Four Keys to Improving your Lessons and Activities!

Posted on September 18th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sit Down vs. Drive Through Classroom Management and Engagement has seven components.  Today we are talking about “The Plates” for our Sit Down meal, or what we refer to as Lessons and Activities.  The basis of SD vs. DT is planning, so how does that pertain to lessons and activities.

What does a lesson include to ensure student engagement?

  1.  Reasonable–Lessons and activities must be reasonable to the student, in order for them to become engaged.  They need to see the reason behind the lesson and the connection to their world, their learning and their future.  Make note, teachers must know and understand the connection to the student’s world, learning and future too.  If the teacher cannot articulate the “reasonable” part of student engagement then they need to understand their content more in-depth.
  2. Interesting – When students are being introduced to the lesson/activity there needs to be a hook to peak their curiosity.  It is our curiosity that drives our engagement.  When someone is no longer curious about a topic matter their engagement in the topic lessens.  Deciding how you will introduce the topic and then continue to keep their curiosity throughout the lesson is critical.  The activities need to be novel to the student.   It is insulting to students that teacher after teacher asks them to do the same activity on a different topic year after year.  They started making posters in second grade so unless you have a unique and rigorous idea then don’t continue using posters.  There are so many outstanding and new ideas for activities on the internet, get out of your comfort zone and explore, become engaged yourself.
  3. Well Prepared – The basis of Sit Down vs. Drive Through Classroom Management and Engagement is planning.  Therefore, it is important that we describe planning in the context of lessons and activities.  What does that look like?
  • There is a true introduction and hook that grabs the student’s attention at the beginning and throughout the lesson.
  •  The directions that the teacher uses are well thought out and anticipate the questions that could be asked by students.
  • Models and examples are provided and easy to see by students.
  •  Any handouts or supplies are out, adequate, accessible, and labeled.
  •  Students have a well written rubric and understand each aspect of the rubric. Or they are clear on the assessment that will be used.
  •  If students are working in small groups or partners those are predetermined and posted so students can see.  Procedures are in place and practiced for group work, getting supplies, moving stations, handing in work, using classroom folders, and other classroom needs.
  • Timing is accurate for classroom work, group work, independent work and teacher facilitated work.
  • The teacher has spent time on differentiation for the materials and choices that will be offered.  The teacher also understands and plans for each students individual needs.  Jack needs to sit on the right corner of the table, because he is left-handed.  Yulissa will need a copy of the notes to highlight and a highlighter.
  • Your lesson has a defined introduction, activities and conclusion.  Research is showing us that students that are anticipating a presentation or performance at the end of a lesson are more engaged throughout the lesson.

4.  Engagement – Now we are talking about teacher engagement.  Teachers are the true leaders and models in their classroom.  Your engagement helps to determine your student’s engagement.  Rotate around, help students, praise students, correct students, engage students, talk to students, clarify directions with students, and be up and moving.  Be completely engaged in the learning with your students.  Help them look things up “Google It” with them or for them.  Do not allow students to complete work the wrong way.  Be engaged in their learning.  A teacher is well aware of the student’s progress and quality of work if they are engaged in the student’s learning.  The more engaged the teacher is the better the work will be of all students.  When the students quality of work is low the first thing to check is how engaged the teacher is in the daily work and learning of the class.

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