At E-base, all classes are intended to be fun! But it a lot more difficult to ensure you are having fun and learning at the same time, than you think; as fun is usually associated with disorderliness and learning with structure. There 3 fun ways to seamlessly integrate the two.
Noise levels: One of the side effects of being teacher is that you will inevitably lose your voice at some point in a week. The noise level chart works great with the junior class students like class 1st, 2nd and 3rd. It works well in setting expectations of the class before you start and you must remember to start the class with that. It also helps to just point at the chart every time you hear an increase in voice levels, instead of increasing your voice levels and losing it.
Visual Learning Aids: Every child has a different learning style. Something that has helped me cater to all has been the Visual Learning Aid which is directed towards the visual learners (those who learn remember and retain better through visual props), but you can integrate the other learning styles into it like tactile and audiovisual. The idea for the visual aid dawned upon me from a new series I started watching called the misfits (which is hilarious!), and others like Sherlock and movies like mission impossible, Borne Identity, Gajani and the like. The way we have been conducting the and fromEbase sessions has been: to map all the information that we learn in every class, take active notes and also learn to take the right kinds of notes from a much younger age, filter out the unnecessary information and associated the information to the place of happening. This is usually relevant to the documentaries that we have been watching in our documentary film club, but can be the done the same way with projects involving research tools and every day classes. The research topic for class 5 students under biodiversity was a set of 11 animals that they had to find in groups from a set of books provided per group. The objective was to find as many animals possible in a 40 minute of a class. Once you have scanned an entire book you could choose to barter your book with another group. Working in teams of there were specific tasks assigned to each person, like one got to be a scanner, on the notes taker and another batterer. We got into the habit of notes taking for all our other classes and clubs, like the documentary film club and started associating stories to a place. Finally we connected all those places with the notes through colorful string and there you have a tool great for visual learners, a great review of duration of a course and also a colorful Hitman like movie addition to your class.
A snapshot of all that we learn during the course.
Team Work Tracker: Classroom tracker is a great tool to keep track of individual student progress; but in a PBL class the best way to effectively track progress is using a team work tracker. This tool works great till middle school level, as the students really care about whether they are getting a black start or a blue one based on their team performance. You get to see some really interesting dynamics within a group, and to also see individual personalities transcend through the entire group and the group take on the qualities of their strong leaders. From the beginning we have been conducting sessions as teams, organizing team building exercises, brainstorming in groups and taking actions as teams with set tasks. It is a great way to introduce the kids to work-life functioning, teach them the need to interact with students/people with different temperaments, to get work done even with people who are not their best friends or chosen work buddies, and help them evolve from the team building till achieving end result.
Team building with boys we would never choose to be in the same team with.