5 Ways to Increase Student Engagement!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I'm ALWAYS looking for ways to get students moving, invested, and engaged in a learning topic.  Do you ever look at your class and just feel that they just need to move a bit to get their blood flowing???
Here is a list of things that I do to mix things up a little bit.

This one is pretty simple.  Get up out of your seat and find someone to share your answer with! NOT your table partner (I mean they DO sit next to this person ALL day!) Most of the time, they run RIGHT to their bestie.  Usually, they share their answer and maybe get a little time in for what are we doing after school.  But really? This breaks up the manotony of the day for them and may be just the pick me up they need!!! 

Once the students have gotten talking to their bestie out of their system, I know that I need to provide a different option. (Otherwise they would obviously partner up with their best friend ALL day long!)  NOW they have to find someone to compare answers with someone that they have NOT spoken to today.  Not even a hello!  This REALLY mixes it up and forces students to mingle with other students that they usually would not interact with at all.  I LOVE this!!!

#3) TEXT IT! 
Sometimes, after I have posed a question, I have students pull out their whiteboards and form their answers as if they were writing a text.  I do NOT do this one that often (since they usually have absolutely little focus on grammar/spelling), but sometimes it is really fun for the students to think of how they would abbreviate words like Thomas Jefferson, etc.... (The kids LOVE this one....of course!)

#4) Phone a Friend
This one requires no partner work at all.  They simply get out their imaginary telephone, and pretend that they are explaining their answer to a friend on the other line.  I just tell them to KEEP talking and explaining their answer. I also LOVE saying, "NOONE should be quiet right now, EVERYONE should be talking!"  

#5) White Board
White boards will NEVER get old.  The kids LOVE getting their whiteboards out (if you are fortunate enough to have a class set!)  The kids love writing out their answers and holding up their boards for all to see.  It is also a great strategy for self correcting since they look around to see other's answers and if they don't match up, they are quick to check their work.  (Although the markers dry up and their is ALWAYS someone that loses or needs a new marker, UGH!!!)

So there are some things I do in my classroom to increase student engagement.  
Do you have any tricks or strategies to share?  

Root Word Walls!

Saturday, April 11, 2015
This year we have been busy focusing on root words. I have been using the template seen below for students to research each focus prefix, suffix, and root! Most of all, the students love coming up with their own nonsense words for each one! 
The kids have really seemed to form a curiosity to dissect and investigate where words are from!  Since we have been working on root words consistently this year, each student chose a root (as long as it was not already chosen) and they made a little foldable that is part of an entire student-created root word wall!  I gave the kids a folded piece of heavy construction paper and they went to town designing their root with bubble letters and patterns. See how some of them turned out below.

Next, I had the students show their knowledge of the root by listing different words with that root.  They also chose their favorite word containing the root.   They created an illustration depicting their word, wrote the definition and finally wrote a quality sentence. These look FABULOUS hanging up in our room and I can't wait for the students to add more! (Possibly an early finisher activity???)
To introduce the words, I have been using my PREFIX, SUFFIX, and ROOT of the Week product!
Click on the image below to be taken there!

Do you have a root word wall in your classroom?

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