December News and Updates

Middle School Principals

Student Engagement and Motivation

It's Not Just About Being Busy...


Questions for the Principal to consider during classroom observations:



  • What is the standard/learning target being taught?
  • What is the depth of knowledge?
  • Does the activity/assignment match the depth of knowledge?
  • Are students active in their learning?
  • Is the teacher planning for and monitoring for active participation?



Principal "Look fors....."

Look for:


  • Teachers will have a plan for student engagement (lesson plan)
  • Teachers will be actively "tuned into" who is on task
  • Teachers will have a clear learning target
  • Teachers will have planned for an engaging assignment
  • Teachers will have aligned depth of knowledge to their assignment
  • Teachers will have real life examples
  • Teachers will have planned for discussion/talking/movement
  • Teachers will be walking around
  • Teachers will be interacting with the students/looping back
  • Teachers will be asking questions/redirecting/challenging thinking/
  • Teachers will be checking for understanding
  • Teachers will have clear routines and procedures
  • Teachers will have a quick pace that suits the students
  • Teachers will plan for novelty, games, friendly competition for new learning
  • Teachers will assess prior knowledge
  • Teachers will give them clear expectations for the days agenda



  • Students will be attending to the learning
  • Students will be making eye contact
  • Students will be following directions
  • Students will be listening/taking notes/referring back
  • Students will be talking about the assignment
  • Students will be responding to questions
  • Students will be reacting
  • Students will be challenging their own thinking
  • Students will know what is being taught and will be able to answer that question if asked
  • Students will know the expectations for the day
  • Students will be interacting with the information (writing, reading, discussing)
  • Students will be using guided instruction time to practice skills
  • Students will be able to conference with the teacher



Favorite Books and Articles on Motivation & Engagement

Staff Discussion Starters and Activities on Engagement

Get the Discussion Started... 4 Square Activity

What is your staff's definition of Student Engagement?


I. Ask each participant to fold a piece of paper into 4 parts and label each square:


1. Definition

2. Students would be...,

3. Teacher would be...

4. Engagement would NOT be...

In each box, ask staff to take a few minutes to describe how they perceive student engagement and share with two or three table partners.


II. Have them read Increasing Student Engagement (or an article on student engagement of your choice).


III. With table partners, develop a common definition of student engagement based on their discussion and add any new ideas from the article to their initial thoughts.


IV. Invite small groups to share out with the whole group. What thoughts were validated from the article? What was new thinking?

Staff Engagement Resource Hunt

1. Have staff explore this smore Newsletter. Break them into small groups and have each group look at the:


  • Articles
  • Books
  • Videos
  • and other information



2. List 3 things that they learned about student engagement that stood out to them and share.


3. What information gained could be used in their classrooms? What would it look like? How would increased engagement support other initiatives (school improvement)?

4 Great Engagement Video Clips

This 2-minute video describes a strategy that teachers can use right away!


This 14-minute video can be used to reflect on how a teacher works on and refines his practice with the support of an observer.


RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

Check out our Winter PD Catalog!

Grab some coffee or hot cocoa and review the many professional learning opportunities available here.


SAVE THE DATES!

Rick Wormeli

Monday, May 19th 2014 at 8:30am

Gateway Center

Flint, MI

Watch for an early-bird registration special in January!


Rick Wormeli continues the discussion on effective grading practices, addressing the benefits and challenges of change.


Adaptive Schools Training

Tuesday, April 1st 2014 at 8am

GISD Davis Center

Mark Your Calendars Now!



Four full days: April 1, April 28, August 5 and 6