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 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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Elena AguilarMay 8, 2013

Here in California, we're mid-way through the spring testing frenzy. This is a challenging time for many of us working in and with public schools, as well as for kids themselves. I don't like it; all kinds of feelings and thoughts come up for me that don't make me an effective educator.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronApril 29, 2013

William Shakespeare was the R-rated writer of his time. His plays were potentially more sexy than any E.L. James novel and oft-times more violent than any Quentin Tarantino film. The words of the Bard make up a universal language, one that can unite cultures with their themes and conflicts. And, more importantly to this blogger, William Shakespeare changed my life.

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Mark PhillipsApril 23, 2013

I love all types of music, from John Coltrane playing "My Favorite Things" to Bruce Springsteen shaking the rafters with "Promised Land" to Hilary Hahn's rapturous performance of a Bach Partita. And lately I've been thinking more about the place of music in schools -- all music, but especially classical music.

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Shawn CornallyApril 18, 2013

In light of last week's release of the Next Generation Science Standards1 (NGSS), I'm reminded of a quote from a veteran teacher in my building:

"Do they really think the reason kids aren't proficient is because we don't know what to teach?"

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Todd FinleyApril 16, 2013

To be subtle. To be true. To be original. To be on. • To sing without moving your lips. • To explore the conventions of a thousand genres and befriend a thousand tribes. • To set your love free. • To tweet and be RTed. • To convince someone to give you money. • To get better at doing hard things.

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Dr. Richard CurwinApril 15, 2013

If you have ever lived with another person and come home to find them in a bad mood, how long did it take you to figure it out? Hours? Minutes? Seconds? Most people say "seconds," and some can tell before they even enter the same room. That's how children feel when they enter your classroom. They can tell within a minute or so whether they will like it or not. Research says within the first five minutes, but I think it’s faster.

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Jonathan OlsenApril 10, 2013

At its core, the six-word memoir teaches us to be concise but also introspective. Try describing yourself in six words. Not easy, right? So, for English teachers, the six-word memoir is a great way to get students to focus on getting a point across in as few words as possible. Students have to choose words precisely since they can't waste any. The six-word memoir teaches all of us writers a critical skill: words are valuable and have meaning -- don't waste them.

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