Tag Archives: engagement

Alphabet of Engagement

photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc
photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc

Considering the title of my blog, you would think that I might have thought of this.  However, “26 Keys to Student Engagement” comes from the wonderful speaker, writer, and motivator, Angela Maiers – and it was written long before I even imagined this blog into being.

I took my students to visit our local Toyota plant last year, so I was happy to see “Kaizen”, the Japanese term for “continuous improvement” was included on the list.  I refer to this a lot in my classroom – and it is something that I also seek in my own efforts as a teacher.

I was curious to see what Angela listed for “Z.”  As soon as I saw “Zeal”, I knew it was the perfect conclusion to this alphabet of engagement.  Zeal, I agree, is essential in the classroom.  When the students see that we are passionate about the topic, then they become interested, as well.

One item in the alphabet that I always struggle with is to give the students a feeling of “Self-Efficacy.”  According to Angela, “Self efficacy is commonly defined as the belief in one’s capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome.”  This is the precipice I teeter on every day with my gifted students – to challenge them enough to feel that self-efficacy when they complete their assignment, but not so much that they become discouraged and give up.  At the same time, I am challenging myself so I can also achieve that sense of self-efficacy.  If you are a teacher, you understand how rare it can be to ever feel like you have achieved a goal!

Which key is essential to you?  Is there one that presents a difficulty for you?



Student Engagement According to First Graders

A couple of posts ago, I linked to an interesting post by Heather Wolpert-Gawron in which her eighth graders give suggestions for engaging students in class.  Mrs. Cunningham, a first grade teacher at my school, decided to find out what her group felt about ways to stay engaged, and videotaped their responses.  The video is below, or you can go directly to her post here (please give the class a comment, as they love feedback!).  Mrs. Cunningham and I were both amazed about the similarities between the 1st grade and 8th grade responses.  (She did not share the 8th grade ones with her students.)  I am also quite impressed by the vocabulary and speaking skills of Mrs. Cunningham’s kids.  Great job, Mrs. Cunningham’s Class!

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How to Engage Students – According to Students

Tired of seeing this? Let them tell you how to change it. photo credit: cybrarian77 via photo pin cc

“The thing is, every student is engaged differently…but, that is okay. There is always a way to keep a student interested and lively, ready to embark on the journey of education. ‘What is that way?’ some teachers may ask eagerly. Now, read closely… Are you ready? That way is to ask them. Ask. Them. Get their input on how they learn. It’s just as simple as that.”

The above quote is from a student in California teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s class.  It is part of a list of 10 suggestions for student engagement that Wolpert-Gawron gleaned from her eighth-grade students.  I don’t think any of the ideas on the list are surprising, but the fact that they come from the students, rather than “experts” in the field , gives them a bit more credence, in my opinion.  You can check out the rest of the list by clicking here.