creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Cristiano Betta: http://flickr.com/photos/cristiano_betta/3159607097
This Edutopia post represents one teacher’s quest to better understand what engages her students. She surveyed 220 eighth-graders and noted that all of the responses fell under 10 categories, including working with peers, working with technology, connecting the real world to class work, and clearly love what you do.
“A while back, I was asked, “What engages students?” Sure, I could respond, sharing anecdotes about what I believed to be engaging, but I thought it would be so much better to lob that question to my own eighth graders. The responses I received from all 220 of them seemed to fall under 10 categories, representing reoccurring themes that appeared again and again. So, from the mouths of babes, here are my students’ answers to the question: “What engages students?”
1. Working with their peers
“Middle-school students are growing learners who require and want interaction with other people to fully attain their potential.”
“Teens find it most interesting and exciting when there is a little bit of talking involved. Discussions help clear the tense atmosphere in a classroom and allow students to participate in their own learning.”
2. Working with technology
“I believe that when students participate in “learning by doing” it helps them focus more. Technology helps them to do that. Students will always be extremely excited when using technology.”
“We have entered a digital age of video, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and they [have] become more of a daily thing for teens and students. When we use tech, it engages me more and lets me understand the concept more clearly.” …
You can read all of Heather Wolper-Gawron‘s excellent post here.
creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Edgar Barany: http://flickr.com/photos/edgarbarany/3248630063
English teacher Brian Sztabnik wrote an Excellent Edutopia piece on ways to engage students at the beginning and end of classes.
Eight minutes that matter most and eight ways to make them great:
“If we fail to engage students at the start, we may never get them back. If we don’t know the end result, we risk moving haphazardly from one activity to the next. Every moment in a lesson plan should tell.
The eight minutes that matter most are the beginning and endings. If a lesson does not start off strong by activating prior knowledge, creating anticipation, or establishing goals, student interest wanes, and you have to do some heavy lifting to get them back. If it fails to check for understanding, you will never know if the lesson’s goal was attained.” Read the entire piece here.
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When our students are engaged, everything feels right with the world.
Student engagement is essential for learning and strong school communities. In this Edutopia post, humanities teacher Joshua Block shares six strategies to strengthen engagement:
“Each new school year is an opportunity for me to develop new skills and try out different strategies with my classes. Throughout this year I want to use backward design to plan for deeper student engagement. I’ve come up with a list of six different strategies that I’ll refer to regularly as I plan my courses:
1. Authentic Learning
I strive to find ways to have my students do work that has meaning in the world, beyond classroom walls. As I plan, I will attempt to always have a rationale for learning content and a clear reason for doing the work that we do. In the past, I’ve had success designing projects that grapple with current issues or are created for an outside audience.” Read the rest of the piece and the other five strategies here.