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Technique 46: The J-Factor

The J-Factor is a way to incorporate joy into the children's learning. The students will work harder if they are having fun learning. The J-Factor can come in many forms like singing, dancing, individual work, group activities, etc. As a teacher, you have to find out what types of things your students enjoy because different groups will like different things. The J-Factor is not only about reinforcing learning, but also about making the students feel welcome in the classroom. There are five J-Factor categories:
1. Fun and games- This category is all about making learning and reviewing into a game. You can create any game that you want, as long as it promotes learning and reviewing information the students already know. Some examples of games are spelling bees, geography bees, around-the-world, trash ball, or math baseball. In all of these games the students can compete against each other or the students can play the games against the teacher.
2. Us (and them)- This category is about making children feel welcome in the classroom. The students feel as if they are part of an "us" in the classroom. Their class does things that no other class does and if someone else were to come into the classroom they may not know what is going on. One way to use this category is to give your students nicknames. This gives the teacher a more "personal" relationship with their student. The nickname needs to be professional and accepted by the student. You could also work with your class to come up with a motto that only applies to your classroom. Some teachers also create little anecdotes to tell their students to encourage them. 
3. Drama, song, and dance- Younger children love getting up and moving around the classroom. If you incorporate skits, songs, and dances into your lessons children may remember the information better and enjoy learning. You could make a song out of a rule that you want your students to learn. For example, making a song out of the quadratic formula equation or a song about the fifty states. The students could also make up dance moves to go with their songs.
4: Humor- Teachers should strive to make their students laugh. Teachers should also be able to laugh at themselves whenever they make a mistake. By making a lesson humorous your students are more likely to remember it. You could stand up and do a little dance to demonstrate what you are teaching or tell your students a joke about the lesson. There are jokes out there about everything and no matter how corny the joke students will find it entertaining.
5. Suspense and surprise- This category is all about adding a little bit of surprise and suspense to your lessons. You could give each student an envelope with a math problem in it, before you go over the lesson, and tell them not to open it until you tell them to. After you finish going over the lesson, have the kids open the envelope and tell them that they are going to race to see who can finish their problem first. Then you could have a box with little prizes inside and the students could pick one at random.
The J-Factor will help your students get more comfortable in your classroom and these games will help them understand the information you give them.
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