Today, I made my students get up and jump around. .
Literally jump around.
With more enthusiasm than most Disney World employees, I shouted "OKAY NOW JUMP FIVE TIMES AND SPIN IN A CIRCLE. OKAY, NOW JUMP AS HIGH AS YOU CAN AND TOUCH YOUR KNEES. DO TEN JUMPING JACKS! GO GO GO!"
This was after I was trying to get at least the slightest bit of reaction out of them asking what they thought "inverse operations" might mean. I'm sure you can sense my 6th graders unwavering excitement for solving algebraic equations using addition and subtraction. (Not.) After asking once (really probably closer to three times without an answer), I started hopping around exclaiming, "COME ON GUYS, ALGEBRA IS FUN! THIS STUFF IS GREAT!" This quickly led to the Richard Simmon's pump-up class. Once our mini workout session concluded, the majority of them regained consciousness and the minority of them thought their teacher was insane.
Still, I got their attention and got a reaction. It wasn't easy though.
I remember a story one of my college professors told us. She told us how one day, she asked her students a question. After what felt like hours of no one answering, she literally threw herself to the ground and waited for someone to say something. Think about this. Like, really. Imagine your teacher literally falling to the ground. I think it's pretty funny.
This is kind of how I felt today. But instead of throwing myself to the ground, I engaged myself and my students in an 80's aerobics and step class.
My point is that I don't think a classroom needs to be a stuffy place. I think it's the teacher's responsibility to do WHATEVER it takes to get the students to listen, regardless of how stupid you look. The way I see it, if we as teachers can find any way (even the crazy ways) to get to our students, we need to do that.
However, next time, maybe I'll wear more supportive shoes.