How to Get AND Keep Students Engaged Right Away!

Calling all teachers who want to have students engaged right away and STAY engaged! 

In this post, we'll explore some tips on how you can build strong relationships with your students. By doing so, you'll be able to keep them engaged and interested in what you're teaching them. It's essential to find ways to connect with your students and create a positive learning environment. So, let's dive in and see how you can achieve this goal!

You know how it is, right? Nobody wants to just dive headfirst into things as soon as they walk through the door at school, work, or wherever. Even I need a minute to chat with a coworker, sip my coffee, or just chill before I start my tasks for the day. It's only fair to give our students the same consideration.

If we want our students to really thrive, we have to build solid connections with them. Simply giving out assignments and stuff isn't going to cut it.

Check out these fun ideas on how to start the class period AND build relationships at the same time. 

*These ideas have been tested, tried and true for my 7th Grade ELA classes*
  1. Podcast Sharing: I really enjoy listening to podcasts and wanted to introduce my students to this world. We listened to episodes from the engaging "6-Minute Podcast" by Gen Z Media. We'd listen to one daily, sometimes two, on special occasions. This podcast has an intriguing storyline and is suitable for their age.
  2. Weekly Discussion: I incorporated a fun weekly discussion called "Question of the Day." I'd ask light and enjoyable questions like "Agree or Disagree" or "This or That." These questions sparked interesting conversations among students. Examples include: Is a hotdog a sandwich? Fries or Onion Rings?
  3. Chapter Dive-In: Every Friday, I'd kick off the day with "First Chapter Friday." We'd read the opening chapter of a book together, sometimes available on YouTube. It was a great way to engage students in literature.
  4. Word Puzzle Challenge: To promote critical thinking and vocabulary growth, I'd play "Wordle" with students. Using the New York Times, I created a Wordle board on the whiteboard, fostering problem-solving skills.
  5. Connections Game: Inspired by the New York Times, I adapted a game to enhance student understanding. I'd write 16 words on the board and challenge them to group them in fours, identifying the connections between the words. This was a helpful review or preview activity.
  6. Daily Celebrations: I'd explore "National Celebrations" or "National Days" with students. By clicking a link to the day's celebration, we'd have interesting conversations and could even create quick activities around these unique events.
  7. Fact Sharing: Similar to the daily question, I'd share a "Fact of the Day" with the class. These facts could be random, student-contributed, or related to our current unit. It was an easy yet enjoyable way to engage them.
  8. Geography Preview: Before starting a new unit or book, I'd play a game called "Where in the World is [My Name]?" I'd drop hints daily that related to the upcoming topic or setting of the story. This activity not only introduced fun facts but also served as a preview for our next subject.
  9. Friday Song Tradition: Inspired by a colleague, I introduced a fun and lighthearted tradition called "Who Let the Dogs Out." Every Friday, we'd sing and bark along to the song, creating an enjoyable atmosphere that the students looked forward to.

This is just a short list of all the short activities you can do to start your class. Pick and choose and adapt to fit your personality! What would you add to the list?

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