Even we as adults know how easy it is to get distracted from the task at hand (hello iPhone!)—so, it’s easy to understand when your students get their attention pulled away by other students, outside events and classroom interruptions. But, in order to make the most of your lessons, it’s essential that you keep your students focused so they can learn. Here are a few simple ways to keep them engaged in what your teaching.
- Start every lesson with a warm-up activity (Click FREE DOWNLOADS below for “DAILY WARM UPS”). Whether it’s a quick story, a game or a problem for the students to solve, give them a bridge to help them transition to a new subject or lesson.
- Get your kids moving. Don’t just make them sit in one spot for an entire lesson. Instead, have them move to different areas of the classroom, do clapping or hand motions, switch tables or come up to the front to answer a question—you’ll find that the activity helps them to stay focused and stay on track.
- Remove the distractions. If a student is distracting other students, move them. There is no use saying “settle down” or “stop talking” over and over—just calmly move the student to another part of the room and continue your lesson.
- Mix up your teaching strategies. One day do quiet class work, the next day go outside, the next watch videos, the next go to the computer lab. By varying your teaching strategies, you account for all different learning styles as well as keep the students engaged by teaching them new things in new ways.
- Have them collaborate. Have students work together in small groups to solve problems or complete an assignment. When each student is responsible for a particular task, no one is able to tune out or drift away.
- Ask questions more than you answer them. When your students ask a question, ask them a question right back—and encourage them to use their own problem solving skills to discover the answer.
- Keep your instructions simple but specific. Make sure you give your students specific, simple instructions for every task—and then make it your policy not to repeat yourself. Your students will learn very quickly to pay attention to you the first time you explain something.
- Choose people to answer questions at random. Every classroom has a few students who love to raise their hands and answer questions—but that doesn’t allow for equitable classroom participation. So, select students at random or draw names out of a cup as to who will answer questions in order to make sure that every student not only has the chance to answer, but will also be ready to answer at any given moment.
We’d love to know: How do you keep your students engaged?FREE DOWNLOADS: Daily Warm-Ups: Grades 1/2 – MATH / READING Grades 3/4 – MATH / READING Grades 5/6 – MATH / READING