I am sure many teachers have some boring topics that have to be taught, but they know the kids are off thinking about something else when they are trying to teach it. Well we also know if you use what the kids are interested in and using daily, they will get involved and the information will stick. The results can be very surprising!
Before reading a piece of classic literature, I always like to give background on the author. Before reading “The Tell-Tale Heart” I do a small lesson on the back ground of Edgar Allan Poe that details his tragic life and times. My goal is for the students to tie the author’s personal experiences to the literary term “author’s purpose”, but I didn’t know of a great way to do this. Usually, I would copy off a page of information about the author, we would read it together, and that was that. Students would wander during the reading and zone out, not interested at all in the boring piece I had revamped from the encyclopedia or photo-copied out of our literature book. The students were not retaining and certainly not caring about the author’s background.