Monday, February 22, 2010

26 Keys to Student Engagement

Angela Maiers’ 26 Keys to Student Engagement follows the lead of David Zinger’s Employee Engagement alphabet. As we research ways to engage our students and better prepare them for the 21st century, a review of Maiers’ key factors may be beneficial. Angela Maiers conducts workshops and training sessions helping learners of all ages develop their skills in critical thinking, reading, and communication.

A summary of Maiers’ 26 Keys to Student Engagement:

• Authenticity: The work must be significant, valuable, and real

• Brain: Teachers must understand the way the brain learns and act accordingly.

• Collaborative: Provide students with opportunities to engage and explore topics, assignments, and content.

• Disengagement: Learning must involve wondering, dreaming, playing, interacting, communicating, exploring, discovering, questioning, investigating, and creative to engage the disengaged.

• Environment: Teachers create the place and space that become home to learning.

• Feedback: Feedback must be specific, non threatening, and frequent.

• Generative: Encourage learners to construct and produce knowledge in meaningful ways promoting active, collaborative learning.

• Habitudes: Teach the specific habits of preparedness, mindfulness, persistence to use and apply in any task.

• Joy: Bring FUN back into our classrooms.

• Kaizen: Japanese term for “continuous improvement”. Continuous reflection for growth and learning.

• Listening: Listening first will earn the right to be listened to.

• Motivation: Student and teachers must own their own learning

• Networks: Maiers’ mantra, “Together We Are Smarter”. Use tools like blogs, wikis, and YouthTwitter, to network in school

• Outside: Bring some of their outside into the classroom. Identify the engaging and creative ways students to their work outside of school and find ways to bring that into the classroom.

• Participatory: Engaged learning is active, hands-on, minds on, eyes on, and demands participation at all levels.

• Questions: Stretch minds, invite curiosity, provoke thinking, instill a sense of wonder, and keep students engaged.

• Relationships: Know your students. Students need to fell valued, honored, respected to create an interest and energy in the learning process.

• Self-efficacy: Build students ‘beliefs in their own capabilities. Self-efficacious students recover quickly from setbacks, and are more likely to achieve their goals.

• Teacher: “Teachers who stand before their class as learners first, are more successful teachers because of it.”

• Understanding: Demonstrate to our students that we understand and value them through our words, our actions, and our expectations.

• Variety: Variety adds spice.

• WWW: This super highway is the pathway of the 21st century; where creation and co-creation of content and understanding takes place.

• Xtra: Turn “Xtra” into “Xpectation”, so engagement is no longer an option, it becomes an expectation.

• You: Engaged learning requires leadership. It requires U!

• Zeal: “Love what you do, and present it with zeal everyday!”

Angela Maiers believes student engagement is as simple as ABC. I believe she may be right. I welcome you to reflect on her ideas, and to help us create our own Student Engagement Alphabet.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reading Strategies: Inferring and Visualizing

The Reading Lady provides a useful summary of explanations, examples, and graphic organizers to understand and teach inferring and visualizing in the classroom.  Utilizing information and strategies from Harvey's Reading Strategies That Work, Miller's Reading with Meaning, Keene's Mosaic of Thought, and Cunningham's Guided Reading the Four Blocks Way, this link is a great refresher resource for addressing inferring and visualizing strategies in the classroom. 

The Reading Lady was created by Laura Kump to provide support to teachers throughout the country.  Providing free resources and access to discussion groups, it is an invaluable tool in this 21st Century.