27 Ways to Add Teachable Moments to Your Lessons

There are so many unexpected learning opportunities!

27 Ways to Add A Teachable Moment to Your Lessons

Finding real-world opportunities for extra learning, or a “teachable moment,” can really help lessons stick for students. Whether the lesson is about being a good person, understanding an important math concept, or focusing in on science, creating unique teaching moments for students will always help maximize your lesson. We looked for teachers on Instagram who were sharing their #TeachableMoments with others, and then gathered our favorites here. We hope they inspire you.

1. Add other languages to your school.

Adding numbers in several languages can help your students be more aware of the world outside of their everyday life and passively gain some linguistic proficiency.

#TeachableMoment ?

A post shared by Rayna Elyse (@raynaelyse) on

 

2. Create a teachable moment from a fire drill.

When this teacher had to interrupt her day with a fire drill, she used the opportunity to teach about shadows!

 

3. Talk about what’s happening in the news.

They used the recent hurricanes as an opportunity to learn and present to their classmates.

 

4. Update your school signage.

Look at the signage at your school. Does it need to be updated? Changing simple messaging can really make a difference and a great teachable moment.

 

5. Break gender stereotypes.

Interrupting students when they reinforce gender stereotypes can impact them for a lifetime. Send a clear message that students are capable of doing anything that interests them, regardless of stereotypes.

 

6. Fill your classroom with diverse books.

Providing kids with a range of reading materials that broadens their world view can help them grow as people.

This book has me in a puddle of tears. It's part of the Wonder books. It's called We're all Wonders. It has such a beautiful message. After Kaylynn read it to us the kiddos and I discussed what the author was trying to get across. We talked about differences people may have. Weather it's physical, mental, gender, race or religion. We talked about how just because someone is different doesn't make them any less than anyone else. They told me about a basketball ball player that didn't have any arms and what a great player he is. My kids have so much love and compassion in them. They don't see people's differences, they see opportunities for a new friend. It's one of my favorite things about them. They are good little souls. I put the book Wonder on hold at the library. It's going to be a book the 3 of us read together and I can't wait. #wereallwonders #book #teachablemoment #lookwithkindness #rjpalacio #wonder #differentisbeauitful

A post shared by Mary ✌♓??? ??? (@bookworm_mary) on

 

7. Explore with every day devices.

Microwaves are everywhere and an easy way to add a teaching moment. They can help students learn about time.

 

8. Learn from the pros.

Students need to see and learn how things work in the real world. If you can take a field trip, do it. If not, create a teachable moment and bring in an expert to talk to your class about what they do.

 

9. Talk about history.

You can use history and art to create memorable lessons with your students.

 

10. Have fun in science class.

These are water beads, and they’re so much fun to watch grow. They make a great STEM teaching lesson.

 

11. Add in some board games.

Sometimes a simple board game can make a perfect classroom lesson.

Labour day fun! #teachablemoments #life #Iamadoctor #wenttocollege

A post shared by Val Oriet (@voriet) on

 

12. Learn outside.

If it’s a nice day, take in some sunshine and learn. Leaving the classroom presents many unique opportunities to add a teachable moment to your students’ day.

Tree ID – must be a red pine! #outdoorclassroom #isd94

A post shared by Mr. Winbigler (@winbiglerscience) on

 

13. Use anchor charts to reinforce lessons.

If you’re teaching a concept like on owls, be sure to use multiple sources, and then get your students involved in key takeaways with an anchor chart.

#owls #classroomlessons #smartkids #atwccdowney

A post shared by DTSS (@dtss562) on

 

14. Leave answers up for interpretation.

Some of the best lessons come when students think of the answers themselves. This speech-language pathologist has a great example of encouraging her students to be creative.

 

15. Turn measuring into a fun moving activity.

Take a lesson from this teacher and turn an ordinary lesson on measuring into a fun activity where students are moving around.

 

16. Use treats as teaching incentives.

Reserve this trick for really special occasions, but it’s a great way to reinforce concepts, especially for little minds.

 

17. Turn a negative into a positive.

It’s all about perspective, and we love what students created from this wall of graffiti. They learned art, and had a teaching moment about positivity.

 

18. Use the resources around you.

You can use something as simple as corn on the cob to teach a lesson, like these second grade students.

 

 

19. Your classroom floor can teach lessons.

Marking the floor around a door can make angles more relatable.

#teachablemoments

A post shared by Jeff O'Shields (@mroshields) on

 

20. Solve problems together.

You can double the lesson students learn by having them do hands-on work together.

 

21. Develop multiple skills at the same time.

Passively teaching young students motor skills while learning to count is a great way to change things up, and it’s a great way to appeal to a wider range of learning styles.

 

22. Be open to changing plans (embrace the chaos).

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but embracing the chaos (or the mushrooms, in this case) can be an opportunity for everyone to grow and explore a topic you hadn’t planned to teach.

 

23. Use interactive bulletin boards.

We know teachers offer a lot more than proficiency on tests. Borrow from your college dorm and create interactive bulletin boards that add teachable moments by helping students learn more about themselves.

After School project brought to you by the Zones of Regulation! If y'all haven't heard of this self-regulation program I urge you to check it out! The four different colours represent zones of feelings. Blue = slow/sadness types of behaviours, Green = just right behaviours (best zone to be in for optimal learning), yellow = busy type behaviours, red = out of control/aggressive type behaviour. I listed picture headings with feelings to help students identify with which zone they are feeling. Below that is coping strategies to help students move/stay in the green zone. The little white rectangles are magnetic name plates that I labeled with each of my students names. Students pick the zone they feel they belong to and place their name magnet on to the sign in the zone they are feeling. It's a truly amazing program, help students to learn and feel better about themselves. I'm also currently studying for an after degree in psychology which also coincides with my education back ground on the effectiveness of teaching students to self regulate their behaviour. 11/10 would recommend this program. ?? #teachersofinsta #teachersfollowteachers #selfcarematters #healtheducation #mentalhealthmatters #zonesofregulation #teachablemoments #insideout #mindfulness #fitteacher #psychology #educationalpsychology

A post shared by Miss.W ?? B.ED & B.A Psych (@a.teaching.journey) on

 

24. Leverage failure into a lesson.

Sometimes students don’t successfully complete group projects – large or small. Offering them a chance to reflect can help your students build teamwork and problem-solving skills. It will be so helpful on the next project.

 

25. Use decorations to your advantage.

Supplementing your lesson plans with opportunities to interact with the material throughout the day can help students retain information.

 

26. Use pop culture in the classroom.

There’s no denying that most students are tapped into pop culture. Embrace pop culture in the classroom. It can help students relate to the material more easily.

 

27. Add labels to common objects.

Whether you’re teaching a foreign language or practicing vocabulary in your students’ primary language, seeing words paired with the objects they describe can make all the difference and turn a simple act into a teachable moment.

 

Posted by Kirstin Kelley

Kirstin Kelley is a residence life professional at Green Mountain College in Vermont. When not cavorting with college students, she is a freelance writer and works with the local Upward Bound program to ensure future success in higher ed.

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