Tag Archives: Engagement

Heinemann Fellow Hollis Scott: Fostering Engagement and Independence in the Classroom

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Imagine a lesson that is accessible to all levels of learners. Students are actively engaged and believe their voices matter. Imagine a lesson where students have easy-to-use structures in place that support independence and thinking dispositions such as curiosity, open-mindedness, reflection, critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. As students collaborate, they realize learning is not just an individual process driven by the teacher but a social endeavor where understanding grows from a community of students making their thinking visible to one another. Last, imagine a lesson where you have time to observe students closely, reflect on their thinking and learning, and create curriculum that truly grows from their needs and interests.

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Pop Culture as a Point of Engagement

Patricia Vitale-Reilly asks: What resonates most with students around the games that they play? Is it the element of challenge? Working through mastery and control?

In the video below, Patty talks about how drawing in elements of popular culture, namely technology and gamification, provides more ways to achieve a variety of purposes in your classroom. As you listen, consider how you might have conversations with your students about what pulls them toward popular games so you can discover how to parallel this approach in your classroom.  

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Patricia Vitale-Reilly on Classroom Rituals

The tone of the classroom is a determining factor for student engagement. It is the vibe of the room – the spirit –  that can truly make the difference when a cultivating a positive learning environment. Listen to Patricia Vitale-Reilly share the ways in which she cultivates a positive classroom tone through risk taking and rituals.

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Considering the Cognitive Classroom Environment

Engaging Every Learner author Patricia Vitale-Reilly believes that a classroom environment includes physical, cognitive and emotional space.  In her video below, she explains that the cognitive environment is the “minds-on” environment of learning and is sometimes overlooked.

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Patricia Vitale-Reilly: Choice in Process

Patricia Vitale-Reilly, author of Engaging Every Learner, wants to push back against the decreasing amount of choice she sees in classrooms today. Utilizing the lenses of content, process, and product, as defined by author and differentiation expert Carol Tomlinson, Patricia shares that choice in process allows students to find what really works for them in a given context.

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Nine “Look Fors” in the Elementary Math Classroom

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By Sue O’Connell and John SanGiovanni, adapted from A Guide for Administrators, part of the new Math in Practice resource


What do we hope to see and hear when we step into a math classroom? As our focus has shifted from memorizing to understanding and from calculating to applying, we have recognized instructional strategies that are better suited to these goals.

As we observe math classrooms, we look for evidence that teaching is more than delivering a textbook lesson. We look at the interactions between teacher and students, the on-the-spot decisions made by the teacher to keep learning progressing, and the ways in which the teacher brings math ideas to light through talk, visuals, and making connections to past learning. More specifically, here are some key features we would hope to see in an effective math classroom.

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