5 Creative Ways to Make Language Arts Fun
Author: Britt Mooney
“Are we gonna have any fun today?”
Teachers often hear this question. It’s natural for kids to prefer engaging ways of learning, but often teachers find it difficult to be creative while struggling to finish the semester on schedule. So, to help you, we’ve gathered five creative ways to make language arts fun!
Use a game like Pictionary to reinforce language arts. Purchase the game or research online how to play it. Get creative with team names and prizes for winners. Kids love being competitive, and the visual element is perfect for international students. It increases vocabulary too!
Discussion Question Contest
We want our students to move beyond repetition and simple understanding to evaluation and creation.
On the material being learned, have the students write discussion questions that activate critical thinking. A great discussion question has no one singular answer, requires justification/support, can be personal, and often leads to more questions. Give examples, such as: What are three ways you see love as the theme in this poem?
Make it a contest with interesting or silly prizes to further motivate the resulting brain stretching. Perhaps you can take the winning questions and compile them as an assignment for the class.
Creative Writing Mad Libs
Language Arts contains opportunities to be creative through writing poems or stories, inspiring our students to express their own voice and insights in narrative form.
Have the students write stories with Mad Libs, leaving key parts of the story blank for others to fill in sensory details and brainstorm crazy ways the story could go. This breaks the students out of easy tropes and narrative formulas. And it can get pretty funny.
Go a step further, make a “book cover” for the stories in a free online creator like Canva.
Beach Ball Discussions
Purchase an inflatable striped beach ball and write review questions on it with a sharpie. Throw the ball to a student, and they ask the first question they see after catching it. Either the one who caught the ball or the class answers the question. Then throw it again. More questions? More beach balls.
The Video Game Exam
This is a very unconventional way to assess your students. Each student invents a video game based on the material you choose (semester, unit, etc.), complete with levels, goals, obstacles, bad guys, and bonuses.
Give the students a list of topics and lessons they must include, perhaps a larger list to choose from. On the day for the “final exam,” have students present their games to each other. You’ll be amazed at the level of creativity.
No matter what exercise you choose, you’re sure to find your students more engaged and ready to learn. To discover more ideas, check out “10 Ways to Engage Students Using Humor.” The laughter and engagement of the kids will make you smile.
About the Author
Britt Mooney has taught in private and public schools in the US and an international school in South Korea. He currently works for a coffee company, writes fantasy novels, and lives in the Atlanta, GA area with his wife and three kids.