Engaging Your Learners

Students who are actively engaged in their learning are more likely to retain content knowledge.  Here are some examples of how to make sure your students are engaged in their learning.


Turn and Talk

Have students to turn and talk to a partner regarding a particular aspect of the lesson that you have predetermined.

Ex. Tell your neighbor how you would feel if this happened to you and why.


Close Reading

Material Needed:
Text and highlighter or pencil

Give students a chunk of text to read. They will read the text once. After this, they will reread the text using a highlighter to highlight points of importance if the text is not in a textbook. In such case, have students jot down a few key points about the text on paper. Then have them share a summarizing thought with a partner. Then share with the whole group.


Have students make a foldable with 3 sections or provide a graphic organizer with 3 sections labeled 3-2-1. Students should write three things they learned; two ways to apply their learning; and one question they may have. Then allow a few to share.

Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down Response

Ask students questions that require a thumbs up or thumbs down response.

Ex. When I name a vowel, give me a thumbs up. When I name a consonant, give me a thumbs down.

Exit Slips

Materials Needed:
Sticky Notes and pencils

Have students do address a certain task at the end of the lesson. (Preferable one focus)

Ex. Write two things that you learned from today’s lesson, write one way that you can apply the information from today’s lesson to you, or write one question that you have about today’s lesson.  Collect responses or place them on a chart. Use the response as a formative assessment.

Graphic Organizers

Since graphic organizers are simply used to organize information, the sky is the limit as to what kind you will use. The key is to keep them simple and relevant to the standard that you are teaching.

Journal Responses

The use of journals provides students with the opportunity to reflect and think critically.

Provide students with thought provoking writing tasks that will encourage higher order thinking.
Ex. Describe the character traits made the main character so loved by villagers. How would this character trait help to make you a better student?

Allow them to share their responses with a partner or with the group.

ABC Brainstorm

Create a graphic with all of the alphabet letters on it ahead of time. Simply have students to think of relative words that come to their mind that begin with each letter within a minute’s time. They may work individually or in groups. Share.


Research and Investigation Using Technology

The activity should be relevant to the day’s standard. You may do this weekly, but I would maintain evidence that the process is indeed consistent.

One example: Simply give small groups topics on which they are to gather information for a poster or other medium.