Student Engagement Strategies

Hickory High School PD -- Madison Yount

September Engagement Strategy

Name of Strategy: Discussion Football

Dates of Implementation: September 1 - October 1, 2015

Description of Strategy: The teacher gives the football to a student to begin a discussion on a piece of literature. The student then shares his/her discussion points and passes the football to another student. And so forth.


Reflection: I came up with this strategy for my AP Language students because discussion is in an integral part of any English class. I need all of my students to participate and discuss in order to be able to assess their understanding of the literature. The problem was that I had only a hand full of kids who would share their discussion points (which they have to prepare the night before). In order to get more students to participate, I began calling on students and asking them to share their points. Many of them resented me when I called on them. So, I came up with the idea of the discussion football to take the emphasis away from me calling on a student and put the emphasis on them. The kids are much more willing to share when it is their classmates who call on them by passing the ball to them. The ball eliminates the resentment they feel toward me, but it still allows me to assess their understanding. When it was their classmate who called on them or gave them the ball, my students were much more inclined to talk because they didn't want their classmates to show them up.


Impact on Student Engagement: Because of the ball, I noticed that students came to class much more prepared and much more willing to share their discussion points. I also noticed that some students, especially my male students, would even ask their classmates to pass them the ball because they wanted a chance to hold it, play with it, and throw it. Students were much more willing to participate and engage in discussion with me and with their peers when we used the ball.

Key Points:

1. The strategy puts the responsibility of discussing on the students and their classmates.

2. The strategy eliminates the resentment students feel toward the teacher when the teacher calls on them.

3. The strategy appeals to the kinesthetic learners and those who have trouble focusing.