Olympians who were competing in the Pyeongchang Korea Winter 2018 Olympics, which was so amazing and super exciting for the students.