Regardless of the level of active engagement measured while students are in the classroom, those classrooms in which there is an expectation of student performance aligned to the standards achieve high levels of academic success. Because of that, I have been focused on making sure classroom instruction is aligned with the “right content” at the appropriate level before even touching active engagement.
Once the appropriate foundation has been laid, however; it’s time to tackle students’ active engagement with the content. I have found it to be quite challenging to scale practices that enhance student engagement across a school. Some classrooms seem to just “have it” while others tend to be more passive. No matter how many times it is suggested that teachers use a cooperative learning structures or a simple “turn and talk,” before having students raise their hands, it seems that many classrooms are resistant to changing whole group practices.
This is the challenge I face as I take on this initiative. I decided to start by building on our teacher strengths in clarity of standards/content and rigor of instruction. I created a planning checklist that I hope will help the teachers incorporate student engagement strategies as they plan their upcoming lessons.
We will be breaking this down this month through highlighting examples from classrooms in the staff blog, following up in our PLC team meetings, and through sharing results from walkthroughs at the end of the month. I am hopeful that by emphasizing how the engagement strategies would fit within standards-based planning the teachers are already doing, we will be able to gain some traction on leveling up in student engagement throughout the school. #levelup