FACT – children get obsessive about the latest trends. Anything that is new and popular is pretty much on their Christmas lists by January 1st.
Then comes the fun part for us as teachers…
1) Trying to understand these new languages that appear out of nowhere – Bieber, Kinect, Pokemon, Ben10, …what?
2) Keeping the new playground mimic games under control
3) Confiscating toys and cards during lessons
4) Trying our best to look like we know what they are talking about during ‘share time’
5) Calming arguments and upset caused, very often by jealousy
And generally just trying to make sure that we are managing the media that is managing our children…
But, there are positives that can easily be harnessed from these obsessions – some FANTASTIC teaching. It’s just about using a teacher’s best friend – our creativity, to make sure that happens.
As we all know, when it comes to topic teaching – we can plan the most exciting lessons possible but if we don’t pitch the topic right, from the start then it’s a hard slog trying to get them to feel engaged and motivated.
That’s why I love teaching through their current ‘obsessions’ – no batteries required Just plug and away they go…
Take Angry Birds for instance … on the one hand…
Negatives – a sudden obsession with knocking down objects that were not placed there to be knocked down, a lot of toy confiscation and if you’re really unlucky they’re even playing it on their phones during teaching time.
Positives – A LOT of GREAT teaching ideas! “And we’d be fools not to use it to our advantage”
Why not use it to teach forces? Maths? Literacy? (a story about why the birds and pigs are enemies maybe?)
And it would be fantastic for classroom behaviour management! – Create a tower and a number of steps leading up to the tower. For every positive throughout the day, the angry bird can move 1 step closer. If the angry bird has reached the tower by the end of the day then someone gets to throw it and knock down the tower.
Angry Bird Maths
I could spend the next 20 minutes writing down how to teach Maths through Angry Birds but I thought I’d go for the visual element instead so make sure you watch the video below from Teaching Tipster.
If you’re not a fan of really terrible jokes then you may want to skip past the first 1.12 secs of the video but the rest is a fantastic breakdown of how to engage them in Maths- covering: 3D shapes, measurement – standard and non standard units, counting and addition You could easily adapt to cover subtraction, multiplication, etc.
They use lots of the angry bird plush toys in the video but you could just as easily use balloons filled with sand or beans. The children could then decorate them by gluing coloured card and googly eyes to the balloons.
So remember, it’s all about media management. The obsessions will always be around so you might as well put them to good use.