Compliant but Engaged?

October 18th, 2017 by Jill Barclay

Yes, STEM is an acronym for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math; however, at the Kenan Summer Institute during one of our break-out sessions we learned it’s Strategies That Engage Minds. Last week as I visited classrooms at our school with my principal he made the comment students are compliant but he asked the question are they engaged? What does it take to engage students? Our students are able to explain what they are doing, but they are not sure why they are doing it.

We become focused on the content and leave out the strategies that excite, engage, and equip students to learn when we are planning. What strategies are being executed to keep students engaged in your classroom?

When I think about a new tool or strategy to engage students and help with with the “why” I go to the “Notice and Note” strategy, which is actually a literacy strategy used for informational and literature close reading. Signposts are used to increase understanding of text through “meaningful, interpretative, and evaluative analysis, discussion, and presentation.” They are points that stand out as important moments in the story providing insight into or raise questions. Signposts for literature include: contrasts & contradictions, words of the wiser, aha moment, again & again, memory moment, and tough questions. Signposts for informational text include: contrasts & contradictions, word gaps, numbers & stats, quoted words, and extreme/absolute language. We are finding our students are not thinking critically and Notice and Note will give students the tools they need to develop this 21st skill.

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