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.

Karen LeaMarch 15, 2013

Planned a great lesson? Excited to teach the content because you know what you've planned will excite students and they will learn? Ever planned a lesson like that and then wondered what went wrong? We all have. We have all been there. But there are three keys to avoiding that. No guarantees -- sometimes a lesson just flops. But we can be strategic in including at least one of the following keys to avoid the lesson that just doesn't motivate our students.

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Ben JohnsonMarch 12, 2013

I am certain you feel the pressure of the testing season soon to be upon us. We want our students to do their very best and we see and feel the urgency (hopefully not panic) that we want them to feel. True learning, which is more than answers on a standardized test, is a naturally urgent process if students are engaged and have a real reason to learn.

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Karen D. Purcell, P.E.March 7, 2013

As a society, we learn about the world and advance our well being through science and engineering. The United States may be known around the world for its higher education, but compared to many other leading and steadily emerging countries, we lack a strong focus on educating scientists and engineers. One significant reason that we have fallen behind is that we do not encourage our female students to pursue career paths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

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Rebecca AlberMarch 4, 2013

We've all heard of the fight or flight response. We go into survival mode when threatened by something or someone. We either put up our dukes (literally or metaphorically) or take off running (literally or metaphorically). Students often go into survival mode when they feel threatened by an overwhelming cognitive task or confusing text, or when they are called on and don't know the answer, or are confronted or teased by another student (or a teacher!) Can one even learn in such a setting?

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Matt DavisFebruary 25, 2013

Editor's Note: This year, Read Across America day is Monday, March 3rd -- a day later than usual. We published this reading-themed blog last year for Read Across America and Dr. Seuss's birthday, and it was a huge hit with readers. This year, we've updated the post to include a few new resources. (Updated 02/2014)

Each year, teachers, students, and parents are encouraged to read their favorite books together in early March to honor Dr. Seuss who once said, "You’re never too old, too wacky, or too wild to pick up a book and read to a child."

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Maddie WitterFebruary 25, 2013

Do you have students who rarely raise their hand when you ask a question? When I think back about kids in my classroom who didn't participate at first, I remember Jared and Maya (whose names I changed). Jared was polite, listened to his classmates, and did his homework. But when I asked questions or set up class discussions, Jared remained silent. Maya was really creative and an avid reader. She also didn't participate, frequently had her head down in class, and was reluctant to start work. Some of our students might sit quietly through each lesson or be visibly disengaged. Maybe they don't understand the lesson, are embarrassed, or hesitantly wait for another peer to share. Jared and Maya certainly aren't unique.

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José VilsonFebruary 21, 2013

Every year around this time, my students come together and collect all the monies donated within our school for Penny Harvest, a program by Common Cents, Inc. that serves to help schools create service learning projects for children. It starts with young leaders prompting others in the school to make donations to a cause of their choice, but it often evolves into community service projects.

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Kendell DorseyFebruary 20, 2013

Think about the level of cognitive engagement that occurs with each activity in this list:

  • Watching/listening
  • Notetaking
  • Notemaking
  • Discussing
  • Summarizing

The learning style of your students plays a key role with things like "watching/listening." For example, I realize as I get older that I am definitely a visual learner. I often can't remember a name until I see it in print. So, it would not benefit me as much to be in an environment where most learning occurs through listening.

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Elena AguilarFebruary 19, 2013

In my last post I described 10 ways to cultivate a love of reading in kids. I want to expand on that theme by suggesting 10 alternatives to the book report. I'm not a fan of book reports; I don't think they are an effective way for a student to demonstrate understanding of a book and I don't think they help students enjoy or appreciate reading.

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Matt DavisFebruary 18, 2013

The Academy Awards are just around the corner, and there are a number of nominated films that can be great teaching tools for educators this year. It looks like it might be a big year for Steven Spielberg in the classroom and on Award night -- his Lincoln has been nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Picture.

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