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.

Elena AguilarMarch 27, 2012

Think about a time when you were really engaged in something, the kind of engagement where you lose track of time and experience feelings of joy and satisfaction. You may have felt acutely focused, physically, mentally, and emotionally absorbed in a task. I've felt this most often while writing, reading, teaching, and coaching -- always signaled by the moment when I notice the clock and, feeling dazed, wonder where the hours have gone.

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Mark PhillipsMarch 20, 2012

Some of you may remember the scene in The Dead Poets Society in which Robin Williams' Mr. Keating mocks the approach to poetry of Dr. J. Evans Pritchard. In a nutshell, Pritchard has a method for mathematically calculating the measure of a poem's greatness. "If the poem's score for perfection is plotted along the horizontal of a graph, and its importance is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the poem yields the measure of its greatness." Keating has students rip the pages out of their books, sardonically exclaiming, " . . . we're not laying pipe, we're talking about poetry . . . I like Byron, I give him a 42 . . . "

Some of you may remember the scene in The Dead Poets Society in which Robin Williams' Mr. Keating mocks the approach to poetry of Dr. J. Evans Pritchard. In a nutshell, Pritchard has a method for mathematically calculating the measure of a poem's greatness. "If the poem's score for perfection is plotted along the horizontal of a graph, and its importance is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the poem yields the measure of its greatness." Keating has students rip the pages out of their books, sardonically exclaiming, " . . . we're not laying pipe, we're talking about poetry . . . I like Byron, I give him a 42 . . . " Read More

Suzie BossMarch 15, 2012

Heather Hanson, a first-year teacher on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, knew she was taking a risk when she showed a documentary called "Children of the Plains" to her speech class at Todd County High School. Narrated by Diane Sawyer, the 20/20 episode emphasizes poverty, alcoholism, and family dysfunction on the reservation. "I was offended," says Hanson, who is not Native American, "and it's not even about me. I wasn't sure how my students would react."

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Danielle Moss LeeMarch 14, 2012

Late one afternoon last week, I found a student smiling a smile of sheer relief at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF). "Only 40 days left," she grinned. She was meticulously counting down the days to the end of the school year.

I smiled to myself. As much as I enjoyed the years I spent teaching in New York City, I have to admit that I, too, hit The Wall around this time of year. Sometimes it takes nothing less than sheer will and determination to make it through.

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Rebecca AlberMarch 13, 2012

I made a good number of blunders my first year teaching that still make me cringe. I learned though. And it's fair to say, when it comes to managing a classroom, most of what we learn as new teachers is trial by fire. It's also smart to heed the advice of those who have walked -- and stumbled -- before you. If you are struggling with discipline, here are five tips that you can start using right away:

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Larry FerlazzoMarch 12, 2012

The number of English-Language Learners in the United States is growing rapidly, including many states that have not previously had large immigrant populations. As teachers try to respond to the needs of these students, here are a few basic best practices that might help. We have found that consistently using these practices makes our lessons more efficient and effective. We also feel it is important to include a few "worst" practices in the hope that they will not be repeated!

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Andrew MillerMarch 5, 2012

Happy Music in Our Schools Month! I wrote in a previous blog, Visual Arts as Critical Thinking, that I was a vocal jazz nerd (and still am to some extent). Music was crucial to my growth. When I was going through some rough times as a high school student, it kept me in school.

Happy Music in Our Schools Month! I wrote in a previous blog, Visual Arts as Critical Thinking, that I was a vocal jazz nerd (and still am to some extent). Music was crucial to my growth. When I was going through some rough times as a high school student, it kept me in school. Read More

Ben JohnsonMarch 1, 2012

(Updated 11/2013)

Educational author and former teacher, Dr. Michael Schmoker shares in his book, Results Now, a study that found of 1,500 classrooms visited, 85 percent of them had engaged less than 50 percent of the students. In other words, only 15 percent of the classrooms had more than half of the class at least paying attention to the lesson.

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Jim BermanFebruary 27, 2012

Some answers are so obvious that they elude us. Some answers are devastatingly apparent but require a new set of eyes to see. Take the classic conundrum that we all face: How best do we learn? What cutting-edge, flavor du jour will have us whittling away our time at the next professional development stint? What rip-the-top-off-and-dump-it-in practice works best?

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Ben JohnsonFebruary 22, 2012

We have a generation of students that are trained to automatically trust the textbook, or for that matter, trust anything that is written. Today, many students don't know how to read things with a grain of salt. So how do we go about fixing this?

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