Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

8 Real-Life Lessons to Bring to Your Classroom

8 Real-Life Lessons to Bring to Your Classroom

By The Whooo’s Reading Blog Team

The classroom is an important place for students to learn math, reading, spelling, geography and more. It’s also a great place for students to learn real-life skills that will help them be even more successful outside the classroom. The following eight ideas can be integrated into any classroom with basic resources and lesson planning. Consider how you can bring them to your students.

Environmental Impact

In today’s world, being aware of how we treat the environment is more important than ever before. Luckily, there are many ways to weave this real-life lesson into the classroom with fun games that teach valuable lessons and skills.

For example, BBC created the Climate Challenge, which puts “the Earth’s future” in your students’ hands. Planet Green, created by National Geographic, General Electric and Center for Science, teaches students about what it means to be eco-friendly and why it’s important, among other important environmental lessons.

Find more online games for your environmental impact lessons in 15 Online Games to Learn About the Planet.

Personal Finance

Personal finance skills will be used by students for their whole lives, from buying items at the school store to determining the best loan options for college. The key is finding ways to fit financial literacy into your jam-packed curriculum. Here are a few simple ideas from education experts at USA Test Prep:

More: 8 Math Apps That Teach Number Concepts 


Self-defense is a critical skill for students to learn: “In today’s fast-moving world where kids are more independent than ever, they ought to know how to protect themselves and look out for danger. That being said, kids martial arts classes are important for a number of other important life lessons as well, including discipline, respect, courage, humility, and honor,” says Jeremy Pollack, self-defense expert with The Home Security Super Store.

You can bring verbal self-defense techniques into your classroom and ask to bring physical self-defense techniques into gym classes. To do so, here are a few tips from Julia Bodeeb, with Brighthub Education:

  • Call your local Board of Education. Ask them to add self-defense classes to the K-12 curriculum.
  • You may also want to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about the need for self-defense training in public schools.
  • You could also start a petition and ask people in the town to sign it and then submit it to the Board of Education with a request to add self-defense classes to the school curriculum.
  • Ask the local police department to contact the Board of Education to suggest the schools begin self-defense classes.

Dealing With Unpredictability

Life very rarely goes the way we plan, and the sooner students learn how to navigate that uncertainty, the more successful they’ll be in and out of school. To teach students about uncertainty, and how to prioritize and change directions in the moment, change a project half-way through—not to the point where they have to re-do it, but enough to make them work through the problem to complete their project.

You could add a new task to their list, for example. Keep it small and manageable and then use this as a way to talk about tactics for changing direction while staying on track.

Online Etiquette/Profile Creation

In the 21st century, teaching digital citizenship is quickly becoming a necessity—and starting with creating an online profile is a great way to teach many of those skills in one lesson. If your students are too young for Facebook, start with a tool like Whooo’s Reading (which students call Facebook for reading) or Twiducate, where students can learn how to communicate and represent themselves online without actually being on a public profile. 

Pair these platforms with various digital citizenship assignments, like:

  • Create a profile including the information you think is acceptable to include. Then discuss why that information is appropriate, dangerous or otherwise.
  • Write a Tweet back to someone who said something mean to you. Then discuss how to handle online bullying, who to talk to, etc. 

More: 30+ Digital Citizenship Resources for K-12 Teachers 

Time Management 

Time management is a skill that, if not learned at an early age, can keep students from excelling later in life—both in school and in their personal lives. While due dates are helpful in teaching students how to stick with deadlines, it doesn’t teach them how to prioritize and shift their time in the best ways possible. To take it to that next step, use these time management resources from Education World to build a lesson.

You can also bring time management tools into the classroom for students to use, like Google Calendar or other to-do list apps. Students can use them to input all of their work and projects, along with due dates and reminders.

Learning From Failure

We all fail sometimes, and that’s okay. In fact, this is a major piece of the growth mindset, which says that it’s not only okay to fail, it’s good. You can learn more about that Make this idea a part of your classroom culture. For example, ask students what they’ve learned from a bad grade, or make “Mistake Reflection” a weekly or monthly activity in your classroom. Have students write a paragraph about one thing they learned from something they struggled with that week or month. As they get into the habit of thinking this way, they’ll start to see the power in taking risks and learning from their mistakes.

More: 8 Apps to Promote Growth Mindset

Real-Life Research

Students learn how to research for a paper or project, but do they know how to research for a vacation or an expensive purchase? “We want to take a vacation, throw a party, or make a major purchase, and we research our options before making a decision,” says Kim Haynes, with TeachHub. While they may not need to use these skills just yet, the foundation of these skills will come in handy for years to come.

To integrate in the classroom, Haynes suggests, “Use that same pattern of behavior with your students. If you’re teaching geography, have students plan a trip to the country you’re studying.”

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