Sunday, March 22, 2015

What PERCENTAGE is your class?

What PERCENTAGE is your class? No, I'm not talking about what ability level your class ranks in relation to your school, district, or the nation. I'm talking about what PERCENTAGE of your class is engaged in learning.

I've heard, along my way somewhere, a question that really struck  me. I believe it was at a Kagan training, so I'll give it my credit. :)

At any point in time, take a status check on the children in your classroom. What percent of your kiddos are engaged? 

Wow. What a statement. I love the way it simplifies the goal of active versus passive learning. Think about it- every student watching a movie? Maybe they are interested, but 0% engaged. Listening to a lecture? Maybe taking notes, but are they actively engaged? Nope. Completing a dictionary scavenger hunt with partners? NOW we have a 100% engaged!

What I've found is difficult to accommodate percentage wise is presenting students with new information. Engagement is easy to design with exploratory and skill building activities. However, taking notes or 'sit and get' do not encourage that. How can we, as educators, do this?

I asked myself this question as my kiddos and I were doing a SmartBoard activity. We had just learned about dictionary skills, and this was the second lesson. Questions were geared toward sorting words under guide words, alphabetizing, etc. As I had students come up to the board to answer the questions, I asked myself the question, "What percent of my class is engaged right now?" Sadly, it was about a kid every minute (to come up and answer a question). So about 5%. I asked myself, "How can I make my percentage higher?"

"Okay y'all! I want everyone to take out their iPads. Open up any whiteboard app (Educreations, ShowMe, even PicCollage)."

As each question came up, students input their answer on their own iPad. I walked around the room to check for comprehension. As an added bonus, I was able to have mini conferences with students to discuss a wrong answer and how to get to the correct one. I found my kiddos were also excited to design the page.. some even went to the Internet to find 'fancy' forms of letters to answer the questions. I would have never thought of that in a thousand years. I suppose that is part of the beauty of giving kiddos freedom in showing their understanding. :)

With this small tweak, having each kiddo individually answer questions on their iPads instead of one kiddo coming up to answer questions on the SmartBoard, my percentage was upped by 95%. I will continue strive to up that percentage in my classroom.

How about y'all? What do you do to encourage active learning in the classroom? I'd love to hear some ideas! :)


Post a Comment