We have to get imaginative to turn ordinary tasks into something more enjoyable. And quite frankly, that isn’t always easy.
Especially as a teacher, I face this challenge. As the school year progresses, students grow comfortable with their class routines; a routine in itself is a good thing, but the problem arises when comfortable crosses the line to "checked out."
Seventh-grade, middle-school keyboarding is a perfect example. Learning the home-row fingering and practicing typing drills are important but can become tedious, so I try to give my students a break from their typing textbooks every once in a while.
One exercise my students have come to enjoy is a story scenario (“code” for composing at the keyboard, which sounds much more like work). Italicized below is my scenario I gave the students last week. I asked them to finish the story, and I’ve listed the first few words of some of their imaginative responses.
Like any other school day, Jordan rolled out of bed, slipped down the stairs, and slouched over his bowl of Fruit Loops at the breakfast table. He had just shoved his chair back to rise from the table when he saw ….
· The door open
· A brown and black spotted bull
· A giant robotic rooster
· The gunman coming to the door
· A zombie
· A random pie monster
· A monkey
· Nine men in bio suits who said, “You have to come with us.” (This is a personal favorite!)
· A shadow
· The school bus driver staring at him through the wet window with a weary look (Someone was paying attention to our English discussion on adjectives...)
· A huge TV
· His sister
· His favorite super hero
· Something not normalYes, these are middle school student responses! Their eyes were shining, and their hands straining as high as they could to get my attention to read their stories to the class.
I think there’s a lesson for us here: First, try to break up the everyday once in a while to keep life fresh and interesting; and also, don’t be afraid to turn ordinary tasks into something creative. You never know just what inspiration you might find or talent you might tap.