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.

Judy JesterAugust 15, 2013

I sell literacy. I do. If I don't sell kids on wanting to learn to read and write as well as they can, they won't. Sometimes it's an especially hard sell for kids in middle school, both for those who are competent in these areas but choose to be illiterate, and for those who have always struggled with these skills. You've heard the old axiom, "What you plant in September, you reap in June," so it's crucial to set the right tone from the start. Here's what I do.

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Anne ShawAugust 14, 2013

Unlike many of the current posts and articles in educators' discussions these days, this post does not address anything related to technology or the CCSS. It addresses a topic of much greater importance -- the emotional environment of the classroom. Without an excellent, intentionally designed, emotional environment (one which builds authentic community in the classroom), the standards and the technologies are of little value. As Steven Covey and many others have said, "First things first!"

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Elena AguilarAugust 1, 2013

Sometimes you need to be really far away to get perspective and be reminded of what you already know. As I write this, the eight thousand miles between myself and the schools I work in are illuminating the inside out, backward, and upside down nature of our education system. I'm am talking about the spliced into 55-minute periods, standardized testing, and the disconnection from authentic application and what makes life meaningful. I know, not all schools in the US are like this, but too many are.

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Rebecca AlberJuly 23, 2013

Summer is the time to look over those unit plans. As you reflect and rethink lessons, here's something to consider: How can you turn direct instruction into experiences where students instead discover?

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Marc AndersonJuly 18, 2013

I wanted to talk to someone. But who? It's moments like this, when you need someone the most, that your world seems smallest. -- Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Let's face it -- everyone has something to say some time or another. ESL learners are no different. As a teacher of either online English or classroom ESL instruction, it is important to make your students feel comfortable speaking. They may feel embarrassed about their inability to speak English fluently. Or perhaps they are just shy. As an instructor, you need to ask yourself how you are impacting the learning environment:

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Elena AguilarJuly 17, 2013

"Why?" he asks, over and over, as I attempt to narrate a series of historical events. I'm not prepared for these questions and I'm surprised, and a little disappointed in myself, that I was caught off guard.

But who has adequate answers to the "Why?" questions when you're trying to teach children about the horrors that have been perpetrated on innocent humans? Who is able to sufficiently explain war?

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Gregory WebsterJuly 5, 2013

When teaching a new unit, teachers know that their strategy can either "sizzle" and get the class excited, or "fizzle" and lose their attention. As a first-year teacher, I saw a good number of my lessons fizzle out. But one that really sizzled was my unit on poetry. When we started, my fourth grade students hated the idea of poetry. However, by the end of the unit, my neglected poetry section became the most popular part of my class library. This metamorphosis is all thanks to the careful use of selected authors and scaffolded instruction.

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Ben JohnsonJune 28, 2013

In a conversation on LinkedIn, one person asked, "What are the characteristics of an effective teacher?" I read quite a few excellent remarks that describe what such a teacher does to be effective. I couldn't help thinking about some of my best teachers.

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Matt DavisJune 27, 2013

Nothing says summer fun quite like the Fourth of July, especially for all those youngsters who’ve probably been counting the days. How is your family celebrating this year? A barbecue with friends? Homemade ice cream? How about a chemistry assignment? That’s right. Along with the parades, popsicles and firework displays are some engaging lessons for inquisitive minds.

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Todd FinleyJune 24, 2013

Whole class discussions are, after lecture, the second most frequently used teaching strategy, one mandated by the Common Core State Standards because of its many rewards: increased perspective-taking, understanding, empathy, and higher-order thinking, among others. These benefits, however, do not manifest without a skillful and knowledgeable facilitator.

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