Make Time for Magic

I have never been the kind of teacher who sits still. Throughout my career, I have reflected, constantly seeking ways to improve my teaching practice. While I have added a number of important new elements (instructional clarity, a focus on student social-emotional needs, more time for reflection and feedback) somehow I managed to leave behind one of the most critical concepts: the magic. 

Somehow, I forgot that my students are children. And while the changes I was making had a positive impact on student learning, things were becoming a little bit clinical in my classroom. 

So, I took some steps to shake things up.


First thing I did was to look around my school for a teacher who was making learning active and fun for their kids. This step was valuable for two reasons: 1. It provided me with much-needed inspiration, and 2. It was a source of great new ideas. During my search I discovered Chris – our school’s secondary Chemistry and DP Biology teacher. Chris could teach through lecture, but he prefers to get his students in the lab getting their hands dirty. Although Chris and I teach different disciplines, his infectious energy and creativity helped him to see many exciting possibilities for bringing my content to life. For instance, when I talked about teaching early human history, Chris said he could bring in his students to teach mine about the carbon dating process. He also suggested having my students actually create paleolithic tools and weapons. 

Self Reflection

The next step I took to bring back my magical mojo was to go back in time. Not literally! What I did was to go back into my Google Drive and look at some of the cool lessons and activities I used to roll out on a daily basis. You see, back in the day my classes were legendary. I used to wear costumes, like a real suit of armor. I staged debates and simulations. We would channel Martin Luther and stick a list of issues we had with the school on the principal’s door. History was brought to life. 

And somehow I just plain forgot how to be magical.

I’m not saying that we have to abandon all the important new strategies and practices coming out of new brain science research, or the work of John Hattie and Douglas Fisher.  But, we can’t forget who we are teaching – children; little kiddos with tons of energy, curiosity, and wonder. 

Next week my students will begin a unit on Ancient Egypt and Kush. Yes, I will ensure students understand the why behind this unit. The lessons will be clearly aligned to AERO and Common Core standards. We will work on developing important Social Studies skills. 

And hell yes my students will be using toilet paper to wrap each other up like mummies!

Ed X!


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