Engage! Hook ’em!

hookEvery fisherman needs the right hook to get that big catch. Every good writer knows that they need a hook to grab the readers attention and keep them reading.

Every instructional lesson needs a hook! Effective teachers “hook” their students at the beginning of each lesson. The “hook” engages students and motivates them to remain actively engaged in learning.

Why would you even begin without a hook when it has been proven to be essential?

Student engagement has been found to be the key to preventing dropout (Alexander, Entwisle, & Horsey, 1997). They don’t dropout because they:

  • earn higher grades,
  • perform better on tests,
  • report a greater sense of belonging,
  • can set and meet personal goals,
  • persist on tasks,
  • expect success, and
  • value educational outcomes (Christenson et al., 2008; National Research Council, 2004).

Meaningfully engaging students solves a large number of the “issues” currently debated in education. We must make the material matter. We must enable students to make connections between the literature and life. We must make math mean money! LOL! It’s true!

The most important type of engagement is cognitive engagement. This type of engagement is students’ belief that schoolwork is relevant to real life and their future. Congnitive engagement is about setting SMART goals, using effective strategies, and being truly motivated to learn. Students who are cognitively engaged feel that they can succeed. Most importantly, students who are cognitevly engaged WANT to succeed!

The next few blog posts will focus on strategies for student engagement.

Click here for image: engage

References
Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Horsey, C. S. (1997). From first grade forward: Early foundations of high school dropout. Sociology of Education, 70(2), 87-107.
Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Appleton, J. J., Berman-Young, S., Spanjers, D. M., & Varro, P. (2008). Best practices in fostering student engagement. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best  practices in school psychology V (pp. 1099–1119). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.
National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. (2004). Engaging schools: Fostering high school students’ motivation to learn. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

 

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Engage! Engage! Engage!

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Active engagement is essential to student success.

I believe there are three key words that are essential to educating our students: engage, equip, and empower. These three words are just the components; they must be joined together with real “work”. Reading about engagement strategies does no good unless we put the research to work! Through this blog we will analyze these 3Es and give tips on how to make them work in our classrooms.

Engage! Engage! Engage!

Just this week, I met with the 3rd grade staff at my school. We discussed the changes we have implemented this year. A veteran teacher spoke of the difference in student engagement this year as compared to years in the past. She believes that the strategies we have put in place to intentionally engage our students is the #1 key to the success her students are having. I agree that this one component is essential for today’s students.

So, what are we doing to engage our students?

We will get to that in our follow-up posts. First, I want to share a link with you about this topic from one of my favorite resources, Edutopia.

Golden Rules for Student Engagement

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New Year’s Words & A New Voice

eee“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” -T.S. Eliot

It is 2017. It is time for new words and a new voice.

Have you noticed how educators latch on to “buzz words” as if those words will be a magic solution for the numerous issues we face in our quest to create a better educational system for America’s future?

I have. I have also noticed that we often use the “buzz words” but fail to put in the “basic work”. There I said it. Go ahead stone me. It is  true.

We often want to quote the latest buzz words we heard at a conference, but we don’t actually want to commit to making those words work. Why? I don’t have the answer for that. Maybe we don’t believe the buzz. Maybe we don’t want to put in the work. Maybe we are tired, stressed, and tired of our profession being disrespected.

This year, I commit to the work not just the words.

I believe there are three key words that are essential to educating our students: engage, equip, and empower. These three words are just the components; they must be joined together with work.

Join me in the next few months as I look at each of these “words” and  the real “work” that will facilitate student growth and academic achievement.

In 2017, will you be a new voice?