By Vivian Conrad | Special to the Index
Before we moved back to the states two summers ago, I spent 12 years teaching high school in an international academy in Manila. One thing I learned about teenagers is that it takes a lot of variety to hold their attention, especially after lunch. If I didn’t routinely change up my teaching style, lessons would become plodding and predictable.
I always had a back-up plan for my 50-minute class periods. If I observed heads nodding and eyes drooping, I would pull out an activity that required discussion or movement to perk things up.
One afternoon my 12th-graders were particularly lethargic. When the activities I’d planned failed to coax them from their stupor, I surprised them by having them stand up and move all the desks to the sides. I grabbed a couple of blankets from my supply closet, spread them in the middle of the room, and announced that we would finish the class sitting on the floor. The novelty of that small variant kept the students eagerly engaged for the rest of the period.
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