Brittany Ballou on Harnessing Student Excitement + Winter Lesson Plan

EDU & Features & People
In this blog post...
  • See Brittany Ballou’s New Winter Geometry Lesson Plan (elementary students) here!

  • To save time on grading, create student rubrics for project based learning (PBL) and grade them throughout the project process.

  • Hands-on activities will help you harness student excitement before the winter break. PBL will bring focused fun and keep students on the move, concentrated on a topic, and collaborating with others.

Brittany Ballou

December is such an invigorating time of year!

Both teachers and students are looking forward to the winter break, and it can be increasingly challenging for students to contain their excitement in the classroom.

We had a chance to catch up with STEAM teacher, Brittany Ballou, who not only wrote a superb winter lesson plan, but also provided some tips on bringing focused fun to your class before the holiday.

Be sure to check out Brittany’s Winter Lesson Plan here or check out a video of her class in action.

Q and A with Brittany Ballou

3Doodler: Thanks so much for meeting with us, Brittany, and for writing the winter lesson plan. Do you have any tips for other teachers on how to keep students engaged in the classroom before winter break?

The holidays are one of my favorite times of the school year because students are filled with excitement.

Harness that excitement and you’ll have them engaged. Fun hands-on activities will get your students focused on learning without even realizing they’re learning. Don’t give them another worksheet. Instead, use literature to connect STEM/STEAM projects. Collect all of the recyclables, use Legos, pull out your 3Doodlers, and let students have fun. Give them structure on a project topic and you’ll see excitement and learning abound in your classroom!

Do you have suggestions for how teachers can make time to grade papers at school while keeping students focused and happy?

Teachers should create rubrics that students can access for their project-based learning.

As students are working, have your rubrics on a clipboard, ask them questions, look at their products, observe the teamwork, and grade the rubrics throughout the project process. That way you are not stuck with grading the project at the very end. Pace yourself and you’ll find that project grading is easy, and it doesn’t have to take time away from either the lesson or your home life.

The weeks leading up to winter break can be stressful for teachers. Do you have any advice that can help teachers during this time of year?

Let yourself and your students have fun. You have spent the first several months of school building relationships with your students. Now, use what you know about their interests to focus their learning. I love project-based learning because students learn without even realizing it.

If you haven’t done a hands-on project, yet, this is the perfect time to try one. Don’t stress about it being perfect, but instead focus on giving students an opportunity to explore their learning in a different way. Let them get up and move. With all of that excitement, they get antsy and the last thing you want to do is keep them sitting in one place. Project-based learning will keep them on the move, focused on a topic, and collaborating with others.

Doodle Snowflakes: Geometry and Symmetry
Time Required: Two 45-60 minute sessions
Skill Level: Beginner
Recommended Grades: K to 2nd

In this lesson, students will work individually using the 3Doodler pens to doodle a geometrical snowflake that is also symmetrical. Students will review the concepts of geometry, patterns, and symmetry.

Do you have tips for bringing focused fun to your classroom before the winter break?

Other teachers want to know! Share them with the EDU community on Twitter, and be sure to follow Brittany Ballou.

Tag Us: @3Doodler, #3Doodler, #3DoodlerEDU

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