Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to School: Engagement

I am linking up again for the final Back to School in a Flash topic from Ramona Recommends, the Not So Wimpy Teacher, and Fancy Free in 4th.  This week it is all about engagement--how to keep the kids motivated and interested in learning.  I think that novelty is so important in this area--especially with 6th graders.  They are usually game for just about anything--as long as their friends don't scoff at it!  And if they think it is a game, they are usually all in.

Last year, I picked a Jumbo Magnetic Spinner Wheel up on Zulily for a bargain.  It took a while to arrive, so we only had it for the last month of school--but the kids loved it.  I think the physical act of being able to spin it themselves and hear the clicks was a big draw.  I think the applications of it are somewhat endless--so I can't wait to introduce it to my new class.  One of its best features is that it has a variety of different laminated faces with different numbers of sections--and you can write on them with dry erase pens.

Another fun way to keep them engaged is to keep them moving.  GoNoodle, Scoot, Math moving chairs, Scavenger Hunts, Gallery Walks.  There are so many different things that you can do to keep them on their toes.  I know that sitting for hours in a workshop is difficult for me--and I have far more patience than an 11 year old.  Being able to get up and move around is beneficial in so many ways--I try to make sure that we move at least once every hour.

Having students work together in partners or groups is an easy way to implement engagement strategies.  There are so many great activities that teachers post on TPT to encourage this--such as the Stick it Together reader response activity from Runde's Room.  Kagan is also a great resource for engagement strategies--one of my favorite is Sage and Scribe. (You can find a simple explanation of it here.)

I truly think that even your most resistant students can't help but learn when they are actively engaged in whatever the subject is and the more entertained they are, the more involved they will be.  A structured, active class is usually a happy, productive one.

No comments:

Post a Comment