Flash Fiction – Improvising Lessons

Six Sentence Story:

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Improvising Lessons

I spent my weekend making elaborate plans for my lesson plans with Google Slides, online games, and even fun videos all to go with my lesson. As I began to set everything up before class started, a wave of terror washed over me when I realized that the internet was down. Soon a room full of 6 graders would be walking into my classroom, expecting me to have fun things to do because I was known for making reading and writing fun. I had to improvise and did the only thing that I could think of, going back to my roots as a former preschool teacher, and acted out a children’s story using different voices and animated body language before discussing the stories plot elements.

During my performance, an administrator had entered the room to witness my improvisional masterpiece as if he had paid tickets to my show. To my amazement, my students seem to find the whole experience exciting, and I realized that I didn’t need fancy technology to teach my students the joy of reading because all I needed was to show them how much I loved it.

Author’s Notes:

This is based on a true story that happened to me as a middle school English teacher. I had the book “Caps For Sale” in my classroom from using children’s stories in a previous lesson. I acted out the whole story, and the students even began to do the physical actions with me after awhile. My principal came in the room when he noticed how animated I was and stood smiling and watching. I had a room full of preteens, who normally want to whine and complain, following along with a preschool book and genuinely having fun. They didn’t even complain when I asked them to create a plot chart of the story when I was done. Then they created their own children’s stories to share with their groups and discussed the plot elements for their stories. They were all so engaged and learning. I would have just played videos and online games for story elements if the internet was working. Instead, I became a better teacher when I had to improvise.

Later, the internet was working again, but I chose to use the same lesson for my other classes because it was better than the technology. Sometimes improvising can force you out of your comfort zone and make you find out that you are even better at what you do than you thought you were.

The photo is from my actual classroom when I was a teacher.

26 responses to “Flash Fiction – Improvising Lessons”

  1. It is good to be prepared should the internet go down. Loving what one teaches is a good way to motivate students to try to find out what makes the topic so fascinating.


  2. Welcome to Six Sentence Stories, Heather!
    What a wonderful example of thinking on your feet and getting your students engaged. Not everyone has the ability to quickly adapt to circumstances requiring improvisation and thinking outside the box.
    Imo, it’s usually pretty evident when person truly enjoys and loves what they do. The enthusiasm generated is totally infectious 🙂


    • I agree. Enthusiasm and having engaging material is key. Plus, if your lesson isn’t working, you have to be able to change in the moment in order to have your students fully understand.


  3. Welcome to Six Sentenceville!*
    A Six with a most valuable message.
    Those of us who interact with others for the purposes of education (or sales or virtually all other things shared and taught) forget, at our own peril, the wisdom of the old saying,
    “The audience may buy the tickets because of the poster of multiple objects in the air, but they stay and applaud the juggler, not the objects.”
    Good Six
    * not it’s ‘real’ name


    • So very true. I have always seen teaching as a performance. You put on a show to have your students learn while being entertained. Unfortunately, my health has taken my out of the classroom, but I still feel very passionate about making education fun and positive. When we learn to love learning, we will seek it our whole lives.


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