Blogs on Student Engagement

Student Engagement

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Get advice from educators on how to build a positive climate for learning, improve student curiosity, and enhance classroom collaboration.

Vicki ZakrzewskiJune 10, 2013

Imagine being Ryan Hreljac's first grade teacher. After telling your class of six- and seven-year-olds that children in Africa are dying because of lack of clean water, one of your students is so moved that he has to do something. What starts as Ryan taking on extra vacuuming at home to earn money for wells eventually turns into Ryan's Well Foundation, a non-profit that, to date, has brought safe water and sanitation services to over 789,900 people.

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Sarah Mulhern GrossJune 6, 2013

I'm an evangelist.

A book evangelist, that is. I hand out books to students and colleagues, booktalking them in class, at lunch, and even in my email signature. I want my students to read widely and read often, to pick up a book instead of browsing Tumblr every time they are bored. But I have no desire to assess my students for each book they read during the year. I'm a voracious reader, but I don't take a quiz after each book I finish. If I did, I don't think I would be a reader for very long! I do want my students to think about some of the books that have affected them and influenced them, though. And I want them to plan ahead and think about the books they want to read in the future. In other words, I want them to be readers.

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Matt DavisJune 4, 2013

Summer is here! But along with warmer weather, trips to the pool and the Fourth of July, comes a not-so-fun reality... the summer slide.

Too often students scowl at the idea of summer learning, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, summer is the perfect time to dive into some fun, engaging learning activities.

Virtual field trips, check. Fiction writing, check. A summer of making, check. For parents, we’ve rounded up some outside-the-box resources, as well as reading, math and writing activities, that will help counteract summer slide.

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Betty RayMay 31, 2013

We have been covering the video series called A Year at Mission Hill since it was released in January. You can see earlier episodes in the left column of this page. The eighth episode, called "The World of Work" is a particularly compelling one, in that it showcases how Mission Hill teachers engage their middle and elementary students in their community through the lens of work.

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Mark PhillipsMay 23, 2013

Most excellent teachers have learned what first-rate filmmakers have always known, that to be successful you need to reach your audience emotionally. I want to revisit one the best approaches I know, emphasizing its application at the secondary school level. The purpose is to increase student motivation and foster healthy emotional development.

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Craig HaasMay 23, 2013

In assembling the plan for expanded learning time (ELT) at the Edwards Middle School, we drew inspiration from our own special education department. Too often, special education is viewed as a place or a static state, when the truth is that special education is a series of interventions, modifications, and accommodations afforded to students who are unable to access a curriculum under routine circumstances. ELT, too, is a series of interventions, and so, in applying some special education principles, we gained some valuable insights.

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Hassan MansarayMay 22, 2013

Not satisfied with students' progress on district- and state-mandated tests -- and after careful deliberation by administration and staff -- the Edwards Middle School implemented the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative in the 2006/07 school year. ELT has since become an integral part of the school day, where students receive an additional 60 minutes of support instruction in some core academic classes like English and math, and 90 minutes of electives in arts, sports and music, and other enrichment activities.

In order to maximize the benefits of ELT for students, I looked for ways to fine tune my approach to teaching individualized learning in my English language arts classroom. One of the instructional models that informs my approach to teaching individualized learning is the Readers and Writers Workshop. This approach proved very helpful in optimizing ELT. Read More
Ben JohnsonMay 20, 2013

A backwoodsman went to a home improvement store and purchased a chainsaw to replace an old, worn-out saw. After a month, the backwoodsman returned the saw to the store, complaining, "It doesn't work worth a darn! I could hardly cut half the wood I normally do." The salesman, looking at the chainsaw and seeing nothing wrong with it, pulled the cord. The chainsaw started easily with a roar. The backwoodsman jumped back. "Tarnation, what's all that racket? When I used it to saw, it was plumb silent!"

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Elena AguilarMay 13, 2013

If I was still in the classroom, I'd divert from the plans I'd etched out for this week and I'd teach a few lessons on justice -- what it means, how it's attained -- by examining something that happened in Guatemala at the end of last week. Something happened in that Central American country that offers tremendous hope and inspiration. I want to tell you about it; I want you to tell your students about it.

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Rebecca AlberMay 13, 2013

Adults forget all that they do while reading. We are predicting, making connections, contextualizing, critiquing, and already plotting how we might use any new insights or information. Yep, we do all that when we read.

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