With the school year quickly approaching, it’s time to think about lesson plans, supply lists, and activities to use in the classroom that will keep students excited about learning.
It’s inevitable — students get distracted. Thankfully, there are plenty of student engagement strategies that teachers can use to keep their classroom productive and learning effectively. Having a variety of different strategies in your playbook will help you be more prepared for handling these situations as they arise. We’ve complied a comprehensive list of 10 ideas that you can incorporate into your classroom right now.
1. Active listening
Teaching your students a technique called active listening will help them be more engaged in the classroom, leading to more effective learning. Not only is this a great engagement strategy, but it will make them better listeners outside of school, too. (Want to know more about teaching active listening to your students? Read our blog: "Why Teaching Active Listening is One of Your Best Student Engagement Strategies" )
2. Use whiteboards
Children love to draw, so why not encourage it in the classroom? Educational blogger Erin Beattie suggests setting up rules for whiteboard use, and making sure students know that it’s a privilege that will be available with continued positive behavior.
Try turning a normal lesson into a fun competition. Form teams where every student is involved, so no one feels left out.
Get students moving around the classroom. Antsy students will easily become distracted if they have no outlet for their energy. Allow a few minutes throughout the day for students to get up from their desks and stretch, or walk around the room. It’ll help them be more focused when the lesson resumes.
Involve a craft into a lesson. This gives students the opportunity to learn hands-on, which is always a great way to keep them interested in learning. Plus, hands-on-activities are a great way to keep at-risk students interested in what they’re learning.
6. Encourage talking
Set aside a time that students can discuss a certain lesson, that way they get out the need to talk in a more productive way. Give them chat cards with discussion prompts and pair students up with their seat neighbors for 5 minutes every day.
7. Service projects
Work with students in your classroom to create a service project. Here are some ideas we’ve found that work great: Blanket drive, canned food, clothes drive, coat drive, or book drive. There are animal shelters, women’s centers, homeless shelters, churches, food pantries, and children’s hospitals that would be grateful for these things.
Avoid always teaching in the traditional lecture structure. Set up learning stations, have students work in groups on projects, or even choose a different student each week to help with a lesson. Getting them involved keeps them engaged.
Make learning into a game. For example, make geography more fun with a bingo map! Play bingo using print out maps of the United States and m&m candies as the chips. A fun math idea is to use the card game War to teach multiplication. Whoever comes up with the product of the two cards first wins that hand.
Technology can be a great way to engage students in and outside of the classroom. There are countless games and apps that have educational lessons built into them, giving students a fresh new way to learn. Use Ving as a trackable “digital backpack” to share extra credit and supplemental information with students.
Download "7 Benefits of Student Engagement" tip sheet for more ways to keep students excited in your classroom.
Do you have any other tried-and-true student engagement strategies? Share them with us in a comment below!