What is the first thing you look at when you get your yearbook? What is the first thing our students look for when they get their yearbook? For most of us, the answer is most likely ourselves. Don’t lie – you know that includes you! 🙂 When our students post something to Instagram, what is it that they are concerned with? The number of likes they get! How can we use that knowledge to increase engagement in our classes?
Have you ever put your students into the materials you use in class? In language arts you could insert a student or group of students into a story you are modeling. When you create an assignment in word, make your students the stars of that content. Then through the use of find and replace it is easy to adjust your activities to different classes or different rosters of students. The main idea of the assignment is the same, but each class will have students and friends from that class who appear in the assignment. It’s even better if you can integrate a student’s interests into the assignment. If you know that Sarah plays soccer, and Michael plays the violin, use that knowledge to pull them in even more!
Getting personal with students also allows us to build relationships with them. You can add your own personality and interests into the assignments alongside your student’s interests. They will feel a connection (just don’t allow your interests to overpower the kids!). Building relationships is one of our school improvement goals. By working to make classes more personal and relevant, students will be more connected to the content, which will help them internalize the content and how it matters to their lives.
What have you done differently this year to connect with kids? Share some of the strategies that seem to be successful for you this school year.