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  3. 7 Ways to Maximize Student Engagement
  4. 7 Ways to Maximize Student Engagement
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Students love to share stories! Each morning in my class, students share personal stories to practice building strong relationships through conversation. I find that the perfect way to help prompt these conversations at home and cultivate relationships between parents, students, teachers and the school is by using an app for parent communication. I can message parents quick updates, ask for classroom or field trip volunteers, schedule parent-teacher conferences and request necessary classroom supplies. The posts serve as conversation starters at home, and my students look forward to sharing parts of their day and personal experiences with their parents.

Student engagement increases parent engagement, which is key in student success. For me, creating lessons that are meaningful and have a purpose is ultimately the goal. I find out what interests the students, whether it be a favorite character or activity, and incorporate that into learning. I let the students have fun yet master the material I have set out for them. Will there be a problem? What will be the solution? As we begin our journey to forge a deployment for students and staff, more students will have more access to more activities that directly relate to what they need to know and be able to do to be successful in life upon graduation.

Student engagement is what we all hope to have in our classrooms, but engagement does not automatically result in student success. To create this success each year, I:. The program creates an environment of authentic engagement. There is clear meaning, the students learn and progress together and they individually receive an immediate, lasting reward. They also read and understand better than they did before! This success empowers students to believe they can achieve in other academic areas as well.

In my classroom, you will only find tables, collaboration bars and sofas that are perfect spots for students to think creatively and problem-solve in groups. It is important that students are a part of the process of their own learning and are able to solve problems using what they know and learn. Defined STEM provides hands-on resources and opportunities for my students to grow and think critically while working on performance-based tasks.

Because they are using critical thinking skills to collaborate and complete performance-based lessons, I expect my students to be fully engaged throughout the entire school year. For more, see:. Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. If you want students to discuss questions and concepts in small groups, explain to students how the groups will form.

Do not allow a few students to dominate the discussion.

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Some students will naturally respond more quickly, but they must be encouraged to let others have a chance. Be sure that all students participate at an acceptable level. In extreme cases you may have to speak outside of class to an aggressive or an excessively reticent student. Look for opportunities for you or your students to bring to class mini-demonstrations illustrating important points of the day's topic.

This is a very effective way to stimulate discussion. Be willing to adjust to the needs of your students and to take advantage of your own strengths as a teacher. Watch for signs that the students need more or less guidance. Are the main points coming out and getting resolved? Do you need to do more summarizing or moderating?

Collaborative learning "is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together" Goodsell et al. Cooperative learning, a form of collaborative learning, is an instructional technique in which students work in groups to achieve a common goal, to which they each contribute in. The interaction itself can take different forms:. Although cooperative learning has been used effectively in elementary, middle, and high schools for a number of years, as discussed by Johnson and Johnson and Slavin , few studies have been done to demonstrate its effectiveness in the college classroom.

Nevertheless, a growing number of practitioners are assessing its effectiveness Treisman and Fullilove, ; Johnson et al. While many advocates of collaborative learning are quick to point out its advantages, they are also sensitive to its perceived problems. Cooper , for example, points out that coverage, lack of control during class, and students who do not carry their weight in a group, need to be considered before embarking on collaborative learning. In addition, the evaluation of group work requires careful consideration see Chapter 6. It is hard to imagine learning to do science, or learning about science, without doing laboratory or field work.

Experimentation underlies all scientific knowledge and understanding. Laboratories are wonderful settings for teaching and learning science. They provide students with opportunities to think about, discuss, and solve real problems. Developing and teaching an effective laboratory requires as much skill, creativity, and hard work as proposing and executing a first-rate research project. Despite the importance of experimentation in science, introductory labs fail to convey the excitement of discovery to the majority of our students.

How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms | Pew Research Center

They generally give introductory science labs low marks, often describing them as boring or a waste of time. What is wrong? It is clear that many introductory laboratory programs are suffering from neglect. Typically, students work their way through a list of step-by-step instructions, trying to reproduce expected results and wondering how to get the right answer.

While this approach has little do with science, it is common practice because it is efficient. Laboratories are costly and time consuming, and predictable, "cookbook" labs allow departments to offer their lab courses to large numbers of students. Improving undergraduate laboratory instruction has become a priority in many institutions, driven, in part, by the exciting program being developed at a wide range of institutions.

Some labs encourage critical and quantitative thinking, some emphasize demonstration of principles or development of lab techniques, and some help students deepen their understanding of fundamental concepts Hake, Where possible, the lab should be coincident with the lecture or discussion.

Before you begin to develop a. Here are a number of possibilities:. Exercise curiosity and creativity by designing a procedure to test a hypothesis. Developing an effective laboratory requires appropriate space and equipment and extraordinary effort from the department's most creative teachers. Still, those who have invested in innovative introductory laboratory programs report very encouraging results: better understanding of the material, much more positive student attitudes toward the lab, and more faculty participation in the lab Wilson, Many science departments have implemented innovative laboratory programs in their introductory courses.

We encourage you to consult the organizations and publications listed in the Appendices. Education sessions at professional society meetings are another opportunity to get good ideas for labs in your discipline.

Some faculty members have given up lecturing and large. A major goal of this course is to teach students how to do science: collect initial observations, formulate testable hypotheses, perform tests, refine or overhaul the original hypothesis, devise a new test, and so on.

7 Ways to Maximize Student Engagement

Each lab is two weeks long, with the equipment and animals available for the entire time. All of the materials that students could plausibly need are stored on shelves for easy and immediate access. In the first hour, we discuss the lab and possible hypotheses, and look over the materials at hand. Each group then formulates an initial plan, obtains approval for their plan, and conducts the experiment. The most flexible labs utilize computer-controlled stimuli. In one lab, students are asked to determine to what features of prey a toad responds.

7 Ways to Maximize Student Engagement

Although they begin with live crickets and worms, they are encouraged to use a computer library of "virtual" crickets and toads. Students are given instructions for making new prey models, or modifying existing ones, to test the toad's response to different features.

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The library includes variations of shape, motion, color, three-dimensionality, size, and so on, plus a variety of cricket chirps and other calls. In general, students quickly discover that virtual crickets work almost as well as real ones-better in that they provide more data since the toad never fills up! A simple statistical program on the computers helps minimize the drudgery of data analysis, enabling the students to concentrate on experimental design and results rather than tedious computations. A number of other labs in the course make use of computer-generated and modified stimuli.

Labs using this strategy deal with mate recognition in crickets and fish, competitor recognition in fish, predator recognition in chicks and fish, imprinting in ducklings, color change in lizards, and hemispheric dominance in humans. Students in two laboratory sections of a chemistry course for nonscience majors worked in groups of three on two experiments about acids, bases, and buffers.

The experiments were devised using a modified "jigsaw" technique, in which each student in a group is assigned a particular part of a lesson or unit and is responsible for helping the other members of the group learn that material. The week prior to the laboratory, students were given lists of objectives and preparatory work that were divided into three parts. Students decided how to divide the responsibility for the preparatory and laboratory tasks, but were informed that the scores from their post-laboratory exams would be averaged, and that all members of a group would receive the same grade.

Two control sections of the same laboratory were conducted in a traditional manner, with students working independently. All four groups of students were part of the same lecture class, and there were no significant differences in age, gender balance, or previous number of chemistry classes. Although the control sections had an overall GPA higher than the cooperative learning sections 2. The authors conclude that use of cooperative learning in the laboratory has a positive effect on student achievement.

Such workshop methods have been devised for teaching physics Laws, , chemistry Lisensky et al. Although this is not feasible at many institutions, some of the ideas developed in these courses translate reasonably well to courses in which a lab is associated with a large-enrollment course Thornton, in press. Laboratories can be enriched by computers that make data acquisition and analysis easier and much faster, thus allowing students to think about their results and do an improved experiment.

Computers can also be used as an element of the experiment to simulate a response, or vary a stimulus. Computers offer convenience, flexibility and safety in the laboratory, but they should not completely replace the student's interaction with the natural world. Laboratory teaching methods vary widely, but there is certainly no substitute for an instructor circulating among the students, answering and asking questions, pointing out subtle details or possible applications, and generally guiding students' learning.

Although students work informally in pairs or groups in many labs, some faculty have formally introduced cooperative learning into their labs see sidebar. Some instructors rely on a lab handout, not to give cookbook instructions, but to pose a carefully constructed sequence of questions to help students design experiments which illustrate important concepts Hake, One advantage of the well-designed handout is that the designer more closely controls what students do in the lab Moog and Farrell, The challenge is to design it so that students must think and be creative.

In more unstructured labs the challenge is to prevent students from getting stranded and discouraged. Easy access to a faculty member or teaching assistant is essential in this type of lab. Once you have decided on the goals for your laboratory, and are familiar with some of the innovative ideas in your field, you are ready to ask yourself the following questions:. How have others operated their programs? Seek out colleagues in other departments or institutions who may have implemented a laboratory program similar to the one you are considering, and learn from their experiences.

How much time and energy are you willing to invest? Buying new equipment and tinkering with the lab write-ups will probably improve the labs, but much more is required to implement substantial change. Changing the way that students learn involves rethinking the way the lab is taught, writing new lab handouts, setting up a training program for teaching assistants, and perhaps designing some new experiments. What support will you have? Solicit the interest and support of departmental colleagues and teaching assistants. Are the departmental and institutional administrations supportive of your project and willing to accept the risks?

Determine how likely they are to provide the needed resources. Are you prepared to go through all of this and still get mediocre student evaluations? All teaching assistants perform the laboratory exercises as if they were students to determine operational and analytical difficulties and to test the instructional notes and record-keeping procedures.

Teachers discuss usual student questions and misconceptions and ideas for directing student learning. Teachers review procedures for circulating among student groups to ensure that each group gets attention. Groups are visited early to help them get started. Each group is visited several other times, but at least midway through the lab to discuss preliminary results and interpretations and toward the end of the lab to review outcomes and interpretations. Teachers review the students' notebooks or reports and then meet to discuss difficulties and misconceptions.

Discussions of grading and comments that might be made are important because these procedures can influence student performance and attitudes on subsequent exercises. The various methods by which students report their lab work have different pedagogical objectives. The formal written report teaches students how to communicate their work in journal style, but students sometimes sacrifice content for appearance. Keeping a lab notebook, which is graded, teaches the student to keep a record while doing an experiment, but it may not develop good writing and presentation skills.

Oral reports motivate students to understand their work well enough to explain it to others, but this takes time and does not give students practice in writing. Oral reports can also motivate students to keep a good notebook, especially if they can consult it during their presentation. In choosing this important aspect of the students' lab experience, consider how your students might report their work in the future.

Many benefits of carefully planned laboratory exercises are realized only if the instructional staff is well prepared to teach. Often the primary, or only, lab instruction comes from graduate or undergraduate teaching assistants or from faculty members who were not involved in designing the lab. Time must be invested in training the teaching staff, focusing first on their mastery of the lab experiments and then on the method of instruction. It is a fine art to guide students without either simply giving the answer or seeming to be obstinately obscure.

Teaching assistants who were not taught in this way can have difficulty adapting to innovative laboratory programs, and the suggestions below will you help you guide their transition. A good part of the success of a course depends on the group spirit of the whole team of instructor and teaching assistants. Many such groups meet weekly, perhaps in an informal but structured way, so that the teaching assistants can provide feedback to the instructor as well as learn about the most effective way to teach the next laboratory experiment see sidebar. The responsibility for preparing teaching assistants is largely dependent on the setting.

While many faculty members at four-year institutions are responsible for preparing their teaching assistants, this task is handled on a department-wide or campus-wide basis in programs with large numbers of graduate students. Many professional societies have publications on this topic see Appendix A. The American Association for Higher Education is another excellent source of information. Their publication Preparing Graduate Students to Teach Lambert and Tice, provides numerous examples of teaching assistant training programs in a wide array of disciplines.

Table of Contents

Effective science teaching requires creativity, imagination, and innovation. In light of concerns about American science literacy, scientists and educators have struggled to teach this discipline more effectively. Science Teaching Reconsidered provides undergraduate science educators with a path to understanding students, accommodating their individual differences, and helping them grasp the methods--and the wonder--of science. What impact does teaching style have? How do I plan a course curriculum? How do I make lectures, classes, and laboratories more effective?

How can I tell what students are thinking? Why don't they understand? This handbook provides productive approaches to these and other questions. Written by scientists who are also educators, the handbook offers suggestions for having a greater impact in the classroom and provides resources for further research. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

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Do you enjoy reading reports from the Academies online for free? Sign up for email notifications and we'll let you know about new publications in your areas of interest when they're released. Get This Book. Visit NAP. Looking for other ways to read this? No thanks. Science Teaching Reconsidered: A Handbook. Page 10 Share Cite. Enhancing Learning in Large Classes.

Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology at Stanford University Professor: Sharon Long Enrollment: students One important tool I use to engage students is to create opportunities for thought and for active pursuit of an unknown during the class session. Page 11 Share Cite. Physical Geology at Arizona State University Professor: Ramon Arrowsmith Enrollment: students I show examples of geology from my own experiences, and occasionally include a few funny slides or video or audio clips to lighten things up.

Hints for More Effective Lecturing. Page 12 Share Cite.

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Use paradoxes, puzzles, and apparent contradictions to engage students. Make connections to current events and everyday phenomena. Begin each class with something familiar and important to students. End each class by summarizing the main points you have made. Consider using slides, videos, films, CD-ROMs, and computer simulations to enhance presentations, but remember that: Students cannot take notes in darkened rooms.

The text needs to be large enough to read from the back of the room. Pay attention to delivery: Maintain eye contact with students in all parts of the room. Step out from behind the lecture bench when feasible. Move around, but not so much that it is distracting. Talk to the students, not the blackboard.

If using the board, avoid blocking it with AV projectors or screens.

Student Engagement & Motivation Strategies &

Shift the mood and intensity. Vary presentation techniques. Asking Questions. Page 13 Share Cite. Pose a second or follow-up question to continue the exploration. Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology at Stanford University Professor: Sharon Long Enrollment: students Even a small-scale demonstration can work in a large class if it uses an everyday object that students recognize, and especially if it is something the students can find and use on their own.

Page 14 Share Cite. Where in the class would it be most effective? What prior knowledge should be reviewed before the demonstration? Which steps in the demonstration procedure should be carried out ahead of time?