Category: Student Engagement

6 Classroom Activities to Help Students Express Gratitude

Thanksgiving might be the best holiday to harvest for learning opportunities (no pun intended), but many teachers default to having the students draw turkeys using their hands or making pilgrim hats out of construction paper. That’s a waste. The theme of Thanksgiving is, of course, gratitude. That falls clearly within

Is Technology Shortening Students’ Attention Spans?

The answer might surprise you. According to Dr. David A. Sousa, educational neuroscience consultant and award-winning author of Engaging the Rewired Brain, the answer is no… with a big qualifier. No, technology doesn’t shorten students’ attention spans. Today’s learners are capable of focusing on one thing for just as long

Image courtesy of Des Moines Public Schools: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmps/36962770821/in/album-72157686316235914/

Success Criteria: A Five-Star Recipe for Students

By Kara Bentley Teachers, when your students walk into your classroom… Do they know what they’re going to be learning? Do they know what they NEED to know to demonstrate understanding of content? Are they prepared to autonomously apply their knowledge to successfully complete a task? Do they have exemplars

To Exist or Not Exist? How Student Autonomy Changes the Classroom: Part 2

By Kristin DeJong Last time around, we introduced you to the idea of implementing a few new strategies to lighten your teaching load and promote more student-centered learning in the process. Today, we round out that list with a few more ideas you’ll be doing in no time. Establish Team Roles

To Exist or Not Exist? How Student Autonomy Changes the Classroom: Part 1

By Kristin DeJong The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.” As a new school year begins, I’m reminded of this quotation from the famed physician and educator, Maria Montessori, and I often

7 Ways to Help ELL Students Overcome Language Barriers

About five million children in the United States—that’s approximately one out of 10 students–are learning how to speak English. This is a huge demographic shift, not only in states like California, Texas, and Florida, but also in Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Vermont. Many of the students come from migrant backgrounds,

Hey, Teachers! Take the Training Wheels Off

By Kara Bentley To develop into independent thinkers, students need to become autonomous in the classroom. While this doesn’t mean they always need to work independently, it does mean that they need to own their learning; deepen their understanding of instruction, and use provided resources to apply their knowledge to

What Makes a Great Teacher?

By Theresa Staley Teaching requires unrelenting dedication to students, humanity, and our educational craft. Educators accept the roles of parent, coach, advocate, mentor, counselor, and role model, among others. Our profession requires us to develop and sustain intangible interpersonal qualities, what we call “conative skills,” as ambassadors of learning. Conative

New Report on “What Teens Want”

By Jennifer A. Cleary and Terry A. Morgan, co-authors of Classroom Techniques for Creating Conditions for Rigorous Instruction The Fordham Institute’s newly released report on student engagement initially delivers quite a dose of bad news. A national survey of 2000 public, charter, and private school students finds that students who consider dropping

Five Tips for Engaging Students in a Close Reading of Text

When engaging students in close reading, the goal is to deepen their understanding of the text and the author’s technique for delivering the content. Students can reach higher levels of understanding by engaging in higher levels of cognition. Students engaged in close reading are working in analysis. They need to