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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and author of Meditation in the College Classroom: A Pedagogical Tool to Help Students De-Stress, Focus,...
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Make Your Lessons Glow

Youve heard of glow-in-the-dark clothes~ toys~ maybe jewelry.

How about glow-in-the-dark math?

Thats right. Word problems that shine in fluorescent colors when you turn the room black.

I want to share with you an exciting lesson that involves using glow- in- the-dark paint to make any subject shine.

First~ you need to get some glow-in-the-dark~ watercolor~ stain-free paint in various colors (you can find it at WalMart and other stores that sell arts and crafts). You will also need paint brushes~ cups for water~ smocks and lots of black bulletin board paper.

Next~ you want to cover all the windows of the classroom. The goal is to make the room completely black; otherwise~ the glow-in-the-dark paint wont work. This can be a challenge; however~ I accomplished the goal by first covering the windows with several sheets of black bulletin board paper then hanging bed sheets over the windows.

You could also try painting the windows with a washable paint~ but Im not sure how well that would go over with your schools principal or custodians.

Third~ you want to cover the tables or desks with a few sheets of black bulletin board paper~ which serves as the students canvas. Once a student fills up one sheet~ they simply tear it off and use the sheet underneath. Also~ its important to paint on a black canvas so the paint will really glow when its dark.

Have students bring a baggy~ old T-shirt to class that day so they can wear it over their regular clothes or uniform. You can also have them wear smocks.

In regard to academics~ this project works better as a review~ not a first-time introduction to a lesson since the students will be very excited and probably distracted by the glowing paint. I had classes paint science concepts~ such as the layers of the earth or ocean. You can also have students work out math problems by having them paint visual aids and models. They could also write stories~ or summarize passages~ using symbols or pictures. To review social studies~ they could paint pictures of famous buildings or events.

Finally~ to add to the mood~ you can play some classical music in the background as the young artists work or maybe a song such as Firework by Katy Perry to create excitement.

Adding a little paint~ music and lighting (or lack of) to your lesson can help make it come alive and give your students a memory for years to come. To discuss this lesson or ask questions~ please visit the Innovative Teaching group athttp://community.educationworld.comcontent/innovative-teaching

Have a blessed day~