student engagement: Keep your students learning and increase student engagement in your kindergarten classroom with these 3 easy tips and tricks.
Keeping students engaged in their learning can be a hard task. I know that some years, my students just seemed to come to school excited and ready to learn. There are other years though that I have struggled to keep them engaged.
How have I dealt with that second group? Here are some tips and ideas that you can try out with your students.
Follow Their Lead
When trying to get my students excited about their learning, I would make sure to follow their lead and extend their learning.
As an educator, I am always looking to my students and trying to figure out how to meet them where they are.
If they are interested in building, bring learning to the building center. Add new materials, challenges, provocations that will focus on skills that you want to build.
They like art? Bring in some new tools, inspiration, and other things that will have them learning new skills.
For young learners, engaging them means finding out what their interests are, and teaching using them. They will learn so much more when they like what they are doing, and they will stay engaged for longer periods of time.
I’ve always tried to describe getting students able to sit and learn for longer periods of time as ‘building their stamina’.
At the beginning of the school year, some of my students can barely sit and play for more than 5 minutes at a time. We work on being able to sit for longer stretches, and work on increasing their attention span.
Sometimes this just takes longer, and we need to build up to them being able to stay engaged at an activity for an extended period of time- and that’s okay. They are young, and it is not developmentally appropriate to expect them to sit and be engaged for an extended period of time.
Start with small, short tasks that do not take a lot of time, and build on their stamina throughout the year. Free choice centers are a great way to get students to work at their own pace.
You can find out more about how my classroom works in My Ultimate Guide to Kindergarten Centers.
As an educator, if you are excited about a topic, chances are that excitement is going to rub off on your students. Make sure that you share their enthusiasm for learning new skills.
Also, get excited when they accomplish something new, even if it is just sitting for more than 5 minutes at a learning center. Progress is progress!
I love that my kindergarten students are always so happy to come to school, and are interested in me and what I have to say. Use this to your advantage as an educator- your enthusiasm for a topic can lead them to new discoveries and learning opportunities.
If you enjoyed reading my tips for keeping students engaged, make sure you subscribe to my podcast. I discuss new topics every week, and reflect on what has worked or not worked in my classroom! Let me know what works for you and your classroom in the comments!
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