5 Tips for keeping students engaged in the classroom
My toddlers at home have a new favorite phrase: “This is boring!” Nowadays, children are used to instant gratification—or the thrill of electronics and video games. As teachers, how do we keep students engaged in a less-thrilling environment like a classroom?
Five strategies for a captivating classroom
- Don’t fear technology. We have to face it: kids are born knowing how to use phones and tablets and some can manage them better than we can! As teachers, it’s important for us to embrace technology and implement it in lesson plans in an engaging way. This means going beyond assigning students a website and a homework assignment; actually having them take pictures of their work, uploading them to a forum or researching a topic for a presentation. Get creative and see how their interests and engagement reach an all-time high.
- Allow students to lead the class. Letting go of control can be extremely difficult for a teacher, but students love to be in charge! This requires time and training on your part, but having a few students lead a lesson adds engagement and accountability. This takes learning to a whole new level and requires students to really understand a topic that they are teaching. If it works for you, select a few students to rotate through during the academic year. The possibilities with this are endless!
- Incorporate art or music in the general curriculum. The crayons and melodies don’t have to just stay in the art or music rooms. Don’t shy away from letting students tap into their creative sides! If you’re learning about bees in science, have them create posters with drawings or even create models. If your math topic fractions, have your students compose a song about it. Learning can be fun—and engaging!
- Have students create presentations. It is never too early to incorporate public speaking. Have students create slideshows or posters on a topic and present them to the class. Show them how to create speaker notes and allow them to get comfortable speaking to their peers in the front of the room. This also allows students to learn how to be a good audience and listen attentively to the speaker.
- Take virtual field trips. Living in the midst of a pandemic has limited our options of inviting guests to the classroom. However, it has also introduced teachers to the world of virtual field trips. Websites like PBS KIDS and Discovery Education have facilitated this for educators.
What engaging tips work in your classroom? Share with us on Twitter by tagging @ArizonaEducator or using #AZPBSKIDS.
About the author
Marissa Will is the mother of two toddlers, Olivia (4) and Logan (2). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past eight years teaching third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.