Within a routine you can keep things novel! This novelty within the predictable schedule is what keeps the classroom exciting and students on their toes. Without further adieu I bring you simple, easy to carry out ideas that will make a big impact on your students.
Deliver Your Lesson from a Different Location
Do you usually stand by a projector or in the front of the room? Mix it up! Stand in the back the whole lecture, or take a seat and have more of a conversation with your students. One of my favorite spots is to sit right on one of my student's desks. This puts me right in the middle of my students, and it totally throws them off their game for the first few minutes, meaning that it will be memorable.
Change of Venue
Go outside, go into the hallway, go to a different classroom, or go to the gym! It doesn't really matter where you go, just go! Students love a change of venue, and you will too! Of course, not every lesson lends itself to this, but most do.
One of the questions I get asked a lot of this one is whether students get more distracted in a different environment, and to that I ask, aren't our students distracted in the classroom too? I have found that my students were actually less distracted in a new spot, because it is already novel, and you better believe that they remembered that lesson. I would hear things like, "Ms. R, remember when we went on the blacktop to finish our lesson on character changes?" They really truly did remember and connected the lesson with our new spot.
This may be the easiest of all. Stand on your desk to deliver a mini-lesson. Your kids will think you have gone crazy, but your better believe that attention is glued to you. My students loved this one so much, that we then shared all of our writing using this method with students standing on my big blue kidney table.
This is a great example of how novelty can become a part of your routine. By reserving this change in altitude for our writing time, it gave students something to look forward to, and encouraged them to share their writing.
Cooperative Learning Structures
You didn't think this one was going to slip through the cracks did you? You know I am all about cooperative learning, and these structures are an amazing way to include novelty in your classroom. My favorites for instant, no-prep structures are TimedPairShare, RallyRobin, and AllWriteRoundRobin
Do you usually wear a dress? How about jeans and a t-shirt? Have you every thought about wearing a costume for a lesson. Now, I am not talking a complete costume, although have at it if that is what floats your boat. I am more of a crazy wig or funny pair of glasses. Those small changes alone are sure to grab your students' attention!
What ways to keep your classroom novel? Let me know in the comments!