Teaching Strategies, Tactics, and Methods

Amp Up Your Lessons With a Cross-Curricular Project About Music

Music has always been an integral part of human culture, transcending borders and connecting people from diverse backgrounds. It not only promotes mental and emotional well-being but also acts as a powerful pedagogical tool to enhance learning experiences in the classroom. One such way to harness the potential of music in education is by incorporating a cross-curricular project focused on music. This article will explore the benefits and methods of incorporating music into various subjects, ultimately amping up your lessons and enriching students’ learning experiences.

The Benefits of Cross-Curricular Music Projects

1. Enhancing Creativity and Brain Development:

Research has shown that learning music can improve cognitive functions, memory, and creativity in students. By incorporating music into other subjects, teachers can tap into this creative potential and stimulate multiple areas of the brain simultaneously, fostering well-rounded development.

2. Encouraging Active Learning:

Engagement is vital for effective learning, and what better way to engage students than through activities that involve music? Cross-curricular projects focused on music can make learning more dynamic and enjoyable while prompting students to actively participate in their own education.

3. Promoting Cultural Awareness:

Music is an excellent vehicle for exploring world cultures, history, languages, and traditions. Integrating it into various subjects can help students appreciate the richness and diversity of different societies around the globe while also promoting inclusivity within the classroom.

4. Strengthening Emotional Development:

Music has always been linked with emotions, enabling individuals to express themselves when words cannot suffice. By incorporating music across the curriculum, educators can provide a safe space for students to express their feelings and explore their emotions freely.

Incorporating Music Into Cross-Curricular Projects

1. History: Music has played a role in many historical events. Teach your students about various historical periods or events through their respective musical genres or compositions. This can include studying how music influenced social movements or how certain composers impacted their society.

2. Language Arts: From poetry to novels, literature is filled with musical connections. Have your students analyze literary works through the lens of music, exploring rhythm, tone, and symbolism. Encourage them to create their own stories and poems centered around musical themes, lyrics, or composers.

3. Mathematics: Teach mathematical concepts through the natural patterns found in music. Help students explore topics such as frequency, ratios, and wavelengths by using sound-based examples and activities. Additionally, students can learn about basic note values and rhythmic patterns to understand fractions and other mathematical concepts.

4. Science: Discover sound waves and the science behind the production of musical sounds through hands-on experiments in acoustics or physics. Students can delve into concepts such as resonance, vibrations, wavelength, frequency, and pitch while learning about the scientific foundations of their favorite tunes.

5. Visual Arts: Explore the intersection of visual arts and music by encouraging students to create artwork inspired by music from various cultures or styles. Effects of color on emotion can be studied by analyzing famous album covers or having students design their own based on specific emotions evoked by a piece of music.

6. Physical Education: Get students moving by incorporating dance or movements related to diverse forms of music from around the world. Build in opportunities for teamwork and coordination as students learn cultural dances in pairs or groups.

In conclusion, cross-curricular projects about music can enliven lessons across a range of subjects while fostering creativity, active learning, cultural awareness, and emotional development in students. By integrating this art form into multiple areas of the curriculum, educators can reshape learning experiences—and who knows? They might just unlock hidden musical talents along the way!

6 Ways to Sneak Vocabulary Instruction Into High School English

Teaching high school English can be a challenging task when it comes to vocabulary instruction. With students coming from different backgrounds and varying degrees of language proficiency, vocabulary lessons can sometimes seem tedious or even overwhelming. By integrating vocabulary instruction into everyday classroom activities, you can make learning new words more engaging and enjoyable for your students. Here are six ways to sneak vocabulary instruction into high school English lessons:

1. Word of the Day

Begin every class with the introduction of a new word. This could be a word that relates to the current lesson or something entirely different that sparks curiosity. Encourage the students to use this word throughout the day in various class discussions or written assignments to help them recall and retain its meaning.

2. Reading Assignments

Incorporate vocabulary-rich texts into reading assignments and have students identify and define unfamiliar words they encounter as they read. By discovering new words in context, they are more likely to remember their meanings and apply them in future discussions or assignments.

3. Group Activities

Engage students in group activities that require vocabulary usage and discussion. For example, you could have students work together to create word webs where each group is assigned a central concept related to the current topic, and they must brainstorm related words and their meanings.

4. Creative Writing Prompts

Provide writing prompts that encourage the use of newly acquired vocabulary. For instance, assign an essay topic where specific vocabulary words must be used or challenge students to write a short story incorporating a list of new words.

5. Vocabulary Games

Introduce games like Boggle, Scrabble, or Taboo into the classroom as a fun way for students to practice their vocabulary skills during breaks or unstructured times. Providing an enjoyable way to practice their English skills may motivate them to put forth more effort when it comes to learning new words.

6. Revising Old Work

As part of a writing review process, have students revisit their old essays or written assignments and identify ways to incorporate the new vocabulary they’ve learned. Evaluating their writing progress can help them see how expanding their vocabulary has improved their overall communication skills.

In conclusion, sneaking vocabulary instruction into high school English lessons doesn’t have to be dull or repetitive. By integrating vocab learning into various classroom activities, students are far more likely to retain and apply new words effectively. These six strategies can help make teaching vocabulary a more enjoyable and productive process for both you and your students.

Gaming in the Classroom as a Learning Tool, Not a Distraction


In recent years, video games have evolved into something more than just entertainment. As educators continue to explore new teaching methods to engage their students, gaming has emerged as a promising tool to enhance learning experiences in the classroom. This article will discuss how gaming can be utilized as an effective learning tool rather than being seen as a distraction.

Benefits of Gaming in the Classroom:

1. Encouraging collaboration and teamwork: Many video games require players to work together to solve problems and complete objectives. When used in the classroom, such games can encourage students to collaborate, communicate effectively, and develop their team-building skills.

2. Increasing motivation and engagement: Integrating gaming elements into curriculums can make learning more engaging for students. Games not only entertain but also instill a sense of competition, inspiring students to push themselves and gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

3. Developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills: Gaming often involves complex problem-solving scenarios that require players to develop innovative solutions. By incorporating these aspects into educational games, educators can help students hone their critical thinking abilities.

4. Enhancing digital literacy: In today’s tech-driven world, it is essential for students to possess digital skills and knowledge. Interactive gaming applications can play a pivotal role in improving their digital literacy by familiarizing them with various software programs and platforms.

5. Differentiating instruction: Every student learns differently, yet traditional approaches often leave little room for individualization. Gaming allows teachers to tailor learning experiences according to each student’s unique abilities and interests by offering various levels of complexity or modifying game mechanics.

Best Practices to Include Gaming Successfully:

1. Choose age-appropriate and relevant games: To ensure games are effective teaching tools, teachers should select age-appropriate content that aligns with learning objectives and classroom topics.

2. Provide clear instructions and guidelines: Establishing rules and expectations beforehand can aid in managing the classroom and prevent gaming from becoming a distraction.

3. Encourage reflection and discussion: After playing educational games, ask students to reflect on their experiences, synthesize their learnings, and discuss how these relate to the subject matter. This practice can reinforce learnings and enhance understanding.

4. Monitor students’ progress: Keep track of students’ achievements and challenges to provide guidance, support, and targeted feedback. Continuous monitoring can also allow educators to evaluate the effectiveness of using games as learning tools.


Gaming in the classroom holds immense potential when thoughtfully integrated into the learning environment. By incorporating gaming as a supplementary teaching method and promoting an engaging learning experience, educators can unlock students’ untapped potential and foster a more inclusive education system. It’s time to see gaming not as a distraction but rather a powerful tool for fostering motivation and academic success in classrooms worldwide.

High School Teachers, Try This! “Students Do the Teaching” Unit Plan

As a high school teacher, finding innovative ways to engage students and facilitate their learning journey is an ongoing quest. The classroom dynamic can be significantly transformed when students are given the opportunity to take control of their own learning process. One way to achieve this is through a “Students Do the Teaching” unit plan. This approach has been proven to not only foster student cooperation but also develop crucial skills in communication, leadership, and problem-solving.

1. Choose a topic or unit of study: Select a subject or theme that lends itself to diverse perspectives and interpretation. For example, you can choose a social issue, historical event, or scientific phenomenon that will allow students to delve deeper into their understanding while teaching others.

2. Divide your class into groups: Assign each group an aspect of the topic or unit to research, discuss, and present to the class. Develop guidelines for the groups’ presentation outlines, making certain they address essential points relevant to their subject matter.

3. Establish group roles: In each group assign member roles including researcher, content curator, facilitator, and presenter. Encourage students to take on different roles in subsequent projects so that they experience varying responsibilities.

4. Encourage collaboration: Provide ample time for students to collaborate both in-class and after school hours, thereby fostering camaraderie and teamwork.

5. Offer mentorship: As the teacher, maintain your role as a mentor and overseer throughout the process. Offer guidance on research methods, group discussions facilitation techniques or presentation best practices as needed.

6. Monitor progress: Periodically assess the progress of each group’s research and preparation for their presentation day. Offer feedback on how they can improve upon their current process or enhance their content.

7. Host presentation days: Once the groups are ready, allot a day for each group to present their researched topic to the class. Encourage students not presenting to participate actively by asking questions and providing constructive feedback.

8. Debrief and reflect: After all presentations are complete, lead a debriefing session where students and teachers reflect on their learning experiences. Discuss challenges faced and celebrate achievements it provides insight into what worked and what can be improved in future iterations.

9. Assess and evaluate: Implement a peer-review system for students to evaluate the presentations while also offering your teacher’s perspective on content quality, presentation skills, and teamwork abilities.

A “Students Do the Teaching” unit plan has the potential to empower high school students by giving them an opportunity to drive their learning experience. This approach will not only create an exciting classroom environment but will also inspire students to be more invested in their own education journey.

Why Compassion (and Stories) Trumps Current Events in the Classroom


Compassion and stories have continuously played a pivotal role in human society. In contemporary education, they have been recognized as vital components for nurturing emotional intelligence and fostering connection, particularly within classroom settings. While current events certainly hold educational importance, there are many reasons compassion and stories triumph as essential teaching tools in the modern classroom.

1. Empathy-Building

Compassion involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. By incorporating compassion into classroom activities and discussions, teachers can help students learn how to recognize and empathize with the emotions of their peers. This promotes emotional intelligence, social bonding, and cooperation among students. When students are more understanding of their classmates’ feelings and experiences, the learning environment becomes more harmonious and inclusive.

2. Improved Communication Skills

Stories are powerful tools in developing a student’s communication and listening skills. By using narratives to convey complex ideas or issues, teachers can better engage students’ attention and facilitate learning. Whether through personal anecdotes or fictional tales, stories not only offer clarity but also help exercise the imagination, encouraging students to think critically about topics in inventive ways.

3. Connection Across Cultures

Compassionate storytelling can forge connections across geographic, cultural, and linguistic barriers within diverse classrooms. As stories often highlight shared human experiences such as love, loss, fear, or joy – they can serve as bridges between different backgrounds by generating empathy for others’ perspectives. This renders the classroom an ideal platform for building social cohesion among diverse student populations.

4. Overcoming Stereotypes

Educating students on current events and global affairs is undoubtedly important; however, focusing solely on news headlines often imposes biases and reinforces stereotypes that can further divide people rather than bring them together. By integrating compassionate storytelling into education, teachers facilitate introspection and create opportunities for students to challenge assumptions about themselves or others while nurturing tolerance, understanding, and respect for differences.

5. Fostering Emotional Wellness

When teachers use stories to explore emotionally-laden topics or difficult experiences, they create safe spaces for students to discuss their own feelings and emotions. This allows for personal growth, as well as therapeutic benefits for students who may need additional support. With emotional wellness being increasingly recognized as crucial to overall academic success, it is essential that compassion takes center stage in the classroom.


While current events provide valuable learning opportunities regarding global affairs and societal issues, compassion and stories have an irreplaceable role within the classroom. By incorporating these elements into regular educational practices, teachers create environments that not only foster academic growth but also nurture emotional intelligence and understanding among students. In so doing, they contribute to shaping empathetic and culturally-conscious individuals who are prepared to transcend societal divisions and tackle collective challenges.

Flashcard Game Grades 3-5


Flashcards have been a tried-and-true learning tool for generations. The simple act of flipping through cards with a question or term on one side and the answer on the reverse can help reinforce memory, boost comprehension, and introduce new concepts. For students in grades 3-5, flashcard games can provide a fun and engaging way to master essential skills and knowledge. In this article, we will explore the benefits of flashcard games for these young learners.

Why Flashcards Work

Flashcards tap into two cognitive processes crucial for learning: active recall and spaced repetition. Active recall refers to the process of extracting information from our memory. When students see a question or term on a flashcard, they must actively retrieve the answer from their memory bank. This act strengthens their neural connections to the information, making it easier for them to remember in the future.

Spaced repetition involves reviewing information at increasing intervals. By seeing the same information repeatedly over time, our brains solidify this knowledge in long-term memory. Flashcards are naturally conducive to spaced repetition since they can be easily shuffled and flipped through at varying frequencies.

Benefits of Flashcard Games for Grades 3-5

1. Retention of Information: As mentioned earlier, flashcards tap into active recall and spaced repetition processes that help learners retain knowledge more effectively than passive reading or note-taking.

2. Engagement and Motivation: Turning the task of studying flashcards into a game increases student motivation by making learning more enjoyable. When students are emotionally engaged in an activity, they are more likely to invest time and effort in mastering the content.

3. Customization: Flashcard games can be easily tailored to any subject area, providing endless opportunities for teachers to incorporate them into their lesson plans or parents to use them as a supplementary teaching tool at home.

4. Collaboration: Many flashcard games involve group play, which fosters teamwork and social skills among students. Working together to find answers or compete against one another promotes healthy competition and helps children learn from their peers.

5. Self-Paced Learning: Flashcard games allow students to work through the content at their own speed, ensuring that they develop a solid understanding before moving on to more challenging material.

Popular Flashcard Game Ideas for Grades 3-5

1. Memory Match: Students lay all of the cards face-down and take turns flipping over two cards at a time in an attempt to find matching pairs. This game aids in both memory and concentration.

2. Around the World: In this game, students stand in a circle with one student at the center holding a stack of flashcards. The center student shows a flashcard to the person on their right, who must answer correctly to move into the center (and claim the current center student’s spot). Play continues around the circle until every student has had a chance to answer a question.

3. Pictionary or Charades: Students take turns acting out or drawing terms from the flashcards while their team tries to guess the term within an allotted time.


Flashcard games for grades 3-5 offer an engaging and effective way to enhance learning experiences for young students. By tapping into cognitive processes like active recall and spaced repetition, flashcard games boost retention of information and foster essential skills like collaboration, motivation, and self-paced learning. Teachers and parents alike can benefit from incorporating these adaptable activities into their educational toolkit for students in grades 3-5.

Why This Teacher Gave Up Work-Life Balance


Work-life balance has been a hot topic of debate for decades, as professionals juggle their jobs’ demands with their personal lives’ responsibilities. The dichotomy between work and life has long been seen as something to strive for, but an educator’s recent decision to give up on work-life balance offers a new perspective on this delicate balancing act.

 Meet the Teacher: Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith is a dedicated and passionate teacher with ten years of experience in the education field. She has poured her heart and soul into her job, fostering an excellent relationship with her students while enriching their lives with knowledge. Over the years, Jennifer began feeling the pressure to maintain a “perfect” work-life balance.

The Turning Point

The tipping point came after one particularly exhausting day when Jennifer found herself questioning her efforts to strike the right balance between work and life. She had come home late from preparing her classroom for an upcoming event, only to spend a sleepless night worrying about some of her struggling students.

Jennifer realized that there was no such thing as perfect work-life balance⁠—that in trying to maintain it, she inadvertently neglected what truly mattered. It dawned on her that both aspects of her life were interwoven, and could not be separated.

A New Approach: Work-Life Integration

Instead of continuing down the path of compartmentalizing work and personal life, Jennifer decided it was time to integrate the two more seamlessly. She began by accepting that her career as an educator was not simply a job but an essential part of her identity – one she need not put aside when she crossed the threshold of her home.

Jennifer started prioritizing which aspects of her career required urgent attention over others while still making time for herself and being more present with friends and family. She opened up conversations about work with her loved ones, allowing them a deeper understanding of the classroom, her students, and the daily challenges she faced.

The Outcome

Jennifer’s newfound approach to work-life integration has rejuvenated her love for teaching. Embracing the idea that work and life are not separate entities but integral parts of a whole has allowed her to live more authentically and find greater satisfaction in both realms.


In an era where we are bombarded with tips and strategies for achieving work-life balance, Jennifer Smith’s story serves as a reminder that our reality is more complex and nuanced than can be captured in a neat binary. By giving up work-life balance and embracing work-life integration, Jennifer became a better teacher and rediscovered the passion she once held so dearly for the profession that shaped her life.

5 Ways Teachers Can Make It Through the Third-Quarter Struggle

The third quarter can often be a challenging time for teachers, as students tend to lose their focus and motivation from the beginning of the year. This period, also known as the “third-quarter struggle,” can result in a decrease in engagement, productivity, and overall learning outcomes.

To help teachers navigate this phase successfully, here are five strategies they can adopt to maintain momentum and keep their students engaged:

1. Reevaluate and Adjust Goals:

During the third quarter, take some time to review the goals you set at the beginning of the school year and determine if they still hold true for your students’ learning needs. Adjust your objectives accordingly to ensure they align with where your students are currently. This realignment will provide a strong sense of purpose and direction moving forward.

2. Incorporate Interactive Activities:

To combat waning interest among students, integrate interactive activities into your lesson plans that promote collaboration and critical thinking. Hands-on learning opportunities like group projects, debates, or scavenger hunts can revitalize student engagement as well as develop essential life skills such as teamwork and problem solving.

3. Maintain High Expectations:

Even during times when students may seem less motivated, it’s important for teachers to maintain high expectations regarding their performance and behavior. By holding all students accountable for delivering their best work, teachers reinforce a culture of excellence that motivates learners to push themselves beyond their comfort zones.

4. Introduce New Learning Strategies:

Mixing up teaching methods by introducing new strategies can help reduce monotony and reinvigorate student interest in your subject matter. Whether you incorporate technology into your lessons, implement flipped classroom techniques or blend different pedagogical approaches based on individual student needs, taking a fresh approach can make your content more engaging for learners.

5. Nurture Relationships With Your Students:

The third-quarter slump is an ideal time for teachers to strengthen connections with their students. By getting to know your learners on a more personal level, you can better understand their individual needs, struggles, and motivations to tailor your teaching practices accordingly. Committing extra time to providing meaningful feedback, hosting one-on-one meetings, or connecting through a shared interest can go a long way in building trust and rapport with your students.

By adopting these five strategies, teachers can power through the third-quarter struggle while keeping their learners on track for academic success. Remember that maintaining a positive mindset and staying proactive in addressing student engagement challenges are essential for overcoming this annual hurdle.

Project-Based Learning Transforms Classroom Dynamics


In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, educators are embracing new approaches to teaching that cater to diverse learners. One such innovative approach gaining traction is project-based learning (PBL). This article highlights the transformative impact of PBL on classroom dynamics and student outcomes at Lincoln Elementary School.

The Beginning of PBL in Lincoln Elementary:

Mrs. Johnson, a dedicated sixth-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, wanted to reinvigorate her teaching methods to better engage with her students. After attending a conference on modern pedagogy, she incorporated project-based learning into her curriculum and observed how it transformed her classroom dynamics.

Collaboration and Communication:

Before PBL was implemented in Mrs. Johnson’s class, students followed traditional lecture-based instruction. However, this approach often left many of her students unengaged and disinterested. With the introduction of PBL, students worked together in groups on real-world projects related to their curriculum.

As they collaborated and communicated with one another during these projects, the classroom environment became more interactive and dynamic. Students were encouraged to share ideas freely and engage in constructive debates while refining their projects. This enhanced communication led to improved relationships between students themselves and between students and the teacher.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:

PBL required students to actively engage with unfamiliar challenges posed by real-world situations as they completed their projects. This required them to analyze information from diverse sources and apply skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. As a result, Lincoln Elementary school saw an increase in students’ fluency in complex topics such as climate change, social justice issues, and local community development.

Ownership of Learning:

Project-based learning empowers students to take charge of their learning journey by allowing them control it at their own pace. In Mrs. Johnson’s classroom, each student-led project provided opportunities for individual growth tailored to their unique needs and interests.

Improved Academic Performance:

Mrs. Johnson observed a noticeable improvement in her students’ academic achievement as a result of implementing PBL. Students scored higher on tests, displayed better retention of material, and developed stronger foundational skills across multiple subject areas. By giving students a sense of ownership over their own learning, they became more invested in their academic success.


Project-based learning transformed the classroom environment at Lincoln Elementary School, promoting healthy collaboration amongst students while cultivating vital skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. The positive impact PBL had on student engagement and academic performance made it an ideal approach to modern education. Mrs. Johnson’s successful adaptation of PBL within her classroom serves as an inspiration to educators seeking to embrace similar innovative teaching methods.

14 Times it’s OK to Ditch Your Classroom Lesson Plans


As a teacher, it’s essential to have a well-prepared lesson plan to guide you through each day. However, there are instances when it might be better to ditch the preset lessons in favor of something more flexible and adaptable. Here are 14 occasions when you should consider going off-script to create a more engaging and effective classroom experience.

1. Current Events: If a significant event occurs that is relevant to your subject or students’ lives, it’s an excellent opportunity for meaningful discussion, allowing students to relate their learning to the real world.

2. Teachable Moments: When students show an unexpected interest in a topic or ask thought-provoking questions, seize the moment by delving deeper into the subject.

3. Student Struggles: If students are struggling with a particular concept, take a step back and revisit previous lessons as needed, giving them time to grasp the material before moving on.

4. Assessing Understanding: Breaking away from the lesson plan to gauge student comprehension can provide valuable insight into how effectively your teaching methods are working.

5. Classroom Dynamics: If group work or paired activities seem more appropriate and effective for discussing concepts or reinforcing learning, take advantage of this opportunity for collaborative learning.

6. Upcoming School Events: Incorporating school events such as assemblies or field trips into your lesson plans helps your students establish connections between their in-class and out-of-class experiences.

7. Addressing Misconceptions: If students demonstrate confusion about crucial concepts during class time, pause the planned lessons and seek clarification before proceeding further.

8. Behavioral Concerns: Sometimes, addressing any disciplinary issues promptly is more important than sticking to the lesson plan, ensuring everyone has a conducive learning environment.

9. Expanding Cultural Awareness: When opportunities present themselves for exploring different cultures and perspectives, seize them to foster empathy and understanding among students.

10. Student-Driven Inquiry: If students come to class with their own questions and ideas, embracing curiosity and exploration can create a more engaging learning environment.

11. Personalizing Instruction: Tailoring lessons to different students’ needs at times is crucial to meeting them where they are in their learning journey.

12. Further Development of Skills: Reallocating time from the lesson plan to allow students to practice and refine newly acquired skills can prove beneficial for mastery and retention.

13. Reflecting on Learning: In some cases, dedicating time to self-assessment and reflection can give students better insight into how they learn and grow as individuals.

14. Building Community in the Classroom: Emphasizing teamwork and cooperation by incorporating cooperative group activities can go a long way in fostering a sense of belonging among your students, which subsequently improves academic performance.


While sticking to lesson plans is critical for a well-structured classroom, there are moments when flexibility is the key to creating an engaging, dynamic, and student-centered learning environment. Embrace these opportunities and trust your professional judgement to make informed decisions that benefit your students.