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 JohnsonJanuary 15, 2013

It is time that teachers and administrators realize that public education has reached a dam in the river. We have gone about as far as we can go with isolated instruction and learning. While it may have served the purpose for the older generations, it does not meet the deeper learning needs of students today and tomorrow. Deeper learning can be accelerated by consolidating teacher efforts and combining relevant contents, in effect, opening new spillways of knowledge.

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Todd FinleyJanuary 9, 2013
Author Penny Kittle
Penny Kittle

Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing is a compelling and seminal work on the practicalities of teaching writing to high school English students from New Hampshire teacher and literacy/instructional coach Penny Kittle. You can also watch the speech she gave when that book earned her the 2009 NCTE Britton Award. I've used the book and accompanying DVD for three years now, and my English education pre-service teachers have called the unequivocally helpful text "warm, inspiring and intelligent," "100 % heart," and hailed the author as "a writer's teacher of writing."

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Rebecca AlberDecember 31, 2012

What's ideal when it comes to collaboration in our classrooms? Here's one coveted scenario: several children gathered at a table engaged in a high-level task, discussing, possibly debating an issue, making shared decisions, and designing a product that demonstrates all this deeper learning.

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Andrew MillerDecember 28, 2012

I know that, in my project-based learning classroom, students did presentations all the time for a variety of purposes. One of the key components of a PBL project is the 21st-century skill of presentation or communication. We know that this presentation can take on any number of shapes, from something formal to a podcast or even a poster session. I always struggled with getting quality presentations from my students. I used a variety of teaching techniques and examples, but there is one that I know can really help improve presentation skills: Ignite!

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Dr. Richard CurwinDecember 26, 2012

After a morning Discipline With Dignity training, the high school principal and I walked to the cafeteria to eat lunch. He said, "I love your session, but it's not practical." I responded with my view that it was practical because it works -- but it’s just not easy.

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Bill SmootDecember 21, 2012

When I explained the assignment, the classroom erupted in cries and groans. Students in my sophomore “The Individual and Society” course were to spend 48 hours, from 7:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, without electronic media. The course examines the relationship between the individual and society in three modes: politics, economics, and culture. This was an assignment during the third mode, and we were exploring how electronic media shape an individual’s relation to the larger culture.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronDecember 13, 2012

Edutopia is pleased to premiere the first blog in a new series designed to showcase compelling examples of how students are developing 21st century skills through a deeper-level of learning. Through this blog series, we hope to increase awareness and encourage replication of successful models.

Chris Anderson, curator of TED talks
Chris Anderson, TED curator. (Photo credit: Pierre Omidyar via Wikimedia Commons)


As many of my readers know, this year I have been dedicated to using the 21st Century four Cs. The four Cs are a rubric of sorts that help align lessons to more reality-based learning and assessing.

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Melanie ManuelDecember 5, 2012

Too often people assume that young people and their experiences should exist separate from the world of adults. Youth often internalize these unspoken beliefs and begin to view their own ideas and their own realities as "less than." We believe that one way to shift this dynamic is to make powerful, artistic and insightful student work visible to the public. During the past school year we worked with our students to design and install a public art project near our school in Center City Philadelphia that showcases youth identity and young people's social insights.

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Suzie BossNovember 29, 2012

Although most students will be watching Inauguration Day festivities from afar on January 21, they can get into the spirit of the day by putting pen to paper, or voice to video, and offering some second-term advice for their newly reelected president.

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Todd FinleyNovember 27, 2012

Edward Charles Francis Publius de Bono is a bona fide genius. The author, inventor, Rhodes scholar and Nobel prize-nominated economist graduated from college at age 15. In the field of education and business, he is famous for originating the term lateral thinking. In his spare time, he also wrote Six Thinking Hats and several other books on creativity. Of all his contributions to the field of education, there is one critical thinking method that I use in classes more than any other: the PMI, a brainstorming model built on the categories of plus, minus and interesting.

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