Huh...What Did You Say? I Wasn't Listening?
Have you ever wondered how engaged your students really are? What are they thinking as you talk? Trying to reach out to them with your words to tell them everything they need to know.
This is exactly what I asked myself when I started working on my professional development plan this past fall. I wanted to know how I could increase student engagement and create an environment which supported independent thinking.
Now, it's important for you to know that I'm a reading interventionist. I have small groups in my own classroom with little to no distractions. Even when I do push into a classroom, I only work with 1 maybe 3 students at a time. You would think engagement would not be something I would have to focus on.
Well I do. I was finding students were working so hard trying to compensate for some sensory need they didn't have room in their executive functions to engage. They would act impulsively before I even finished giving directions because their auditory memory is only working at half speed and only heard "your going to circle..."
I knew I needed to do something different if I wanted to see things change. I began experimenting with my older students who could read well enough, by posting questions and directions on my walls, table, or even outside the door so they knew what to do when they walked in. I quit talking so much. I bit my tongue when they were making decisions that I knew weren't going to work.
Guess what, they figured it out on their own. They became problem solvers. They became more comfortable taking some risks because they knew they would eventually figure it out. I'm beginning to see some self regulated thinkers. Minds who ask questions when they need more information. Minds that ask for more when they've figured out step one and are ready for more.
Stay tuned for some of the activities that I used to create these engaged, independent- thinking, little minds.