Active student involvement contributes to a well-managed classroom. As an educator, it is imperative to give students' brains a complete workout without having them tune out; the key is to keep a good balance between teacher talk and active involvement in the learning. Students don't always have to learn sitting in their seats. They can have choices in the way they learn—this makes it easier for them to engage in the lesson taking place.
In this video segment, a teacher compares providing choices to students to ordering off of a menu at a restaurant. Every child must do everything on the main dish portion of the menu, choose two things to do on the side dish, and then they can help themselves to dessert. After instructions are explained each student can choose a station/activity to participate in that piques his or her interest most. The menu approach to learning not only provides opportunities for choosing what, but also for choosing when; if a student wants to complete a "side dish" first he or she can, as long as the "main dish" is completed as well.
3rd grade teacher Natasha Taylor explains her experience with active student involvement, "Center time allows the kids to work independently, and it also gives them a choice of activity they would like to do for the afternoon. It to me creates a sense of responsibility; kids need to take responsibility for their learning and it gives them the opportunity to make choices, which is very important."
Use your PD 360 login and password to access the full video segment. If you do not have a login, you can follow the same link to sign up. Learn how to keep even the most challenging classroom in-line and engaged in this recent white paper from School Improvement Network: http://www.schoolimprovement.com/research/white-papers-brochures