Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Monday, February 23, 2015

What Excites Students?

On a recent trip to Washington, DC with my sisters and niece, we visited the Natural History
Museum at the Smithsonian.  In addition to enjoying the exhibits, I was fascinated watching the
children around me.  No matter their age, they were excited and running from exhibit to exhibit.  Of course, the preserved and replicated animals themselves were so different and motivating, it's easy to see why kids would be excited.  But it also made me wonder, how do we lose this in our classrooms?

I think part of it is that so much of what we do has little to do with students' curiosities.  We teach our standards, and don't always show the link between those standards and real life.  It's also easy to get so caught up in "keeping the pace" that we don't slow down and help students really understand what they are learning.  And, finally, I'm not sure we always create engaging activities for students.  I'm not talking about being a circus performer; I'm simply recommending we find ways for students to be involved, rather than just sitting and listening. So, here's my top three tips for exciting and engaging students:

1.  Show students value and they get excited.
2.  Help them understand and they feel successful.
3.  Get them engaged, and they stay out of trouble!

What are your tips?

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