Blogs on Student Engagement

Student Engagement


Get advice from educators on how to build a positive climate for learning, improve student curiosity, and enhance classroom collaboration.

Joshua BlockOctober 28, 2013

Early in my teaching career, I viewed students' struggles as a temporary phase that would end once they started working harder and "figured it out." Students would come to me with questions, or I would notice their confusion and talk with them, but I was very careful not to give them too much information. I was a progressive educator, and if I shared too many ideas, the work would be mine, and not theirs (or so I told myself).

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Heather Wolpert-GawronOctober 24, 2013

In honor of October's most awesome of holidays, I am going to begin a three-part series about the gentlemen zombie's choice of cuisine: the 'tween brain. However, I need to be frank. I'm not going to be able to teach you deeply about the 'tween brain here. I'm not a neurologist. What I am going to do is make an argument, hopefully a darn good one, as to why you should educate yourself further about it.

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Matt DavisOctober 17, 2013

There is an abundance of math open educational resources on the Web. So many, in fact, that Education Week asked, "Why is There More Open Content for Math than English?"

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Rochelle BallantyneOctober 15, 2013

Editor's Note: Raised by a single mom from Trinidad, Rochelle Ballantyne is a champion chess player. See her chess moves against Garry Kasparov. Her inner city junior high school chess team was profiled in the 2012 documentary, Brooklyn Castle, and celebrated for winning more national chess championships than any other junior high school in the country. Recently, this chess champion received a full scholarship to Stanford.

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Autumn WareOctober 14, 2013

Comic book writers are indebted to scientists, and they demonstrate their gratitude by giving these real life mega-minds special places in the pantheon of superhero mythologies. Bruce Banner, who goes Hulk when angered, developed the Gamma Bomb for the US government. Susan Storm, also known as the Invisible Woman, holds four doctorates in biochemistry and still finds time to save the world. Even the X-Men's Beast is a much-lauded biochemist. Close study of comic book universes and the science concepts upon which they are founded can be enlightening for students and teachers alike. Boys and girls are riveted by the unique powers and compelling personalities and histories of superheroes.

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Ainissa RamirezOctober 9, 2013

Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."1 His message is even more profound if you read the rest of the passage, "For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world . . . "2 These words are even truer today than when he first said them in 1929. It wasn't so long ago that many people said, "Knowledge is power." But in this age of Big Data, that is no longer true. What we do with that knowledge is more important. Our new mantra should be, "Imagination is power."

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Rick TaylorOctober 2, 2013

In his book Reinventing Shakespeare (1990), Gary Taylor unravels the long series of historical and theatrical circumstances by which the plays of William Shakespeare have somehow survived four hundred years of reimagination and reinterpretation. We are quickly approaching a time -- if we have not already passed it -- when Shakespeare's language is inaccessible to all but scholars. Recovering these plays and experiencing them the way theatregoers and readers did in the last decade of the 16th century and the first decades of the 17th may be impossible. But teachers, those daily doers of the impossible, must participate with students in the sort of reinvention that Taylor is describing to create a Shakespeare who speaks to students and who, in turn, is spoken by students.

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Philip McIntoshOctober 1, 2013

The quality and skill of the teacher is one of the most important factors (if not the most important) influencing the success of any learning environment. But you can stand at the front of a classroom and teach until you are blue in the face, and it doesn't guarantee that any learning actually happens. So what separates successful teachers from less successful ones? Anyone will tell you that it's relationships. That's why it is critical to establish and maintain positive relationships with students throughout the school year. It's also not a bad idea to get some learning to happen while you're at it.

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Joshua BlockOctober 1, 2013

Over the summer, I offered to help some friends convert their dining room light fixture into a ceiling fan. Once the electricity was off, the old fixture was down, and I'd opened the large cardboard box, my goal was clear and pressing. This needed to be accomplished before people began to arrive for the five-year-old's birthday party that would begin in two hours. There was no need to remind myself to focus or pay attention.

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Ben JohnsonSeptember 25, 2013

Squirrels. That is what they remind me of. We were all that age once and we were all just like squirrels! Have you ever watched a squirrel? Zoom, freeze for two seconds, flick tail, and repeat. The trick for being a successful middle school teacher is holding their attention for more than just those few seconds. Believing that that is possible requires a huge leap of faith and trust.

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