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.

Ben JohnsonJune 17, 2013

Student debate has the capacity to both deeply engage the students in relevant learning, and to encourage students to be deep thinkers. Debate is more than simply arguing. It has structure and rules that are designed to keep both sides calm.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronJune 14, 2013

In my family, Father's Day was never about letting Dad sleep in and then getting him grill dinner later. After all, Dad tended to be an early riser, and our BBQ sat untouched for years until there were some son-in-laws in the picture. But while he may have not been much for a grill, my dad was, and is, a writer. For which I am grateful. Dad has given me much, not the least of which is a love of the written word and a passion for those who are brave enough to reflect and honest enough to learn from their reflections. In other words, my father is an educator.

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Barbara DianisJune 11, 2013

Summer is upon us once again, and parents are beginning to plan for their children's days without a school schedule. Dreams of days filled with family, friends, freedom and laughter are in students' heads as they say goodbye to another school year. However, a nonacademic summer can cause students at every grade level to digress two to three months in their academic skills. Half an hour to an hour set aside daily can help students close learning gaps and perform at higher levels during the upcoming school year. Summer is an ideal time for students of all ages to strengthen their academic skills while still having plenty of time left over for summer activities.

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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