Engaged students in a class

3 Exercises to Increase Engagement in the Classroom

Hindered by fluctuating schedules, video screens, and ever-changing COVID-19 regulations, teachers are struggling to keep up with their students and increasing classroom engagement. While introductory activities are usually conducted at the beginning of the year, they should be carried out around the year for better classroom engagement prospects.

Whether the students love to play frisbee, have four dogs, or enjoy photography and writing, celebrating your students' unique identities and experiences can foster better connections that can ensure better performance in school.

Reflection on Experiences

At the beginning of the 2000s, teachers in high poverty, urban districts of New Jersey asked their students to write an essay about the principles and values that guide their life. While this activity titled "Laws of Life" seemed trivial, it transformed into a bigger project that enabled students to develop a robust sense of purpose, self, and possibilities for the future.

To try this activity in the class, teachers can ask students to reflect on their experiences – in and out of school – which made them who they are today. From this activity, students can discern the key things that have influenced their lives and write an essay or create multimedia content that centers around the laws of life that drives them.

A student writing an essay

Understanding Student Interests: Blogging

Literary analysis can often stifle a student's thinking. To ease students into analyzing literature and language, teachers can take inspiration from the book Beyond Literary Analysis, where the notion of passion blogging is discussed in detail.

To encourage students to write passion blogs, teachers can ask their students to make heart maps: make a heart on a paper, and fill it up with words representing their passions. After that, they can select a few words from the heart and explore texts, videos, and images related to them.

Note: This is when teachers can also instruct their students on the importance of citing sources and appropriately attributing them.

Students' blogs have myriad subject matters, from hiking and playing house to pheasant hunting and gardening – an opportunity to delve deeper into their passions. As an activity, students can read the blogs by their classmates and critique their writing styles.

This activity can help students polish their literary analysis skills and improve their communication and collaboration, something we focus on in COMPUCHILD's after-school technology classes for kids.

A child taking pictures at the beach

Documenting Life Through Photos, Animation, and Podcasts

While virtual classes can lead to brain drain, digital tools can offer fresh and creative outlets for kids to define and share their interests. Teachers can ask their students to make autobiographical films, produce podcasts about their favorite cartoons, write articles about the books they're reading, and make animations about their families.

For instance, teachers can teach a lesson on breathtaking black and white photography of Dorothea Lange from the Great Depression. After that, they can ask their students to take similar photos to document different emotions. Students can get prompts like "looking out of the window," "a memorable event," and inside out" to get the students started.

While a lot of students aren't great writers, they have an artistic eye for composition and color. Therefore, they can engage with the class through their visual work.

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Our Impactful Blogging and Stop Motion Animation programs for elementary students help develop digital storytelling and communication skills needed to succeed in professional and lucrative careers.

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