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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Managing for Engagement

Managing for Engagement

Related Tags: Classroom Management
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Sparked by our previous dialogues, I'm thinking we can develop a space to share and think through what builds authenticity and engagement in our classrooms. What lessons or ways of learning spark your students' engagement and enthusiasm? What procedures and routines cultivate their engagement?

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Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Thanks for starting this thread, Rachel.

My kids get excited about working with real tools. We donned rubber gloves as we were preparing to dissect owl pellets a couple of weeks ago.

"I feel like a doctor," said one student.
"I feel like a scientist," another replied.
"Yeah, this is just like CSI!"

Even though it is messier to practice using a ruler by actually using a ruler, it's way more fun than just filling out a worksheet which features a picture of a ruler.

Mary Kate

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Online Editor

Sometimes, just a spontaneous journey outdoors into the courtyard or a grassy area with benches can spark the learning. I've taken students on one of these mini-impromptu fieldtrips: to read, discuss in small-groups, write, and even to engage in a Socratic Seminar. Try it. They really love it and tend to even be more on task (hoping for future excursions!)

What might be some fun, engaging activities meant for indoors that you have ventured with students outdoors?

Rebecca Alber

Lynn Schommer's picture

I found what sparked my students was seeing other (sometimes older) students doing or showing their projects. For youngers to watch the olders work was more helpful and inspiring for them than anything we could say. The youngers were not just learning procedures, but also seeing others be excited about projects, topics, and learning in general.

Katie Harris's picture
Katie Harris
7th grade ELA teacher

I find that my students, though many are reluctant readers, love literature circles. I actually do them a little differently than most people though. I actually have the students in a given group pick a common author, but not a common book. I tell them their goal in each literature circle is to convince their group members that they are reading the best book by that author. They truly enjoy trying to convince the other students. Plus, since they chose the books themselves there are no complaints about not liking the book, or being forced to read it!

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