5 Fun Student Engagement Activities
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How To Keep Your Students Focused And Engaged

The COVID pandemic caused a lot of changes in education, and one of the most common and drastic was the move to the virtual classroom. There were some benefits to remote schooling, such as disruptive students not having the space to act up, but for the general student, there was added difficulty when it came to remaining focused and interested from afar. As many students are moving back to the classroom amidst vaccinations and pushes for in-class education, in-class engagement techniques should be polished and ready to use, as there is most likely a lot of time to make up with students who have been out of the classroom for nearly a year.

Achieve Student Engagement With These Activities

Here are 5 activities to get your students interested as they hit the home stretch of their school years and make their way back into the classroom.

1. Play Games

The good part about games is most of them can be molded for a digital classroom. Many schools are using a hybrid setup, while parents decide if they want their kids to go back to the crowded hallways. Classic in-person interaction games like trivia or book-based scavenger hunts are still great options, but utilizing technology can make these games a little more interactive as well. 84% of U.S. teenagers have smartphones, and the purpose that app-based games can serve is two-fold, as questions and answers can be looked at later as a means of studying.

2. Be Cool

It is always tough to toe the line between strict and overbearing when dealing with classroom behavior, but it should be understood that the last year was absolutely horrible for many families. Jobs were lost, lives were lost, fear was constant and money (often) was not. With that, as you transition back into some form of normalcy, understanding that some of your students underwent more difficult situations than others is important, as to not push them away to a point where they are every bit as removed from the classroom while in it as they were when they were studying from their homes.

So how do you do this? An easy way is to continue to incorporate technology to help students feel engaged. “Virtual learners can sometimes feel like they are on an island, listening to a single talking head,” says Dr. Dustin York an associate professor and the director of undergraduate and graduate communications at Maryville University. “Using technology, educators can lean into strategies used on Twitch and Youtube Live to surge attention and engagement. Consider free tools like OBS or subscriptions like Streamlabs Prime. Try strategies like one number chat prompts for quick, low stakes engagement.

It’s been a tough year for everyone so take a little bit of extra time to consider your students. Remember, empathy often equals engagement.

3. Be Creative With Repetition

Repetition brings with it another difficult line to toe, and many students need it for success, but many students do not, which causes them to lose interest. Re-learning things in new ways is a good way to achieve this. Even focusing on the same information while utilizing some of the different tactics on this list can help! Because of the differences in learning abilities among students, honing this skill should be a major focal point of any teacher’s professional development [1] from year to year. Diversification means more learner engagement and, finally, success for students!

Here are some ideas for creative repetition:

  • Trivia games
    Some students thrive on competition, and if the environment is not competitive, they can struggle to find motivation in their studies. Trivia games are a great way to get the minds of competitive students racing.
  • Act it out
    This is dependent upon subject matter, but for things like history or science, charades-esque games are a nice way to stimulate students’ minds.
  • Write the test
    Quizzing each other is a pretty classic means of review, but some teachers succeed when allowing their students to actually come up with test questions. It also helps teachers determine where overall knowledge or interest may be lacking (i.e., students don’t ask any questions from a given section of material).

4. Maintain Some Tech Usage

The business industry mimicked that of education during COVID when many jobs became remote, just like learning. A trend in business, as the pandemic comes to an end, is that parts are going to remain online. Following this model can be beneficial for students as well, especially those who excelled in the remote learning setting. Maintaining a level of reachability via digital means like Zoom even when students are back in the classroom only helps their engagement.

5. Make It Comfy

One thing that almost all students reported as enjoying about remote school was being in the comfort of their own homes. Few people will disagree that reading a book on your couch is less convenient than reading it at a plastic desk. If your school allows it, making the classroom a bit more home-like may help with their transition back to regularity. Bean bag chairs are great, inexpensive alternatives to desks, and even just yoga mats for a chance to stretch out during study periods.

References:

[1] Professional Development Resources for Teachers

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