WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Student Engagement: Resource Roundup
Keeping students captivated and ready to learn throughout the year is no small task. Here's a list of articles, videos, links, and other resources that offer strategies and advice for keeping them engaged in learning.
Originally Published: October 24, 2011 | Updated: December 9, 2014
Tips and Strategies for Keeping Students Engaged
- New Study: Engage Kids With 7x the Effect, by Todd Finley (2014)
Finley explains why ensuring that students care about the material and that they know how much you care about them is so critical for effective engagement. Plus, Finley presents ideas for short, focused exercises to help students make the most of classroom time in "Bell Ringer Exercises."
- Turn Genius Hour Into Genius Year, by Jennifer Bernstein (2014)
Why limit Genius Hour to a small block of time? Through conversations and dares, students can turn this creative, self-directed approach into a life practice. For more on the potential benefits, read this post by A.J. Juliani, "Why ‘20% Time’ Is Good for Schools."
- To Help Students Learn, Appeal to What They Value, by Heidi A. Olinger (2014)
Olinger offers an insightful strategy for learning about what students value and then teaching in engaging ways by appealing to those values. Heather Wolpert-Gawron has also written a post on engaging student voice and interests called "Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement."
- Planning for Engagement: 6 Strategies for the Year, by Joshua Block (2013)
High school humanities teacher Block shares the six strategies he's using this year to engage his students more deeply in their learning.
- 5 Ways to Make Class Discussions More Exciting, by Dr. Richard Curwin (2013)
Curwin proposes five strategies, including use of props and questionnaires, to make classroom discussions more exciting.
- How to Keep Kids Engaged in Class, by Tristan de Frondeville (2009)
Explore ten tactics and activity ideas to increase classroom participation and get students back on track.
For more ideas, check out all Edutopia content tagged with "Student Engagement." And participate in Edutopia's community to collaborate with others and share tips, strategies, and resources.
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Engagement Through Projects
- 6 Rules to Break for Better, Deeper Learning Outcomes, by Monica Martinez (2014)
Incorporate deeper learning as you empower students to seek knowledge from many sources, use tools relevant to their lives, and embrace the lessons of failure.
- 12 PBL Activities to Engage Students in the Culinary Arts, by Sarah Henderson & Lori Holm (2014)
The study and preparation of food can boost student engagement and act as a cross-curricular PBL modality in math, chemistry, social studies, history, or language arts classes.
- Personalized PBL: Student-Designed Learning, by Andrew Miller (2014)
Project-based learning may be the best vehicle for personalized learning as teachers move beyond "course-based" approaches and open the way for student-designed curriculum.
- Six Engaging End-of-Year Projects, by Rebecca Alber (2012)
Alber suggests six projects to engage students the last few weeks of school.
- For Engaging Projects, Connect Learning to Students’ Lives, by Suzie Boss (2012)
In this post, Boss looks at different ways to implement meaningful and relevant projects in class to engage students. And if you need some inspiration, Boss offers some great ideas for student-centered coursework in "Twenty Ideas for Engaging Projects."
- Ten Steps to Better Student Engagement, by Tristan de Frondeville (2009)
De Frondeville expains how to use project-based learning and associated teaching strategies to improve your everyday classroom experience.
- Find more Edutopia content on this topic on our Project-Based Learning page.
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Engagement Through Technology
- Classroom Management in the Tech-Equipped Classroom, by Andrew Marcinek (2014)
Successful technology integration includes always having a non-tech Plan B, staying with what works instead of trend-hopping, and minimizing the elements beyond your control.
- Cardboard Box Tools, by Beth Holland (2014)
Three digital learning tools, much like an empty cardboard box full of open-ended possibilities, offer young minds the free play of imagination. Another great read from Holland, "The Backchannel: Giving Students a Voice in the Blended Mobile Classroom," introduces the backchannel as a strategy for keeping students engaged.
- 4 Technologies to Help Students Find Their Voice in Your Classroom, by Terry Heick (2014)
Heick suggests helping students find their voice in the classroom through technology, whether a medium in which they're already comfortable or one that you believe will make them more articulate.
- Gamifying Student Engagement, by Matthew Farber (2013)
Social studies teacher and ed tech adjunct Farber outlines the basics of gamification and suggests how they can be used to engage students in a game-centric world. For more about game-based learning, be sure to check out Edutopia’s Game-Based Learning page.
- Projects to Engage Middle School Readers, by Beth Holland (2013)
Holland turns to apps that can engage middle school readers in a deeper understanding of narrative elements, character study and author intent.
- Find more Edutopia content on this topic on our Technology Integration page.
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Engagement Through Social and Emotional Learning
- 8 Play-Based Strategies to Engage Youth in Learning, by Susan Ragsdale (2014)
Play is something that comes naturally to young people, so why not enhance their learning opportunities by engaging them to play with purpose?
- Resources on Engaging Student Voices, by Ashley Cronin (2014)
Explore resources related to recognizing and valuing student knowledge, input, and expertise and building student-centered learning environments in this Edutopia roundup.
- Prioritizing Student Voices, by Joshua Block (2014)
In order to find value in their learning, students need to find their voices. Teachers can encourage student participation by enabling rather than enforcing it. Also check out this other great post from Block, "Making School About Connection."
- Teaching Empathy: Turning a Lesson Plan into a Life Skill, by Joe Hirsch (2014)
Hirsch, teacher leader and curriculum developer, describes the jigsaw method of cooperative learning and how it naturally builds empathy and increases engagement as students rely on each other to share pieces of a bigger picture.
- The Key of Connection, by Lori Desautels (2014)
Desautels draws on the tradition of the birth song from Namibia's Himba tribe for a heartfelt examination of how we can engage students by encouraging them to reflect on and share their core identities.
- You’ve Got to Reach Before You Teach, by Maurice Elias (2013)
Elias shares strategies and activities to help educators effectively reach students. For more SEL posts from Elias, check out "Engaged Teaching: “Do Now” Activities for Your Lessons," which includes simple tips for implementing SEL, and "Engaging Students with Social and Emotional Learning," an overview of ways to engage students in SEL.
- Emotional Engagement: Should Teachers Care About Student Apathy? by Jim Moulton (2008)
Former Edutopia blogger Moulton shares advice for creating projects that involve students in the real world and put learning into context.
- Find more Edutopia content on this topic on our Social and Emotional Learning page.
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