Students often don’t see the value in what we teach. “When am I ever going to use this?” they’ll ask. A simple example is spelling. Not that I’m a fan of making elementary students copy spelling words over and over again (a ridiculous waste of time), but understanding something like pronouns and contractions, for example, certainly has a place in education.
Sadly, all too often, teachers fail to relate what seems to be insignificant to real life.
Making the connection
Sometimes convincing students that something seemingly mundane is important comes in a real-life connection. Consider the above image, for example.
Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words — even when it’s only three!
Share this picture with your students. Begin by asking what is wrong? Some students will figure it out immediately. “The contraction should be the possessive pronoun ‘your’,” the excellent reader and grammarian will announce. Still, many will scratch their heads, failing to see the problem.
Not only does the picture help teachers explain the homophones, it provides a wonderful real-life teachable moment.
“Remember, class, if you don’t know the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your,’ stay away from the tattoo artist.”
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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series
, The uNseries
, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter