I teach by day and work with toys by night. If that opening did not give you a hint, yes I am a comic book fan. I’m always trying to figure out a way to bring that out in my teaching, whether is setting up my desk at work with fun action figures, or trying to work video games into a lesson plan, my most effective work usually has a part of me in it.I recently did an after school program and saw that discussing a map that was almost 200 years old to a group of fourth graders was going south quickly. I had no clue how to relate the topic to the kids, then it hit me! I have been playing Call of Duty for the past few weeks, and every almost every game has a map feature. In fact, every video game today is based on maps that the creators use to plan out the games. Whether it’s a complex game like Batman: Arkham City or a simple one like Flappy Bird, they all have maps.
I asked or questioned the students to the students,“Ever play a game where you have to look at the top of the screen to see the little box, telling you where you are?” They all chuckled and said, “You mean like in Call of Duty?” I know they should not be playing this game, but they all had tried it and were instantly engaged in the conversation. What was going to be a long boring 90 minutes for them and me, turned into a fun time talking about how to use and read maps.
I always have to find that hook to relate the topics to the kids. Sometimes I find it right away, and sometimes it takes a while, but in the end I usually get inspiration from the toys on my desk to the video games I play.