One of the greatest challenges of teaching is how to assist students in owning the learning. Instruction must be broken up into sections interspersed with strategies to engage the learning. If one takes a trip to Mrs. Regan’s first grade at Cardinal, it is easy to see how students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning through engagement in the process. Partner reading with the books – I Read to You and You Read to Me – creates an atmosphere of shared reading. AND it’s a whole lot of fun! There are a variety of these types of materials up through high school, at the higher end known as Poems in Two Voices. At the upper level, it is a great process writing piece as students write their own – Reading in Two Voices – to review concepts being taught. These types of materials keep students focused so as not to miss their reading cue and assists with fluency in reading.
Another strategy to keep students engaged are hands-on materials that students can manipulate and share. Mrs. Regan ordered some of her materials from TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS. These materials are reasonably priced and allow for selection as to what would best meet the needs of students. If a teacher is creative, s/he can upload their own materials they have created and earn a little money by allowing others to purchase them. It is a great form of collaboration and sharing along with compensation for hard work well done.
To add to student engagement, there are partner reads, turn and share with a partner, mind streaming (where each takes a turn summarizing what they have learned), walk and talk (walk while music is playing and when the music stops, talk to the person by you). Teachers need to continually add to their tool box of ways to intersperse instruction with student engagement. The CRISS manual is a great resource for other ideas to engage learners. Students will be so happy a teacher has included them in the process!