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: August 18, 2014
Tips and Strategies for Keeping Students Engaged
- 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.
- Bell Ringer Exercises, by Todd Finley (2013)
Finley presents an overview of bell work -- short, focused exercises to help students make the most of valuable classroom time.
- 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
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Engagement Through Technology
- 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.
- 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.
- The Backchannel: Giving Students a Voice in the Blended Mobile Classroom, by Beth Holland (2014)
Holland introduces the backchannel as a tech integration strategy for keeping students engaged in the classroom -- all students, not just the ones who are always raising their hands or speaking out.
- 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 Core Strategy page.
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Engagement Through Social and Emotional Learning
- 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.
- Engaged Teaching: “Do Now” Activities for Your Lessons, by Maurice Elias (2013)
Elias shares some simple tips for implementing SEL to engage students in elementary, middle and high school classes -- including a short quiet time at the beginning and end of the day, using transition circles, and reflective writing and discussion ideas.
- Engaging Students with Social and Emotional Learning, by Maurice Elias (2012)
Psychology professor Elias looks at four ways to engage students with social and emotional learning techniques.
- 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 Core Strategy page.
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