MCCESC Teaching & Learning
February: Active Student Engagement
Those long winter months
Guthrie & Anderson (1999) describe active engagement as "the joint functioning of motivation, conceptual knowledge, cognitivie strategies, and social interactions." The following are factors that impact student motivation at school:
- Challenge level
- Quality and timing of feedback
- Support for learning made available
- Interest in tasks
- Presentation of learning
The video below provides 7 strategies to increase student engagement, but each section below will provide some age-specific techniques to use within your classroom.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Active Engagement Tips
- Have a classroom management policy already set in place.
- Teach social skills and expectations before working in groups.
- Teach procedures for everything - no matter the grade level.
- Choose a firm "quiet signal" and use it.
- Provide time for students to work out answers to questions before calling on them.
- Give students enough think time.
- When you ask a student to explain or show the rest of the class, have students respond directly to that student.
- Group students in pairs to begin.
Active Engagement in the Primary Grades
Find the Question: a mix between a scavenger hunt and Jeopardy.
1. Create a list of ___ questions.
2. On ___ different pieces of paper, put an answer on top with a number and a question with a letter on the bottom.
3. Have students number their papers 1 - ___. This will be their recording sheet.
4. Hang the pages up through the classroom.
5. Students will go to a page, read the answer, and then search the room for the question that matches that answer.
6. They will continue until they have found all ___ questions.
7. Due to how it was structured, the teacher can easily "grade".
Stand Up/Sit Down: after discussing a topic, provide two options - an example and non-example. If it is an example, they stand; a non-example, they sit.
Category Clap: With students standing in a circle, have students list objects within a category with a clapping rhythym. Think - odd numbers, even numbers, prime numbers, nouns, verbs, colors, etc.
Desk Switch: Put an assignment on the board and have students complete the first problem. They will then move to the next desk to check that student's work. They will complete the second problem, then check the answer at the next desk. This continues until all problems are complete. **OBVIOUSLY, THIS DOES NOT WORK CURRENTLY DUE TO COVID**
Active Engagement in the Middle Level Grades
Three-Step Interview- Make groups of three after a lesson. During a 5 to 10-minute interview, the interviewee will quiz their classmate on the lesson they just learned, while the notetaker records the conversation.
- Teacher instructs students to draw a vertical line down the middle of a sheet of paper
- Teacher poses a question or problem
- Student writes 3-5 ideas in the left column
- Teacher calls time and instructs the student to rotate to other students and exchange ideas
- Each student writes any new ideas gained from partner in the right column
- Teacher debriefs ideas with students.
12 Word Summary - In 12 words or less, students will summarize the most important aspects from the day's lesson. Have students share their summary with a partner.
5-3-1- In this strategy, the teacher poses a question or topic. Students brainstorm 5 answers. Then they work in a pair to come up with the best 3. Then the pair joins with another pair to come up with the 1 most important.
Pass it- After about 10-minutes into a lesson, have students write down a question or a fact they learned on an index card. Have students pass the cards around so they are "shuffled" in the room. Randomly choose a student to share what is on the index card in front of them. Facilitate an answer to the question or have students offer more information about the fact.
Active Engagement in the Secondary Grades
Think, Ink, Pair, Share: While Think-Pair-Share is not a new idea, adding in the "ink" gives students time to write and prepare what they will share. This additional step provides students who are less likely to express their ideas an opportunity to craft their responses.
Walk and Talk: A more physically-engaging approach to Think-Ink-Pair-Share that requires students to go for a walk during their sharing. Set a time limit, and then have students switch partners after a certain time. The older and more trustworthy the students, the further they can walk (perhaps in the halls or around the school).
Triangle-Square-Circle: This strategy is for the end of class where students reflect using the shapes. A triangle includes 3 points from the lesson. A square prompts them to include anything that "squares up" to their thinking, or something they agreed with. And the circle asks them to decide on something still "circling" in their brains. A video of it being used in the secondary classroom can be viewed here.
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