Better yet, are your students engaged?
One of the areas of focus and exploration in our Professional Learning Communities is student engagement. Specifically, we are asking, “How do we KNOW they are engaged?”
In a webinar I recently came across some useful resources for students, which relates the use of online communities and asking questions to our use of technology. From Catlin Tucker’s blog http://catlintucker.com/
we can see ten tips to engage our students:
1. Acknowledge their status as technology natives. Use technology whenever possible because this is how they are engaging most frequently with their peers and the world around them.
2. Stimulate the senses with visual media. Show images, video clips, political cartoons, art work, graphic novels, etc.
3. Bite size lectures. If you are going to lecture, break it up into bite size portions. Stop talking at regular intervals and let students do something creative with the information presented.
4. Bring the drama into your classroom. Re-enactments are more exciting than reading about an event!
5. Who doesn’t love arts and crafts? Use creative online tools, like Glogster, Wix or Blabberize to engage kids in creative activities online. If you don’t have computers in your classroom, break out the crayons, markers, construction paper, paint, scissors, glue, magazines and let kids CREATE.
6. Tap into your students competitive nature and bring games or gaming into your curriculum.
7. Kids love to talk, so let them. Make time for debates, discussions, student presentations, etc.
8. Raw footage. Ask students to make a documentary or design an iMovie about a topic related to your subject area.
9. Let kids figure it out. Design real life problems to be solved.
10. QR Codes, Cell phones, Wireless Device, Oh my. Let students use their phones or wireless devices to do something educational, like scanning QR codes to go on a virtual field trip without leaving the classroom.
I know as educators we can relate to disengagement. I’m reminded of my 3-hour lectures in “History Since 1534” with Mr. Monotone, and greatly wishing it would just Go Away. Today, we can integrate authentic discussions, use multimedia, and make real-world connections to the content. (I’m pretty sure I would not have fallen asleep had this been a practice of Mr.M!)
So the challenge of the day is-
take one step toward focused engagement.
Then- take a step BACK, and notice the difference.
It begins with one step!