student engagement

The Importance of Building Capacity in Schools

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There exists little evidence as to the direct effects school leaders have on student achievement (1). The reading expert Kelly Gallagher (2) asserts that the “Teacher is the X factor” in the classroom.  What, then, can school leaders and education researchers do to provide direction for a school improvement collaboration? We look to the context […]

5 Ways to Make Your Read-alouds Work!

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Reading aloud to kids is an experience that almost everyone who has spent time with children has in common. Whether you’re a veteran teacher or a teenage babysitter, you’ve probably touched the magic that we create when we take the time to read with kids. I’ve had some amazing experiences as a parent and a […]

Enjoyment: The Forgotten Lesson Plan Component

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I once taught in a school wher we had to use a standardized lesson plan template that was a helpful guide, but was pretty limited to just the basics. What was missing from that lesson plan template—and indeed from any lesson plan template that I have ever seen–is a section devoted to adding in enjoyment. […]

Learning Doesn’t Have to Stop When Teachers are Out Sick

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It has been a long time since I have had to take a day off for illness. In fact, I think the last time I was out sick was in 2011. I eat right, exercise, and take care of myself. My job comes with some stress, but usually not enough to wear me down. Like […]

5 Lessons from the Stage for Teachers

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Today I was working in a busy kindergarten classroom. I arrived to a room full of activity, bustling with energy, teaming with learning. The students were engaged at play, active and joyful with the noise of conversation and materials interacting. A group of boys had build and obstacle course/pathway and they were challenging themselves to […]

3 Easy Ways to Increase Student Engagement Today

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Have you seen the video games that kids play these days? They are absolutely amazing! Maybe not always appropriate, but amazing! I can remember when I thought that Atari’s Tanks and Space Invaders were incredible. And at the time, they were. Besides video games, kids today have access to technology the likes of which we […]

Oddly Enough…

…writing poetry can feel like doing ballet in a phone booth. Poetry. Boring? Government. Ordinary? Math. Lifeless? We think not. I had the pleasure this week of working with a diverse group of 42 secondary school teachers. They came from many different schools and taught a range of topics in Grades 8-12. The session was […]

6 Ways to Start the Year Off Right With Your Kids

Without a doubt the first few days of school are the most critical ones in helping to create the foundation of good human relationships with your students. Even the most skilled teacher in the pedagogical sciences of education will be less than effective if the kids don’t “like” them, yes, I said, “like them”. Now […]

3 Ways to Engage Kids Early

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My mantra is simple, “Where attention goes, energy flows”. Without a student’s authentic attention, you are basically swimming with no arms or legs in a choppy ocean of learning. Therefore, garnering student’s attention in the first few minutes of class as they walk in is perhaps your most important job as an educator. Setting the […]

5 Reasons to STOP Using Your Textbook

As I continue working with more and more teachers I’m often surprised at how many I still see “page turning” to plan instruction. “Page turning” is a form of lesson planning that a teacher uses, that is simply opening a textbook and continuing where they left off during the last lesson. Now don’t get me […]

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