Going into my lesson today, I knew I was going to have to get the kids’ attention. I like to keep the mood light in my classroom and I definitely want my students engaged — doing all this at once can be challenging at times. But when I have my students review the sequencing of events, such as the American Revolution, it is inevitable that I will lose a few.
I was using a sequencing review to facilitate the discussion of particular advantages and disadvantages the colonists would have had to deal with when facing an opponent as powerful as the British Empire. I hadn’t used the word disadvantage or advantage yet. I just had them bouncing ideas around.
While their ideas were bouncing around, I was bouncing paper balls off the rim of the trash can. Periodically, I would intentionally shoot and miss, never making one. After a few minutes, the kids were highly entertained at my ineptitude. I have to admit, this made me laugh. Because you see, they had no idea I was missing on purpose and it was all a plan to get them to fully understand what I meant by the word “disadvantage.”
When it came time for us to create a list of disadvantages, I had a great way to use relevance in an example to get the results that I was looking for.
If LeBron James walked through that door right now and said, ‘Mr. Weinmann! You and me, 1-on-1! Right now!’ Who would have the disadvantage?
After saying this, immediately all of my students laughed and made the connection that not only am I a short white guy, I’m also really, really bad at basketball. They also knew immediately what to write when I asked them to list disadvantages the colonists dealt with when facing a superior opponent. And I was honestly impressed with the list we compiled as a class.
I then flipped the example and asked who would have the advantage when it came to teaching my history class. Of course, my students thought that was LeBron James too. 🙂