Student Engagement

As part of the TDE law, Districts are asked to gather data related to student engagement.  To that end, staff have been receiving bi-weekly emails explaining strategies to increase student engagement.  Those strategies are curated below.

Paired Share/ Paired Response:

One of the easiest and most commonly used methods of increasing response rates is to do a quick pair share.  Pose a question to the class, invite students to lean in to someone near them and discuss the question and then follow up by either asking for pairs to share (paired response), asking for a few volunteers to share, or moving on to the next question because as students were talking, you moved around the room listening in to what students were saying. 

Response Cards: 

The teacher asks students to write their answers on boards and reveal the responses simultaneously.  As a teacher, you can see all responses and know who’s on track and if there’s a need for full group reteaching or if a small group revisit will suffice.  If you don’t have small white boards, any form of moveable surface will work – iPads, Chromebooks, even cardstock in sheet protectors works!  While this may not work for higher level thinking questions, it is a way to engage all of your learners in building the foundation leading to those kinds of questions.

Choral Response:

With choral response, you will present critical information in a clear and concise statement and ask the class to repeat the information as a group.  This typically works with short responses.  I’ve linked a quick one page article from this site for additional information if you’re interested.

Hand Signals:

When asking a question that has a limited number of responses, ask all students to respond non-verbally.  For example, students could show their level of understanding using a thumbs-up, thumbs-down or thumbs-sideways.  Another approach could be to evaluate their understanding using rubric language.  You could ask students to show 3 fingers if they meet a particular set of criteria, show 2 if they meet a subset of that criteria and one if they don’t meet any of the indicated criteria.  Here are two quick videos from the Teaching Channel that offer additional ways to use hand signals to increase student engagement.  Video 1  Video 2
One more way to consider using hand signals is to invite student to reflect on their engagement and share how they’re doing.  3 – fully engaged, 2 – my energy is dropping but I’m still with you, 1 – I need a break to refresh and re-engage.

Elaborative Interrogation:

1. Invite students to consider a question related to your content.
2. Invite a student to answer.
3. Follow up by asking, “How do you know that to be true?” or “Why is that so?” or “What evidence do you have to support your idea?”

If your goal is to have more students engaged in the discourse, it will be helpful for students to work in pairs or threes as you move from group to group using the elaborative interrogation process.

Calling on students randomly (without popsicle sticks):

1. Invite students to do a quickwrite asking about prior knowledge related to the day’s learning target.  This could be a question you pose as an anticipatory set at the beginning of the lesson or as a mid-point check in during class. 2. Collect all of the quickwrites. 3. As you invite students to consider questions, randomly draw quickwrite(s) to choose students who will respond. Quickwrites can be replaced with drawings, homework assignments, exit slips from the day before… there are lots of variations possible!

Response Chaining:

1. Begin by posing a question and then call on a student to answer. 
2. After answering the question, call on another student to tell if he/she thinks the answer is:   
Correct. If so, the student must tell why it is correct.
Partially correct. If so, the student must tell which part is correct and what content  needs to be added to make the answer correct . 
Incorrect. If so, the student must give the correct answer. 
3. If the second student corrected the answer of the first student, call on a third student to comment on the answer given by the second student. For more information on response chaining, visit this site: