It is the weekend of the big game, and its finally here! The entire season has been leading up to this point. All of those long hours watching the preseason, regular season, and playoffs will finally going pay off with the big game. All of the analyzing, preparation, and reflecting is over. The time is now, this is the weekend!
Just like football fans look forward to the big game each and every season, we, as teachers, can build to that same crescendo each year in our classroom.
The crescendo that we build to can take on many different forms in our individual classrooms. The big idea is that we have individual lessons sprinkled throughout the school year that our curriculum builds to in order to reach a climax.
Much like a good book, students love the anticipation of a good story arc. A story arc in which you have plenty of groundwork and anticipation leading to an unbelievable resolution. Subject areas in which this can be successfully done are subjects like history, science, God’s Word, Reading, and more.
A wise teacher once stated, “If students had a choice to sit in my classroom, would they?” While the goal of education isn’t entertainment, our goal should be excitement and passion for learning. At the end of the day, don’t we want students to be passionate about what they are learning? While each and every goal can’t always be successful, our overall goal remains.
Last school year we spent six months learning about ancient Rome. I realize this is not possible for every school. As a history teacher, I love being able to dig miles deep into a topic rather than just scratching the surface.
For months we studied the ascension and rule of Julius Caesar. We witnessed him transform into a powerful, ruthless leader. We watched him overcome unbelievable odds to pull victory from the hands of defeat against the Gauls. As a class, we saw political maneuverings throughout Rome as Caesar became more and more popular.
What, of course, was all of this building to? His brutal, shocking death. Oh what a moment in history to build up to for months!
In many ways Caesar had become a man, even with his brutal ways, to admire for these students. Slowly but surely as the weeks passed, I would lay the foundation for what was to come. In the background of class I would play what would become the theme song for that culminating lesson. Week after week I would update the students how many more days until we reached the death of Caesar. Little by little you could see the anticipation in their minds grow. It was palpable.
Finally the special day came upon us. The day of Caesar’s death. And boy did we play it up! I had an entire scene set up in our school’s lunchroom. Chairs and tables set up for his “walk through the Roman Senate.” We happened to have a stage set up for our school’s upcoming play. It was all perfect. The climax of course came when Caesar’s trusted friend, Brutus, plunged the dagger into Caesar’s flesh.
The students were shocked. They were appalled. Emotions began to flow, there were tears. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. After months of learning about this over-the-top figure in the history of world, there was a conclusion. There was a release of emotion and a wondering of what possibly could be next.
It leaves a teacher speechless to have students in the palm of your hand itching to learn more. Like all great stories, we need to lead them on a journey with our curriculum. We need to build and build and build until finally we reach a zenith.
They deserve that moment, that “big game”, where it all comes together and there is a finality.
Go Packers, we are already building to next year 🙂