Monday, November 18, 2013

iTIP of the Week: Active Participation

Hi all!

Here is your iTIP of the week!

Active Participation

Madeline Hunter called it "Active Participation." Today, people are using the term "Engagement." My grandmother, for years, called the thing I was sitting on a davenport, when I knew quite well it was a couch. It doesn't matter what you call it; they are the same!

And whether you say "Active Participation" or "Engagement," the important thing is that it is present throughout your lesson.

What is it?

Active Participation is the continual involvement of all students throughout the entire lesson. Their involvement can be overt (observed) or covert (thinking) but it cannot just be assumed. Students should be "doing the doing" and thinking and learning should be visible. This is why covert AP should always be followed with overt AP. They need the think-time, but you can't get inside their heads.

As a matter of fact, I think Active Participation is a better phrase than "Engagement." The reason for this is that people often misinterpret politeness as engagement. Just because kids are staring at you and not talking doesn't mean they are listening to a word you are saying. This video totally makes my point:

Why is it important?
The US Department of Education, along with the National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance, published a report in 2008 "Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices." In this report, they listed five recommendations for increasing literacy in adolescents:
  1. Provide Explicit Vocabulary Instruction
  2. Provide Direct and Explicit Comprehension Strategy Instruction
  3. Provide Opportunities for Extended Discussion of Text Meaning and Interpretation
  4. Increase Student Motivation and ENGAGEMENT in Literacy Learning
  5. Make Available Intensive and Individualized Interventions for Struggling Readers That Can Be Provided By Trained Specialists.
This report listed the level of evidence for Increasing Engagement as "moderate" yet it is still powerful enough to reach the top five!

Further, John Hattie identified Engagement with a .48 effect size on student achievement in his meta-analysis, Visible Learning.

Some Strategies

How do you increase student engagement so all are "doing the doing?" Here are a few:
  1. Add a pair/share element to every question and draw Popsicle sticks to choose the answerer. Be sure to ask the question FIRST, provide the pair/share, then draw the stick. This way, EVERYONE is accountable for the answer.
  2. Power Sentences: One sentence "journals" using complete sentences and academic language. Have them pair/share their answers verbatim for more power!
  3. Graphic Organizers for notes, videos, lectures.
  4. Cloze Reading
  5. Choral Responses (both verbal and physical)
There are so many more! Just remember that Active Participation/Engagement is students speaking, writing, creating, or DOING!

Have a happy day!

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