Thursday, October 7, 2010

Student engagement continued

I wasn't certain if we were supposed to research the same question we picked last week, but after talking to some students some seemed to think we needed to keep on researching our original question. A lot of the things I had posted last week came up in other articles, but I did find some new sites and will post the old links from last week as I hadn't done this. I would like to move on to a new question given that a lot of the 'tips' I have found are almost duplicate ideas, or maybe try to broaden the question more.

This is from last week for everyone's benefit:

Edutopia @

Suggests active learning and getting rid of 'dead time' as students tend to zone out during these small breaks of 'dead time.' The activities take a lot of time in planning but is said to be well worth the time and effort spent. The site gives 10 Rules of engagement:
1. Start Class with a Mind Warm-Up:
2. Use Movement to Get Kids Focused
3. Teach Students How to Collaborate Before Expecting Success
4. Use Quickwrites When You Want Quiet Time and Student Reflection
5. Run a Tight Ship When Giving Instructions
6. Use a Fairness Cup to Keep Students Thinking
7. Use Signaling to Allow Everyone to Answer Your Question
8. Use Minimal-Supervision Tasks to Squeeze Dead Time out of Regular Routines
9. Mix up Your Teaching Styles
10. Create Teamwork Tactics That Emphasize Accountability

The nice thing about this site is that it basically tells you how to do these ten strategies and offers modifications for younger and older students (some times). There is also a link to a book that is used that teachers can look in to if they like these ideas to incorporate other active learning ideas.


  1. Great research question! Student engagement is so important for the success of students. It's a challenging task to get everyone's full attention in your classroom. I like the ideas that Edutopia has presented. I also believe that dead time allows students minds to wonder and then causes it to be hard for students to get back on task. Technique #10 is another valuable thing to consider. I believe changing up the curriculum makes whatever you may be teaching more exciting because students are able to learn in a new way. I hope your research continues to go well! Great start!

  2. These were great suggestions and ideas Becky! Not only are you getting students involved, but you are also using good classroom management. I remember having insane classroom management in science because there were so many breakable things in the classroom (beakers, bunsen burners, chemicals, animals, etc.) So it is important to lay down the law in the beginning and stick to those rules.

    In addition, we all know that students learn better through different methods. I like that you incorporated so many ideas to address a lot of the students' needs. Good website!

    Also Becky, some of these might fit into our classroom management log :)

  3. Becci, I agree with so many of the "dead zone" time activities. I am in a K-1 placement right now, and realize that we use so many of these that I didn't even realize! We have the students journal when we want them to reflect on something they have learned, which is like a quickwrite. We have them answer questions by putting their thumbs up or down so we can see what they all think rather than just calling on one student to give the answer, and we also run a VERY tight ship, especially considering we have 43 students in our classroom. I got a lot more ideas from your post though that I will be taking with me into the classroom next week! Thanks for the great ideas!

  4. Becky-
    I love the idea of getting kids motivated, engaged, and thinking with brain teasers or morning riddles. I think it's one of the best motivational tools besides great classroom management and student-teacher relationships. I found a couple fun websites for brain teasers, etc.