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.

Nicholas ProvenzanoFebruary 24, 2014

Too often, I've heard teachers talk about how helpless they feel when it comes to reaching out to their students. The days of being the person whose job it is to exclusively provide students with an education -- and nothing more -- are long over. Honestly, some will say those days never existed. I've never wavered in my belief that teachers are much more than people passing out curriculum. For some students, school is the best part of their day because it offers an escape from their life at home. As teachers, it's important for us to understand that there is so much more to students than the life they lead in class, and it is important to show interest in a student outside of the day's homework. Here are three simple things a teacher can do to connect with students and let them know there is more to school than just a report card.

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Homa TavangarFebruary 24, 2014

For many of us, Oscar week can serve as the annual reminder of how many great grown-up films we have yet to see, and how many kids' movies we've already seen -- over and over and over. Next time you're faced with indoor recess or a snow day, movie night or a free period before a holiday, resist the temptation to pop in Finding Nemo or Shrek (though I love these, too), and use the opportunity to take a journey around the world. Of all the great global learning tools out there, films from diverse countries are among of my very favorites.

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Matt DavisFebruary 21, 2014

March is Women's History Month, and International Women's Day, March 8, is also a part of the celebration each year. For educators and students, the month provides a wonderful opportunity to dig deeper into women's contributions, struggles, and triumphs throughout history.

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Stacey GoodmanFebruary 17, 2014

A few years ago I took my students to see an exhibit of work by William Kentridge, an artist from South Africa who uses drawings, robotics, and animation to explore themes of historical memory. What's not to love? However, when I went to the museum lobby to wait for them -- a full five minutes before the meeting time, there they all were, apparently bored and fidgeting with their smart phones. A trip to the museum seems requisite for many art and history teachers, but without a little imaginative planning, might feel like a real drag to our students.

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Abbie KopfFebruary 14, 2014

Editor's note:This post was coauthored by Philomena Jones, a Big Thought Fellow with a focus on literacy development and arts education. Her background is business writing, recruiting and K-college public and private education.

Bookworms everywhere mourned the state of our country when Pew released a poll that found 23 percent of Americans didn't read a single book in the previous year. Things aren't looking particularly encouraging for future generations, either. Experts estimate that only 1/3 of parents regularly read to their children, even though reading plays an immense role in cognitive development.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsFebruary 14, 2014

"Read along with me: the best is yet to be." - Lisa Dabbs (adapted from Robert Browning)

When I first became a teacher, I was excited to begin sharing the love of reading with my students. I grew up loving to read and couldn't wait to open up the children's literary book club pick that my Dad had on monthly order for me.

The time I spent with books transformed my life and sparked my imagination. I wanted to create a similar experience for my students, but I found that it was sometimes a challenge due to their home life circumstances. In the end, though, it was well worth the effort.

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Matt DavisFebruary 13, 2014

The importance of early literacy cannot be understated. Countless studies have shown that students who start reading earlier are better prepared for the academic road ahead. Not to mention, early readers are much more likely to become lifelong readers.

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Bob LenzFebruary 13, 2014

Good news for students and schools: A new study, released last week by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), looks closely at four schools that are achieving positive outcomes for low-income students of color. The Stanford findings provide independent evidence that deeper learning strategies and student-centered practices increase academic achievement.

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David CutlerFebruary 6, 2014

When I was a student, nothing helped me become more skilled at writing history than learning about journalism -- news reporting, in particular. I don't mean to undervalue my fabulous teachers in high school or college, many of whom spurred my intellectual growth and curiosity. Still, learning about reporting played a pivotal role in my success as a history major at one of America's most revered academic institutions, Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Each year, then, I teach my high school history students some news-reporting basics. You might consider doing the same.

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Sarah Wike LoyolaFebruary 5, 2014

Feeling outdated, not connected, or even totally lost in the digital age? Well, let me assure you, droning on and on about grammatical structures is a surefire way to quickly lose student interest in the world language classroom. Instead, embrace something which truly interests the millennial student: social media. Utilizing it in the classroom will give your students practical, engaging ways to communicate in the language you teach. The 21st century learner is not wired to memorize; instead, her or she is inclined to create, connect and collaborate. Social media is the perfect medium for us, their teachers, to reach them.

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