Stomp your Classes Up! 4 Simple Lessons from Stomp

This weekend I finally had some very pleasant hours with my kids, mom, sister and aunts watching Stomp. I was totally in awe with their vibrant beats made of very trivial materials, from brooms to match boxes. My oldest kid was totally glued to the amazing show, and my little one was focused at first, but then restless as always, as he doesn’t stop for a second. However, Stomp guys had such an ability that when I thought Caio wouldn’t be into the show anymore, the artists came up with something that would grab the 7-year-old’s attention.

Of course, the whole situation couldn’t let me stop thinking of the lessons of a presentation like that can teach us teachers:

  • There was no such a thing as predictability. When you thought you knew what was coming next, they would surprise us. So, surprise is certainly an element you want to use in your classroom to keep your students there with you, on task, interested, in awe. It is that feeling that keep us attentive for more than we could imagine it was possible to be focused. So many times we, teachers, forget this very simple rule…We become predictable in every class routine. The same old questions in the beginning of the class, the same steps…Boredom, then, is inevitable. Surprise, surprise, surprise is the antidote to boredom.
  • Even though we were the audience, the show was interactive. The guys involved us in their choreography by adding the beats we produced to what they were doing. In the classroom: don’t keep your students as mere spectators, they can do more than that and can even surprise you! Make it interactive, make it a conversational moment.Give space for connections in the classroom, not simply information pouring.
  • Rhythm and powerful beats are contagious. Add them to your classroom, find your teaching tone, and let your students create their own, as well. Fun and play is part of the learning process. Don’t forget that!
  • One very simple rule Stomp reminded me of. Learn when to leave the center stage, give room to your audience. Learn to add that element of “I want something more of that”. Find ways to make your students count the days, hours to be in class again. Not an easy task, but not impossible at all!

So, this is a simple call for all of us to surprise, play, share, and learn. Stomp your classes up! My question to you is: What are the small changes you could make right now to stomp it up?

9 Comments

  1. Julie Cunningham September 15, 2010 at 01:20 #

    Thanks for making me think! I’m pondering how I can “sage on the stage” less, and “Stomp” more. 😀

  2. Mrs. Tenkely September 16, 2010 at 01:19 #

    Aren’t we always looking at life through eyes of a teacher? This is an excellent reflection on what it means to be a teacher and a learner. Thanks for sharing and helping us think about these things we know with new understanding.

    My students did STOMP last year at the talent show, it was SO great!

  3. Carla Arena September 17, 2010 at 12:30 #

    Julie, I think there´s no formula, but one way is to let a bit more of control into the students´hands and not being afraid of dare a bit. Once you start there, you´ll be braver and braver and that will make a whole difference in the classroom.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Yes, Mrs. Tenkely, we always see things and connect them to our educational perspective. No way out! I´m glad the post helped you reflect a bit on teaching and learning.

  4. João Alves September 17, 2010 at 16:57 #

    I liked your post. You’re sooo right! Yet, it’s much easier to verbalize than to do. Anyway, thank you for making me think.
    To keep the students’ motivation high requires a lot of imagination that comes from the creativity and “savoir faire” of the teachers. However, sometimes it’s easier to do than we think. Often changing just a tiny bit of the our routine is enough to stomp up the class.
    At the moment I’m using the interactive whiteboard to teach some points of the lesson plan and it has turned out to be a great tool to change entrenched teaching habits.

  5. Carla Arena September 17, 2010 at 20:13 #

    True, João, it is much easier said than done. However, as you mentioned, with a very simple twist in our classes we can change “our entrenched teaching habits”. I´ll try to post here some practical ideas that I´ve seen around and are just wonderful examples, and I´d surely love to see other teachers´ examples, as well.

    Maybe you could share with us some ideas for the whiteboard. We use it here with our students, as well.

  6. K. Onarheim September 17, 2010 at 23:20 #

    Thank you for the thoughts and post. So true. You captured how we need to be the learner in the lead.

  7. Carla Arena September 20, 2010 at 11:57 #

    Dear Kathy, that´s what we´re always talking about, but sometimes they are just nice words. Stomp makes things more concrete, and soon I´ll post some ideas on the little shifts we can make in the classroom.

  8. Cleide Nascimento October 12, 2010 at 23:58 #

    Made me think about it. We really take it for granted sometimes.

  9. Carla Arena October 14, 2010 at 01:47 #

    So, Cleide, what do you do to stomp up your classes? And I know you do it!

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