Blogs on Student Engagement

Blogs on Student EngagementRSS
Maddie WitterFebruary 25, 2013

Do you have students who rarely raise their hand when you ask a question? When I think back about kids in my classroom who didn't participate at first, I remember Jared and Maya (whose names I changed). Jared was polite, listened to his classmates, and did his homework. But when I asked questions or set up class discussions, Jared remained silent. Maya was really creative and an avid reader. She also didn't participate, frequently had her head down in class, and was reluctant to start work. Some of our students might sit quietly through each lesson or be visibly disengaged. Maybe they don't understand the lesson, are embarrassed, or hesitantly wait for another peer to share. Jared and Maya certainly aren't unique.

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José VilsonFebruary 21, 2013

Every year around this time, my students come together and collect all the monies donated within our school for Penny Harvest, a program by Common Cents, Inc. that serves to help schools create service learning projects for children. It starts with young leaders prompting others in the school to make donations to a cause of their choice, but it often evolves into community service projects.

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Kendell DorseyFebruary 20, 2013

Think about the level of cognitive engagement that occurs with each activity in this list:

  • Watching/listening
  • Notetaking
  • Notemaking
  • Discussing
  • Summarizing

The learning style of your students plays a key role with things like "watching/listening." For example, I realize as I get older that I am definitely a visual learner. I often can't remember a name until I see it in print. So, it would not benefit me as much to be in an environment where most learning occurs through listening.

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Andrew MillerFebruary 20, 2013

As I work with teachers to implement game-based learning (GBL), they are always looking for any free tools that exist. While some are willing to pay for iPad game apps or using the Kinect, these tools often cost money. Luckily, there are many tools out there that are free and that teachers could use in the classroom as soon as tomorrow. Some of these tools are not only the games themselves, but also lesson plans and ideas for using the game in the classroom. Here are some of my favorite free GBL tools.

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Andrew MillerFebruary 4, 2013

When we talk about "games," that term covers a huge range. From video games to board games, from Kinect to pencil-and-paper games, all of these can contribute to student learning. There are many reasons why games can and do teach, but interestingly, they actually access the multiple learning styles we already know about. This infographic can help you review the different learning styles if you need to. We can align them to games to further justify how we might use games in the classroom.

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Mark PhillipsJanuary 31, 2013

Every once in awhile I visit a school that reminds me of what public education can be at its best, a place where I'd like to be, as a child or a teacher, a place that elicits the best in me as an educator. And so it was with my recent introduction to the world of the Mission Hill School, a Boston area public pilot school, as captured by the filmmaking team of Tom and Amy Valens.

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Suzie BossJanuary 11, 2013

On a visit to the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Leadership High School in the old town area of Albuquerque, New Mexico, you might be struck at first by what this unique public charter school lacks. There are no classes in the traditional sense. No bell schedule. No cafeteria. No hallways -- just a big, open space in an industrial building that once housed a call center. On the perimeter are eight classrooms that are assigned to projects, not teachers.

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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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