Top Ten Classroom Activities To Engage Students
Academic excellence, athletic success and spiritual growth remain at the core of education. It is a goal shared by all who have walked through the doors of this exceptional institution, Eklavya School Jalandhar. Strong values, a caring environment & beautiful surroundings converge to create experiences that transform the lives of students. Eklavya School ensures that its students enjoy the experience of learning; culminating in it’s being awarded the TOP 50 SCHOOLS by Fortune magazine.
Education must transcend any one single dimension and transform the entire person. The faculty and staff form a caring community dedicated to helping students discover their passion and develop towards their full potential. Classroom learning needs to be challenging, engaging and experiential, offering young people opportunities to show initiative and develop self discipline. Enrichment is an integral part of the curriculum encompassing behavioral emotional and cognitive engagement. Some measures to ensure engagement are:
1. Make it Meaningful: Activities should be connected with students’ previous knowledge and experiences. Also, personally meaningful activities or adult modeling can demonstrate when and how it is useful in real life.
Ex – Give real-life application of the problem/scenario/controversy and have individuals problem-solve. THEN hold the group discussion to assess learning.
2. Foster a sense of Competence: Activities should be only slightly beyond students’ current level of proficiency. Include feedback that helps students to make progress.
Ex – Before starting a new topic, give students 1-2 minutes to write down everything that they know about the topic to that point. A few students can share their ideas as a way to lead the discussion.
3. Provide sufficient Time and measured Freedom: Invite student opinions and ideas. Use informational and non-controlling language giving students time to understand and absorb the activity.
Ex – Give freedom of choice to solve all the odd or all the even problems as a home assignment.
4. Collaborative Learning: Encourage peer learning and group activities. Encourage students to communicate and behave appropriately in that setting. Evaluate individual and group performance.
Ex – Think, Pair, Share. Pose a question, have the students think and write down the answer. Have students form pairs and discuss responses. Randomly call a few to share their answers.
5. Positive Teacher-Student relationship: Maintain an environment of enthusiasm and positive energy. Avoid deception or breaking of promises. Treat students fairly and equitably.
Ex – Well timed, small bursts of activity can energize the class. Stand Up Sit Down, Thumbs Up Thumbs Down, Quick writes, One Word Splash are some positive energizers.
6. SOCRATES asks the Right Questions: Ask open-ended questions that force students to continue to think beyond simple factual or text book answers.
Ex – “How might someone else answer that question? Do you have any personal experience with this? Rewrite the ending! So you’re saying…..Can you clarify further?”
7.Visualization: Pictorial representations, pictures and mind maps help students to summarize and assimilate multiple inputs.
Ex – Further layers of complexity can be added to mind maps through color coding, stick figures etc.
8. VISIONING & FUTURING: We need to constantly prepare our students for the future. A future which holds surprise and mystery.
Ex – Have individuals or groups take 5-10 minutes to imagine 10-20 years from now, and how the current situation might change for future generations.
9. Test and Review periodically: It saves time to identify and clear roadblocks as the topic progresses.
Ex – Announce at the beginning of class that you will be having a pop quiz in the last 10 minutes on the material covered. Form 3-4 teams and have each team make up one quiz question. Collect questions and first give them a question that you have prepared, then select 1-2 questions from what they have provided.
10. Summarise, Summarise, Summarise: Repetition and revisiting the concept is ideal for internalizing new information.
Ex – Have the students answer Who/What/When/Where/Why/How in one long grammatically correct sentence.
Schools must provide an experience that goes beyond the classroom, an education which encourages students to become confident, caring, dynamic individuals who will excel on any stage.