Need to teach a subject that is, let’s be honest, a bit dry? Personalize your handouts or lecture slides with your students’ names (or even photos, more on that below) and you’ll instantly grab the class’ attention.

For example, I love grammar. Do my students? Not so much. To keep everyone active and attentive, I teach the most common grammatical mistakes using my M.U.G. (Mechanics, Usage, and Grammar) Shots. Instead of boring old textbook sentences, I create wacky sentences, many of which feature my own students’ names. We correct two sentences at the launch of class each Monday (Get it? M.U.G. Shot Mondays – oh, Alliteration, why do I love you so?), but students are kept on their toes, wondering who’s going to featured.

A friend in the science department actually grabs screen shots of his students from their social media sites (he runs a class Facebook page – I don’t touch that) and drops those images onto his lab explanation slides. The kids love it, of course.

Teens are naturally self-absorbed (apparently, it’s an actual psychological stage), so let’s use that hormonally infused narcissism to capture and hold their attention. Obviously, you want to be sensitive toward your students’ feelings. I never use a student’s name on anything that could be seen as inflammatory; this is supposed to be a fun, light-hearted addition to the lesson, after all.

Please note: My M.U.G. Shot materials are fully editable for Smartboard users to add their own students’ names to the slides, but the Powerpoint version is NOT editable. Sorry, it was a tech knot I couldn’t unravel, but feel free to make your own wacky fun sentences (or worksheets, or slides, etc.) in whatever software program you prefer. Just have some fun with it.
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