5 Creative Ideas for the Elementary School Classroom

5 Creative Ideas for the Elementary School Classroom

Elementary students enthralled by their teacher's creative classroom ideas with Learn360

Technology is everywhere. Embrace your creativity with these innovative strategies and make the most of your Learn360 subscription. 

1. Classroom Timeline

What did you learn today? Any parent or teacher can tell you that this question is often met with a sigh, and then silence. We often remember the first day of school and the last, and in between is a blur of projects, field trips, and spirit days. This year, help your students (and yourself) keep track of all your amazing classroom learning by adding a class timeline to your classroom decor.

Start with some masking tape and create a long base for your timeline. I recommend displaying your timeline at your student’s eye level so that they can help maintain and add to the classroom timeline. 

During the first week of school, I always discuss with my students what they are looking forward to in the coming school year. Make sure to add students’ birthdays, holidays, and field trips to the class timeline to get it going. Then, at the end of each month, review all of the videos that were viewed and ask all the students to write down the most memorable Learn360 video and a quick synopsis of the video. (Note: The admin portal can be a helpful tool for collecting your usage data.)

Provide index cards for students to use, or have students type and print their summaries. Pull them out of a hat, or choose a student or several to update the class timeline. You can choose to tie the activity to students’ birthdays or student of the week, or keep the process randomized. 

Print out a video thumbnail from Learn360 to go with each chosen video summary, and task the students with presenting their learning to the class and adding it to the timeline. If you combine the Learn360 video with an activity, consider adding photos of the class as well. 

Example of a class poll—"Which sensory tool would be helpful at home?"

2. Class Poll

Giving students choices can motivate and inspire students to take ownership of their learning. One simple way to build choice into your classroom is to tie your class attendance with a class poll. Every morning as students walk in, have morning questions with two choices written on the class whiteboard. As students unpack, direct students to go up to the board and vote. Students can vote using tallies, magnets, or by writing their names by their choices. Remember to stagger student voting to avoid disruption. 

Incorporate Learn360 content by posing morning questions that incorporate Learn360 videos. For example, you might ask a roomful of second graders, “Would you rather watch Arthur or Odd Squad during indoor recess today?” After students vote, you can turn this data into an opportunity to explore data analysis. Launch a math lesson and explore bar graphs, addition, subtraction, and maybe even fractions. 

Likewise, during Women’s History Month, each morning you might ask a class of middle school learners, “Would you rather learn about Jane Goodall or Greta Thunberg?” After students vote, discuss the data. “14/24 people voted for Jane Goodall. Can we reduce that fraction?” 

Then start the day with a Learn360 video all about Jane Goodall and inspire your students to suggest women for the following day’s question. Watch as your students take ownership of their learning and expand their learning.

3. Incentive

As teachers, we always strive to foster an intrinsic love of learning in our students, but some days, incentives can go a long way in inspiring our students to be their best selves. Whether this is your first year teaching or your twentieth, you have surely experimented with a number of classroom management strategies. Consider adding one more strategy to your toolbox. At the beginning of the school day inform your students that you have planned a Learn360 video or activity for the day. Explain that, every time the class is 100% on task, you will put one letter on the board. For example, the letter “L” for “LEARN360.” I recommend selecting one student to walk around the class and confirm that 100% of the class is on task. If the class can earn all the characters for Learn360 by the time of the activity, then you will go to Learn360. Reminder: try not to erase letters along the way.

4. Guess the Country/Image

Remember how much fun it was to erase and write on the whiteboard as a kid? Every student loves the opportunity to lead the class and feel the thrill of writing in Expo. Leverage your students’ interest and build in some curiosity into the school day. 

At the end of the day, project an image, flag, or map from Learn360 on the board. Choose one student to trace the image on the board. Make sure the rest of the class is not present or not looking. You can have students turn their desks or close their eyes. I recommend using a Post-it Note anchor chart, so you can refer back to the countries or images.

In the morning, have students guess who or what the image is. Then watch a video to learn more about that topic. For extra excitement, consider using scented markers!

"Guess the Image" drawing of Greta Thunberg

5. Learn360 Bingo

At the beginning of each month, challenge your students to create a bingo board of Learn360 videos that fit your curriculum. I recommend directing your students to a certain theme that they would like to learn about, such as Women’s History Month. Set a timer and instruct students to write down the title and the producer. 

Collect all the bingo boards and keep a list of all of the videos your students requested. Throughout the month, pull a title from the list. Students can check off the video they requested from their board. Remember to celebrate when a student reaches BINGO!

Consider extending the lesson by having students present their learnings from the videos to another class. You might also consider gifting your bingo boards to other classrooms and/or rotating which classes create the boards. In no time at all, you could have bingo boards for every month!

What Is Learn360?

The ultimate streaming multimedia resource for the K–12 educational market, Learn360 is an easy-to-use media library that is correlated to standards, organized for educators, and full of K–12 content from the industry’s top producers. Learn360 gives teachers, students, and parents access to more than 191,500 media resources—videos, interactives, printables, audio content, and more—on any Internet-enabled device, anytime, anywhere.  

Learn360 also features 50 Topic Centers covering STEAM, literacy, social studies, and community building-related subjects that educators can use to construct a wide variety of lessons to support core curriculum areas and all of their students’ interests. Learn more here.

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