“Brick & Mortar” Engagement Strategies

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Week 4 Demonstration of Engagement Practices:

From icebreakers to methods to gauge depth of understanding, these active learning techniques will get your students out of their seats and involved in the topic at hand. Here are a few that we covered:

  1. Continuum Walk/Line: line up in order of experience (we did years teaching at Valencia, then total years teaching), or how strongly you agree/disagree on a controversial topic (legalizing ____).
  1. Koosh – toss the koosh to student; they must share either something positive that happened to them, or something they learned in class that they were able to apply
  1. Body Sort – ice-breaker activity to find differences and commonalities, seek to understand each other better. Examples:

Geographic: home location to campus, birthplace relative to Orlando;

     Personality: toilet paper (top or bottom), money in your wallet

     Interests: divide by academic major, hobbies, sports teams, Mac/PC

  1. Four Corners Walk (Stand Where You Stand) Label each corner of room and force students to commit to one position or answer.

I use this every semester in teaching types of specifications; each student reads an abbreviated spec for a building material, and must choose what type it is by standing under that label. This has proven an effective method for teaching, and the students remember the sign labels when recalling the four types.

  1. Cold Calling – cold-call on students to force them to answer and stay engaged (not just the hand-raisers)
  1. No Opt Out – follows four basic formats:

Instructor provides answer; student repeats answer

Another student provides answer; initial student repeats answer

Instructor provides hint; student uses hint to find answer

Another student provides hint; initial student uses hint to find answer

  1. I Don’t Know ­ YET!

Have students articulate what they don’t know YET (can be written on card or post-it) – helps to gauge what they still desire to learn, what has not YET been covered in enough detail.

  1. Entrance Tickets – “based on readings/homework for today’s topic, what is your understanding of ___?”
  1. Exit Tickets – similar to Muddiest Point or 1 minute paper, collect student feedback or reflection on specific topics covered in class.

Advantages include getting feedback from all students, provides prompts for future discussions, immediate feedback on lesson plan.

10. Wait Time – studies show the time you wait for an answer is much shorter than you think; force yourself to count the seconds, and most of the time, the braver students will finally make a stab at it. One participant hums the theme to Jeopardy!, which bothers the students enough to want to answer quickly.

11. Fist of Five (hold up 1 to 5 digits to gauge level of understanding).

OTHERS: Think With a Pen & other CAT’s;


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