13 Active learning strategies to engage both the active learners & the non active learners
As we know all too well, kids aren't a whole lot different than adults: If they aren't absorbed by what's going on, they'll find something else that interests them.
Getting all your students focused, eager, and on task at the beginning of class is challenging enough. Equally problematic, once you have them locked into the lesson, is watching them zone out. There's nothing unusual about that. After all, anyone who has to sit through a long routine is bound to drift off at some point.
Still, unless you manage to capture and keep students' focus, whether at the beginning of or midway through class, the engine of student learning that you are trying to drive simply isn't even in gear.
Here is a list of simple and innovative ways to capture and engage the learners in your class:
1. Have students solve mysteries.
One-minute mysteries, simple puzzles, even riddles make learning fun as well as involving students in active learning pursuits. An excellent resource to explore for mysteries for your students is the site http://www.mysterynet.com. Another good site for brain teasers and other short puzzles for students is http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/braint.htm.
2. Get them to read with a twist
When students have a passage, chapter, or other text to read, guide them through it with active learning strategies such as these:
- A scrambled list of events to put in order
- A list of statements for students to agree or disagree with
- A list of people and places to match with information about them
- A cause-and-effect chart
3. Prepare with questions
Give students a set of questions that they will answer as they read the text. Discuss the questions before they read in order to see what information they already have. Help them see how the questions are aligned with the text and how they should answer them.
4. Check off the Checklist
Give students a checklist of the key points to watch for so that they can check them off as they find them while reading.
5. Pause & Summarize
When you are delivering instruction, pause frequently and have students write a summary of what you have said in the previous 3-5 minutes.
6. The Round Robin effect
Have students participate in small group Round Robin activities. Have students form groups of threes or fours. While there are many different ways to manage a Round Robin, one way that many teachers have found effective is to have students pass around a sheet of paper with each child writing a fact or opinion or other bit of information on the sheet until either time is called or they have reached a certain number of entries. This allows students to share their knowledge in a non-threatening way as well as see what their classmates know about the topic.
7. Pairing & timelines work
When you have students work together in pairs, time them. Students who know that they have only a short time to work together will focus better than those students who think that they and their partners have all class long to work
8. Go Flash & be creative
Have students make flashcards and use them to study together. Flashcards with sketches or drawings are more effective than those where the words are just written out in haste
9. Vocab in a circle
Have students sit in a circle. To play, one student begins a story, stops after a few sentences, and then points to another student, who continues the story. You can adapt this activity to teach vocabulary, order of events, facts, or other information.
10. Own version of Talk show
Have your students stage a talk show to interview characters from fiction or history or in any other discipline. Choose an outgoing and reliable student to be the host, and let that student interview other students, who pose as guests.
11. The scavenger hunt activity
When students have to read a passage, a nonfiction article, their text, or even a newspaper, give them a list of names, events, people, and other items to search for as a scavenger hunt activity. When students work in groups, this is particularly effective.
12. Interview a partner
Have students move to work with a partner to interview each other about the topic under study. If they have already completed the day’s work, they can ask questions about the material they just studied. If they are just beginning the lesson, the interview questions can be designed to determine what they already know about the topic. The questions can be generated by their teacher or by students themselves.
13. Signages & Movements
Post signs around the room for the various stages of the day’s lesson if it involves independent work or practice. Students will stay focused on learning longer if they are allowed to move from spot to spot, completing a set number of activities at each area. This would be particularly effective for a drill of mixed or cumulative information such as the skills needed to perform various types of math calculations or practice in sentence writing or even the various parts of a history unit.
Source & Adaptation - teaching.monster.com