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The goal of every teacher is to keep students engaged and learning from bell to bell. These three books have been very useful to me over the years helping to fill some moments during the year when teaching the curriculum is not the most beneficial use of time.
I have found these three books to be very helpful during the following situations that happen a few times a school year:
Special Occasions – Every teacher knows there are times when members of the class are not present for various reasons. In some cases, those missing might make up the majority of the class. Students might not be present because of a play or performance, field trip, special activity, AP exam, pep rally, etc.
Early Completion of a Test / Lesson – There are times when a lesson or assessment is completed with time still remaining in a period. There are many reasons this may happen; guest speaker, unexpected disruptions, or completing a lesson for the first time. Whatever the reason, the questions in the book are very engaging.
I have used this books for several years. I highlight the questions and write comments in my copy of the book. I also have created worksheets that allow the students to respond to the questions in writing.
As always, preview the questions before sharing them with the class because there are some that are not school appropriate.
1. The Book of Questions by Dr. Gregory Stock
There are 217 questions in this book. I have selected the ones I like to use. Some of the questions are extremely thought-provoking. A class could spend an entire period discussing the various opinions relating to that one question.
#2 Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits? Would you be willing to spend a night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted? (p. 12)
#3 If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet? (page 12)
#7 Do you that the world would be a better or worse place 100 years from now (page 16)?
#10 Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have you ever wished you were of the opposite sex? (page 18)
#15 Whom do you admire most? In what way does the person inspire you? (page 22)
#18 If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be? (page 24)
#19 What is your most treasured memory? (page 33)
#33 What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? Is there anything you hope to do that is even better? (page 37)
#41 Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire; after saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save one item. What would it be? (page 43)
#43 When was your last fight? What caused it and who won? (page 44)
#51 Do you have any specific long-term goals? What is one and how do you plan on reaching it? (page 51)
#52 For what in your life do you feel most grateful? (page 52)
#55 Would you like your spouse to be both smarter and more attractive than you? (page 54)
#70 When did you last yell at someone? Why? Did you later regret it? (page 65)
2. If (Questions for the Game of Life) by Evelyn McFarane & James Saywell
For the memory and thought unit in my Psychology class, I have created a list of 55 selected questions from this book’s 500 provocative questions. (If any teacher would like a copy of this worksheet, please send me an email email@example.com). You can adapt the questions to serve as writing prompts at the start of a class or adapt the questions to fit your curriculum. I have also simply read the questions orally to start class discussion. I often include some of my answers in the class discussion.
These questions can serve as writing prompts in English classes too.
Below are a few selected questions from the book.
1. If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be? (it can’t be more wishes) (page 5)
2. If you had to identically repeat any single year of your life to date, without changing a thing, which year would you relive? (page 10)
3. If you were to be stranded on a desert island and could only have one book to read, what would it be? (page 11) One CD?
4. If you had to choose the color that most accurately describes you, which color would it be? (page 16)
5. If you had to name the most terrifying moment of your life so far, what would it be? (page 17)
6. If you had to choose the most valuable thing you ever learned, what would it be? (page 26)
7. If you could ensure that your child has one experience that you have had yourself, what would it be? (page 56)
8. If you were to be reincarnated as an animal, what kind would you want to be? (page 80)
9. If you had to choose the best television show (AND reality TV show) ever made, which one would you pick? (page 85)
10. If you had to choose the best song ever composed, which one would it be? (page 97)
3. Life’s Little Instruction Book: 511 Suggestions, Observations, and Reminders on How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life by H. Jackson Brown Jr.
The book contains many great pieces of advice. It was written from a father to his son. I would like to share some that I feel are especially useful. There are 511 pieces of advice.
1 Compliment 3 people each day.
7 Look people in the eye.
21 Learn 3 clean jokes.
25 Ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned it.
43 Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
56 Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
63 Admit your mistakes.
64 Use your wit to amuse, not abuse.
92 Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision comes 90 % of all your happiness or misery.
96 Attend class reunions.
156 Strive for excellence, not perfection.
171 Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.
172 Be kinder than necessary.
186 Be the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
190 Don’t worry you can’t give your kids the best of everything. Give them your very best.
197 Don’t forget a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
202 Show respect for all living things.
204 Choose work that is in harmony with your values.
207 Commit yourself to constant self-improvement.
212 Don’t waste time grieving over past mistakes. Learn from them and move on.
232 Keep your promises
239 Watch the movie It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas.
I hope this are helpful and I would love feedback! Have a great day!
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