Megan Burchett

Increasing student engagement with Deeper Learning tools

Even though we teach very different subject areas (mathematics and health/physical education), we are experiencing the same types of behaviors from our middle school students.  In any classroom regardless of subject area, teachers hope to have high engagement and interaction among students with teachers, peers, and content.  Having a high level of engagement coincides with student growth and success over time.  We have identified a problem amongst our middle school students in that only a few students are eager to participate in class discussions or solving problems.  In an attempt to increase the number of students to participate in discussions and sharing of ideas, we have each chosen a specific Deeper Learning tool to implement: MVP (Most Valuable Point) and Community Circle.  Both of these tools can be helpful in discussing and retaining content knowledge, but the methodology is exactly what we were looking for in terms of increased participation and boosting confidence in all students to respond and share with peers.  We developed a survey to rank aspects of classroom environment from students’ perspective.  Some of the prompts were as follows: “What I learn in school is interesting”, “I enjoy the work I do in school”, “I’m bored in school”, and “I give my best effort in school”.  All of these prompts were ranked on a Likert scale of never, only sometimes, most of the time, and all of the time.  Our respective survey results showed that students do enjoy what they learn at school “most of the time” and enjoy the work they do “most of the time” after the introduction and initial implementation of the MVP and Community Circle tools.  As teachers and learners of our profession and classroom inhabitants, we will adapt to their needs and make changes to embed these tools in the most effective ways to increase the survey results toward “all of the time” taking the highest ranking percentage within the results.  We hope to share these tools with our colleagues and have data to support the positive use and impact of the tools on our students.

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