Active learning is basically engaging our students in lecture, processing time and activities. It’s acknowledging that learning is not a spectator sport and that we need to be creative and continuously check for understanding. For more about the science and research behind it and examples please see my last post.
Below I decided to list of more specific examples on engaging students in learning. You will find resources, tips and examples on how to engage learners in your classroom.
1) Here is a graphic I developed that provides examples of active learning in the classroom. It’s my 1st infographic! I’m kind of proud… 4 main categories include individualized processing time, cooperative and collaborative learning, formative assessments and questioning strategies for engagement. A few ideas on how to incorporate each of these strategies into your classroom is on the infographic. Hope it helps you think of some great ideas on how to engage your students. Click here to view
2) Technology Integration
Two great tools mentioned in the above infographic that you can use with your students are Kahoot and Socrative ,which incorporate active learning into your classroom routines. The process works like old-school clickers- but better and with the students phones- it’s awesome! Some ideas on how to use these two resources are include:
- exit tickets
- quick formative assessments
- individual processing time quizzes and games
- paired or group quizzes or competitive games
- review previously taught vocabulary.
One fun idea is to play the music associated with Kahoot as a way of signaling the start of class.
Kahoot and Socrative provide repeated exposure and practice, as well spacing learning over time which helps with memory formation. Adding the engagement and appeal of games and music triggers different parts of the brain which helps with processing as well! The students love it. Take a look at both the resources- they have video tutorials and other ideas on how to incorporate into your lessons and how to track progress.
3) Poster Projects for Cooperative Learning:
I love group poster projects! However, I often had issues with students handing in subpar quality assignments that just didn’t align with the criteria in my rubric. In other words- the end products were a disaster. I now use poster templates to help build the skills for my students. By 2nd semester the templates aren’t necessary, but still available if a group feels they need extra support.
Here is my pinboard with templates I saved
4) Foldables/Interactive Graphic Organizers
My students at first weren’t the craziest about them- they didn’t understand the point. So I explained and modeled how foldables help with memory formation and how to use their foldables to study. I repeat- I showed them how to study with foldables. Lots of students just don’t know how to study… with flashcards or foldables – so I modeled how and gave class-time for independent or partner studying. Foldables are now such a part of our routine and has led to so much success- that the students enjoy them!
Here is a live binder link to a pdf with all sort of foldable ideas!
I personally have my students create using their interactive notebook, instead of providing templates or doing them as separate sheets. I like the idea of organizing it into a notebook, that also has our notes, and moments of reflection/review.
For those of you thinking there just isnt’ enough time for study time, practice games and drills, foldables, activities, etc.. All I have to say is: PRIORITIZE.
I cut out a lot of stuff from my teaching. There are certain things I breeze thru, other things I have the students read about and answer questions.
I focus my time and energy on what counts. I don’t want to waste my time or my students time. So I meet with my team of content area teachers (or grade level when I did elementary) and pre-determine the most important topics, themes and concepts (I have taught many grade levels and content areas and I am able to use this approach in all of them). This way I can focus on key skills and really develop my students skills by using research-based teaching and learning strategies; including weekly assessments.
Thanks for reading!!
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