The best way through which a student learns is through his/her participation in the attainment of knowledge by solving problems and articulating what the student has discovered.
The following classroom activities for students provide them with opportunities to deepen their learning by applying concepts and articulating new knowledge. Many of these classroom activities for students also provide the instructor with feedback about the learning of students.
- Entry/Exit Tickets:
Entry & Exit tickets are a quick and great way through which a student’s performance can be diagnosed. This activity ensures the participation of each student and helps students focus on key concepts and ideas. The important feedback for the instructor can be useful to guide teaching pedagogies and future lesson planning and activities preparation.
- Ask students to recall background knowledge relevant to the day’s lesson through ‘Entry Tickets’
- Collect feedback on students’ understanding at the end of a class and provide the students with an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned through ‘Exit Tickets.’
- Free Writing/Question of the Day Exercise:
These classroom activities for students prompt them to write a response to an open-ended question. This activity takes just a few minutes and gives students the opportunity to organize their own thoughts which develops students’ abilities to think holistically and critically, and improves their writing skills.
In this activity, the students first ask the students to consider a question on their own, and then provides an opportunity for students to discuss it in pairs, and finally together with the whole class. This activity encourages deeper thinking, problem-solving, and/or critical analysis among students. As the students discuss in groups, it allows them to articulate their thought processes. The think-pair-share activity ensures the involvement of all students, particularly the ones who stay quiet or feel shy to share their opinions. It also gives quick feedback to the instructor about the students’ misconceptions and supports higher levels of thinking in the students.
- Case Studies and Problem-Based Learning:
Case studies are a great prompt to help students understand concepts through “real-life” situations. Ask guiding questions and lead students through the activity. Remember that the questions should be such that develop students’ critical thinking. Ask students to distinguish between facts and assumptions, which will help them to critically analyze both the process they take in solving the case study as well as finding the solution. Problem-based learning activities develop students’ problem-solving and decision-making skills, develop students’ critical thinking skills and encourage critical reflection by them.
Engaging in collaborative discourse and argumentation enhances students’ conceptual understandings and refines their reasoning abilities. Ask the students to prepare a debate exploiting an arguable divide in the day’s materials. Divide the students into teams and give them time to prepare. They will present their views according to their call which will help them develop critical thinking.
- Interview or Role Play:
Motivate students to become problem solvers by introducing the activity of interview or role play. Ask the students to choose any historical figures, authors, or any character from the current topic and tell them that they have to take the part or perspective of their chosen character. These kinds of classroom activities for students provide a new perspective to the students through which they can explore or understand an issue, and the development of skills, such as writing, leadership, coordination, collaboration, and research.
- Interactive Demonstrations:
Demonstrate the application of a concept, a skill, or a process by planning interactive demonstrations in the classroom. Your demonstration should be planned in a manner where there are opportunities for students to reflect on and analyze the process. The demonstration should not be passive.
- Introduce the goal and description of the demonstration.
- Have students think-pair-share (see above) to discuss what they predict may happen, or to analyze the situation at hand.
- Conduct the demonstration.
- Students discuss and analyze the outcome (either in pairs/small groups or as a whole class)
All the above classroom activities for students are great for students’ critical thinking, communication, problem-solving and deeper thinking. Teachers can look for more classroom activities for students on the internet and can use them to make their lectures come alive. This will really make the students enjoy your class 2X better.