The Bow Tie Boys

The Bow Tie Boys

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Connecting Each Day in Meaningful Ways

As I sit on a beach in Florida, soaking up the sunlight, I watch the endless cycle of waves, as they form, crest, then retreat back into the ocean to reform. I think of another seemingly endless cycle. School. It's spring break so it is a one week grace period before we head into the final quarter of school. I think most students would agree with me on school being an endless cycle, punctuated by weekends and breaks. Every day should have a different flare, that separates it from everything else. With this however, everyday should also be able to feel connected in some way or another. The key is finding perfect balance between the two.

There is one class I am currently in that everyday seems like a repeat of the last. I discussed this in a previous blog, titled A Notes Based Classroom. To summarize the class, it is notes based. To quote the blog, "The class has this everyday structure, yet never strays far away from it, making each class feel like a repeat of last." (A Notes Based Classroom, ). The class although good in other aspects, just can't escape the feeling of an endless cycle.

It is vital to have an organizational pattern in a classroom, yet everyday, something needs vary in how the material is taught. This way, everyday doesn't feel like a repeat of the last. Having the same organization with the same kinds of activities everyday can be very disengaging, especially if the material isn't the students favorite. In the words of Susan Ohanian," I don’t know many adults who could sit quietly through even one day of the dusty confines of a typical school curriculum”. (Caught in the Middle, 2001) Repeating the exact same thing every single day can break a students attention in class, and can damage built up rapport. This creates the "dusty confines" Susan Ohanian describes.

One thing that can easily make everyday different are different activities. Spicing up the activities and varying them not only engage students more, but they are also a helpful study tool. Students can recall specific lessons and remember, oh yeah, I remember when we learned this because we did that one activity. In history this year, we did a reenactment of Aztec sacrifice. Although the demonstration was hilariously executed, the lesson stuck with me and my peers. Reenactments, songs, chants, poems, games and mini contests are just a few fun ways to mix up each day while still getting across the content. Just doing interesting activities that still convey important messages can help to not only create a feel of little repetition, but also one where students look forward to learning more.

Works Cited:

Ohanian, Susan. Caught in the Middle: Nonstandard Kids and a Killing Curriculum. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001. Print.


  1. Thank you for reminding us that each learning day needs to have just the right blend of unique while still meaningfully connecting them so they work together. Great ideas Joe!

  2. Joe, I read this sitting on yet another airplane and I imagine myself on a break somewhere.

    What this post prompts me to reflect on is the power of a break to recharge and reflect.