Opinion Blog

Classroom Q&A

With Larry Ferlazzo

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to lferlazzo@epe.org. Read more from this blog.

Teaching Opinion

What’s Been Your Best Classroom Experience? Students Answer

By Larry Ferlazzo — August 22, 2023 8 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

This is the latest in an ongoing series in which students answer this question:

What has been your best experience in the classroom, and what action or actions did a teacher take to help you make it happen (if they did)? Please be specific. What can other teachers learn from this experience?

You can see previous posts in this series here.

Online Games

Kimanh Phan is a senior at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif.:

I have had many unique and pleasant experiences in my classes. However, I would have to say that my best classroom experience is using game-based learning platforms. Such as Kahoot, Quizzes, Blooket, and Gimkit. Using these platforms has been my best classroom experience because I think that they make learning much more effective. My teachers have used these platforms to get students ready for a test or quiz, getting into a new topic, or just a simple overview of what has been taught in class so far. For example, before a Spanish test, my teacher would select questions that would most likely be on a test and put them into Gimkit because they know that students would do better on the test if they are given time to practice what is exactly on the test.

Based on this experience, other teachers could learn from this because it can help students enjoy the topic more and make learning more entertaining. It can also create a more positive learning environment for students because it can allow students to be more social with each other and help them learn better. Sometimes students would find it difficult to study because they don’t really know how to study. But game-based learning platforms can be used as a tool for students to study which can help them improve their test scores.

Students would also find that taking notes is boring and it’s sometimes not useful to learn from because once the notes are written, they are not looked at again. With these platforms, they are actively involved with the questions while playing games. Therefore, teachers should use more game-based learning platforms in the classroom often to help students learn and study more effectively.

mybestkimanh

ELLs Can Do What Other Students Do

Lizeth Gutierrez Fonseca graduated from Luther Burbank High School in June:

One of my best experiences at Luther Burbank was in my English class. I am an English learner, I still have a hard time speaking the language and an event that happened to me in that class was in an exhibition we had to do a work about the artist “Banksy.” When we finished the work we had to share it in front of the classroom, and I remember that day I was very nervous because I don’t speak the language well.

My friends encouraged me and told me “You can do it!” and even the teacher made me feel confident so I prepared and practiced and the time came. The day came and with the utmost confidence I got up and discussed a painting and at the time of finishing the exhibition what scared me the most were the questions that I was going to be asked because I did not know what I was going to answer. But I did very well, and spoke English and it was a great achievement for me.

The confidence that both my classmates and teacher gave me made me feel really special because they know how hard it is for me but they still gave me the courage that I was going to make it and I did.

One thing that other teachers can learn from this experience is that, even though we are learning English, we can do everything other students do, including giving presentations on art criticism. We just might need a little more support.

otherteacherslizeth

Potlucks

Bo Villegas is a senior at Luther Burbank High School:

My best classroom experience was probably when we had a potluck in Theory of Knowledge class. The teacher decided it’d be a good idea for all of our classmates to pitch in and bring food, drinks, and desserts for us all to eat in celebration of winter break. Not only did we get to eat the scrumptious foods made by our classmates’ parents, but we also got to watch the iconic Christmas movie Home Alone.

During this potluck, many students got to interact with one another; whether it be about the food, commentary on the movie, or random side conversations. Personally, this was my favorite aspect of the potluck because I love being able to have a good talk with people. So being able to hang out with the people I was already familiar with, and with some who I was not, made the overall experience more enjoyable.

Another thing that made this classroom experience very appealing was that we all found the opportunity to connect through the universal language of food and entertainment. This winter potluck was one of the first times the whole class got to really bond with one another. I’d say that this experience was just the start of our classroom’s loving relationship.

Something teachers can learn from this experience is that students tend to get along with each other when they are all having fun. Since everyone that attended this potluck found an aspect of this classroom experience to seek joy in, they were able to bond with their classmates who did as well. This can influence teachers into spending more quality time with their students and letting them get to know each other. This choice will definitely better the environment of the classroom, and if done by many teachers, the whole school.

mybestbo

Community Issues

Oscar Felix Espinoza is a senior at Luther Burbank High:

One of the best classroom experiences did not even happen in a classroom. I think it counts as a classroom experience because of the learning that came with it and the fact that there were teachers present. In my 8th grade year, I was going to the after school program that my school offered, and was taught some elements of media when it came to audio. We had learned how to use a microphone and a sort of audio box (I forgot what it was called) to be able to adjust the sound levels and to adjust how much noise the microphone could pick up. This was before the pandemic, and we had planned to start our own podcast but unfortunately our plans were cut short.

The experience surrounding this happened after we had learned everything with auditory media. The community center next to my middle school was hosting the 2019 State of the City. So me and a couple of friends (with the assistance and supervision of the teacher) got the opportunity to interview multiple figures who are important to the city, such as Mayor Steinberg, the Police Chief, and Stevante Clark, brother to Stephon Clark, who had been killed by police in the year 2018.

I wish I was, but unfortunately I wasn’t the one asking the questions, instead, I was holding the microphone for the interviews and was adjusting the sound levels. Still though, I value this experience because it’s not everyday you get to interview people important to our community such as the Mayor and the Police Chief. I’ll also never forget Stevante Clark, who I relate to, since a family member of mine also got killed by police.

A teacher being present made the event more comfortable. Being around a lot of authority figures, a younger me was kind of shocked. The teacher also helped by giving us a set of questions to ask, and even gave us the privilege of asking our own questions.

One thing that other teachers can learn from this experience is that students can be more interested and engaged when lessons connect them to the world outside of school.

studentscanoscar

Thanks to Kimanh, Lizeth, Bo, and Oscar for contributing their thoughts!

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at lferlazzo@epe.org. When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo.

Education Week has published a collection of posts from this blog, along with new material, in an e-book form. It’s titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching.

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email (The RSS feed for this blog, and for all Ed Week articles, has been changed by the new redesign—new ones are not yet available). And if you missed any of the highlights from the first 11 years of this blog, you can see a categorized list below.

I am also creating a Twitter list including all contributors to this column.

The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Creating Confident Readers: Why Differentiated Instruction is Equitable Instruction
Join us as we break down how differentiated instruction can advance your school’s literacy and equity goals.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Opinion 4 Instructional Strategies Teachers Can Count On
Students can understand more challenging concepts when they have multiple opportunities to see how the content relates to other standards.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Opinion 4 Ways to Use Student Curiosity to Deepen Learning
These intentional shifts in the classroom can help teachers foster engagement and inquiry, writes a learning specialist.
Ben Talsma
4 min read
Kid Characters Observe Sky with Moon, Milky Way and Reach for the stars!
iStock/Getty Images
Teaching Opinion 5 Simple Tips for Making an Outsized Impact on Students
There are a few things you can do at the start of a lesson to build student trust.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Q&A A Principal's Advice on Using Trust to Quell Unruly Student Behavior
Educators have leverage on how students behave when they build connections with them.
5 min read
Leverage Leadership 042024 1460767798
iStock/Getty