This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Week 1B (Sept. 26 to Oct. 3)- Exploring Engagement Through Others

Pick one article to read (or more) and use the comment feature to share what you notice about the definitions of engagement presented by different folks:

Sound Out: Student Voice in Schools by Adam Fletcher-
What do you think about the ideas for student voice and involvement in this article? Could any of these ideas be developed in your learning environment?

Using Student Engagement to Improve Adolescent Literacy
From Learning Point Associates (all rights reserved)
. This handout discusses elements of engagement for adolescent literacy instruction.  What are the core ideas about engagement in this article?

Using Positive Student Engagement to Increase Student Achievement from The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, Learning Point Associates (all rights reserved).Overview of student engagement and the elements the author believes go into making engagement occur. What elements does this author name?  Do you agree with each element?

26 Keys to Student Engagement by Angela Maiers Educational Services Inc. (all rights reserved). Which letter of the alphabet jumped out at you and why? Do you agree with all the keys?

 Blog on whose responsibility is engagement from the blog: From the Desk of the Principal. 

 Boring your Students? some relevant thoughts about engagement from Michael Linsen at Smart Classroom Management.

Had to share this one.  This is worth some discussion.  Be sure to read the comments as well as the post.  Engagement is not a goal.  Generation Yes Blog by Sylvia Martinez.

Task Discussion

  • Tasha Martin   Oct. 10, 2011, 10:57 p.m.

    I apologize for the lateness of this post.  I had surgery and have recovered and am looking forward to catching up.


    After reading all the articles, I would like to focus on "Teacher Behaviors That Lead To Actively Engaged Learning".


    Although I find discussion a great way to collaborate and come to a consensus, I find that I did not feel that engagement was truly defined as it was conceptualized.  After reading all the articles I feel that there are concepts that the definitions are environmental.  By this I mean engagement in one classroom, while conveying some of the same concepts, may have a different process and outcome than another and otherwise difficult to give a specific definition. 

    I do however, love the comments on the teacher's own passion and the appropriate relationship formed with the students.  I believe these are two of the most important aspects an engaging person needs  to have whether they are engaging students, employees, or a congregation.  If you have no passion for what you are doing or do not take the time to get to know your audience a detachment will be formed rather than an interest and egagement.

    While I believe that engagement may be hard to give an exact definition, I do believe that together people with a common audience may find the best ways to engage their audience together.  This is one of the reasons why I am so excited about this class.  I know that I will learn great amounts of knowledge from my peers.

  • Julie Berlin   Oct. 10, 2011, 5:11 p.m.

    Sorry I am so behind.  Last week was so crazy and this one is shaping up to be the same.  Has anyone figured out how to add a couple more hours to each day?  I need them


    I'd like to respond to the first article Defining Student Engagement :  A literature review by Adam Fletcher.  As I stated earlier in one of my posts, I think defining engagement is going to be a difficult task.  I know engagement when I see it, moreover, feel it.  I consider myself extremely knowledgeable in engagement strategies so I feel confident I know how to engage kids.  For the most part, my students are engaged in my lessons.  I know that there is a great challenge in assessing student engagement and there are lots of programs out there who try.  Our district has recently adopted the work of Dr. Jerry Valentine and his IPI method.  While I am a certified evaluator of his rubric and have done walk throughs, I am not 100% convinced he's hit the nail on the head when it comes to the indicators on his rubric.  That said, I do think, at least it's an attempt to get our teachers thinking about what engagement might and should look like.

    I did like the ABC listings of student engagement.  Having the knowledge and experience I have in this area, I felt compelled to think about what I might say for each letter.  Here are just a few that stood out immediately.  B stands for BRAIN BREAKS...short little energizers that let the brain recharge helps the kids remained engaged and on task.  Wouldn't teach without using them.  For the letter H, I would write HUMOR.  Appropriate use of humor goes a long way with kids.  When did school stop being fun?  What's wrong with laughing a little bit?  The letter M would have to be for MOVEMENT.  Get those kids moving.  Stand up, move around, talk to someone else.  Just standing brings oxygen and glucose to the brain.  How many of us like to sit for hours on end (in those litle plastic chair no less) without getting up for a stretch.  Our kiddos are no different.  For the letter N, I would definitely use NOVELTY.  We all love novelty.  It tickles our brains and says, "Hey, this is different.  Pay attention to this." 

  • Michele   Oct. 8, 2011, 2:08 a.m.

    I absolutely love the articlce "Boring your Students". First of all, I am still young enough to understand what it is to be from this generation where we demand instant gratification. I remember not too long ago wanting to engage in adventurous activites all the time.

    I am so excited about being a first year teacher and I love teaching Math and Science but I I have been having trouble getting to the content. It is getting easier in some of my classes but in others it is really difficult to get their attention.

    They are always in the mood for entertainment. Although I have the kind of personality that likes to entertain others and make them laugh sometimes I wonder if I am not a good teacher because of this. I have told some of my students that I feel more like a comedian or some kind of clown rather than a teacher because we spend most of the class laughing about things.

    This article made me realize that I could find a healthy balance between teaching and grabbing their attention by using some of the techniques that I already use to build relationships with them. I liked this reading because it validated my style of teaching and makes me feel more professional about being an entertaining kind of teacher.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 8, 2011, 5:38 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Michele   Oct. 8, 2011, 2:08 a.m.

    Welcome Michele,

    No problem with your late start.  I am impressed that a first year teacher is finding the time to participate at all.  We are so happy to have you here.


    Engagement is big, I believe.  I am so glad you are examining it now.  I can tell you are reflective by your willingness to examine your teaching style.  I am glad you do not want to give up the humor and relationship part, as I have come to believe the rapport and relationship part of classroom engagement is the rich soil that content engagement grows within. I am so happy you will look for balance instead.


  • Jessica Powell   Oct. 3, 2011, 3:21 p.m.

    In regards to the article, "Using Positive Student Engagement to Increase Student Achievement" I wholeheartedly agree that "students learn more and retain more information when they actively participate in the learning process and when they can relate to what is being taught." This is something that seems very obvious, but it is not always easy to explain to students. I know that when teaching history, students don't always understand why they need to know about certain people or battles. What they don't realize is that they are learning more than just content, but rather higher level thinking skills. While history is important to learn in order to understand cultural differences and how and why things are the way they are, in reality, students are also learning how to evaluate cause and effect, how to understand timelines, and how it relates to events. Getting students to understand that these skills are necessary for everyday life: evaluating cause and effect for their own actions or for current events that will affect their future and also understanding timelines – preparing students to see the relevance of how schedules influence their life is not always easy.

    Even so, when students do understand these key points, it makes learning easier for them. Students become engaged when they realize its importance. The students who immerse themselves in learning tend to understand these concepts. (Or at least when they realize that it will benefit them in some way.)

    As this article also states, student learning deals with teacher support. When I was a building sub, there were times when students would do work for me when they wouldn't do work for their regular teacher due to the fact that they knew that I cared what they learned. I had a student say to me, "I'll do the work for you because I know you want me to do well. So-and-so just likes watching me fail, so I don't bother." While obviously this was not the case with their teacher, it was obvious that this teacher and student pair had had hardships and the student was under the impression that her teacher didn't care for her, when in reality the teacher was just frustrated that she couldn't figure out how to engage the student.

    In regards to the article "26 Keys to Student Engagement" (though it seems to me more like the ABCs of Student Engagement...), the list entails detailed explanations of why and how educators can engage students. I enjoyed this article which was informative, yet to the point (and as an East Asian enthusiast, I really enjoyed the Japanese reference to kaizen or  改善, which is in fact, a very good practice that encourages the great to become even greater). I also really enjoyed the fact that it talked about bringing the outside into the classroom. I have always enjoyed learning more about my students and know that when you can connect to the students, it helps show them that you care. It also makes it easier for a teacher to relate what they are teaching back to the students' daily lives.

    In sum, these articles expect teachers to show that they care about students, and that by learning more about our students, teachers can more effectively show students why it is important for them to learn what is being taught, leading to students naturally wanting to become more engaged.

  • Rasika   Oct. 3, 2011, 2:29 a.m.

    I read all the recommended.  I think teaching to the heart, building a relationship of trust and developing students confidence are the most important.  Later, authenticity and collaboration.  Although engagement in class should not be a goal, engagement in the task should be.  I agree that using techniques just to get student's attention, entertaining them, etc are not useful.  But we must design the learning tasks carefully so they are authentic and require collaboration with timely feedback on whether students are on the right track, will keep students engaged.

    Where I work, parents have very high expectations and students are motivated by marks and want to do well, the challenge is in getting them to learn with understanding.

    It must be difficult for students moving from lesson to lesson, keeping up their motivation in learning through the day.  One teacher at my school asks students to write up mind maps of things on their minds that they bring to the classroom so they can then put it aside and focus on her lesson.  She says it works for most. For a lot of them its a worry that they may not learn everything they are expected to and this worry sometimes blocks the learning.


  • Deya Castilleja   Oct. 2, 2011, 2:39 p.m.

    After reading Adam Fletcher's text I kept thinking about how hard it is to assess student engagement if, for starters, we might have different concepts about the term and not the right tools to evaluate it.

    I think what is up to the teacher is to try, and in order to try, we need to know the students, be creative and take risks.
    Currently I work with teachers, I conduct online workshops, and I can honestly say some days I just want to give up because I feel like I cannot engage my students. Sometimes is matter of time, but some others, no matter how hard I try, the participation is none. (I have a feeling they are drinking coffee and watching tv at the same time).
    I agree with the document in the sense that there is so much to analyze in regards to student engagement. I also think the school as institution has ways to go to be relevant and to become the satisfactor of a need for the students -no matter the level-. We need to be able to answer the old question, why should I go to school?
    The disaffection behaviors listed represent a huge challenge for a single teacher to solve, I even wonder if it is up to the teacher to solve them. This particular term has impacted me a lot and is something I will consider next time I feel like at the other side of the screen, my students are playing solitaire while listening to me or to their colleagues. What can I do to affect you? So much to think about! 
    I also read Silvia Martinez's blog and It made me reflect about what is behind my purpose as a teacher to engage my students in a certain activity/subject. I think at the end of the day what I want is to promote independent learning, critical thinking, self-awareness, and those might not show up in the way of rising hands, expressing ideas in front of the classroom or singing out loud. I think one of my problem is that I'm reducing engagement to certain behaviors and it takes more than a test to assess those. 
  • Tom   Oct. 4, 2011, 1:29 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Deya Castilleja   Oct. 2, 2011, 2:39 p.m.

    Thanks Deya, I found your post thoughtful and also face adults who one would think should be engaged but during professional development seminars or classes are far more concerned with websites and text messaging. I have a feeling this is an issue we will all need to learn to deal with as our students are (or become) connected all day long. I liked the emphasis put in the article on building a relationship with students. We've found in our schools how important that factor is--knowing that a teacher likes you, cares about your growth, is interested in who you are and what you can do often works wonders in helping to build a sense of engagment. Nevertheless, I do agree as you put it. it does indeed take more than a test to assess engagement.

  • Tracy Q   Oct. 10, 2011, 9:30 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tom   Oct. 4, 2011, 1:29 a.m.

    In my experiences of teaching adult learners they can be down right rude and display behaviors they would never allow in their own students.  It is difficult to make adult learners understand that respect is a two way street at times and I am sure that is discouraging to others in the same seminar or class also.

  • karen   Oct. 11, 2011, 2:20 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Deya Castilleja   Oct. 2, 2011, 2:39 p.m.

    This conversation about engaging adults (especially teachers in PD settings) is very interesting to me, as it's how I spend a lot of my time doing this myself.

    I find a huge spectrum -- from teachers who are highly engaged and spending a lot of their own time advancing their own learning to those who are... well, not engaged and are sometimes hinder the rest of the group's learning.

    One thing I have found is that those who are paid a lot of attend PD sometimes seem the least engaged. Do you all find that? On the other hand, incentives to attend seem important as well. What is the right balance?

    What else do you find helps engage (or not) teachers in their own professional learning?

    This is something we are thinking a lot about here on P2PU as we look at expanding.

    Fyi, we are going to have a webinar to talk about online learning for teachers on Tues., Oct. 18 at 5pm EDT (2pm PDT). Would love to see you there.

  • Noah Koch   Oct. 2, 2011, 1:38 p.m.

    I read the article "26 Keys to Student Engagement". Some of her points seemed very common sense, however they're not seen enough. For example, Feedback, something American schools lack a lot today. It's much easier for a teacher of 100 students to just put in a grade into powerschool and just leave it at that. Sometimes bad grades will get feedback, but good grades hardly ever get feedback. She puts it in a way of great job, here's why. It reinforces what they were doing right, not only for that extra pat on the back but also for future reference of what the student needs to continue to do. I also feel it puts more weight on the teacher, so they can thoroughly think through if that student is really deserving of the grade they're getting.

    Two more points I thought she really hit on well, Authenticity (I would better call this application) and Collaboration. I think authenticity can be best applies to mathematics. Everything I'm learning in calculus is just a formula, just a number, it means absolutely nothing to me. Give me something to associate each formula with, even if the chance of me using it for that reason (or any other reason) is slim to none, have something I can apply it to in real life. 

    The other bit being collaboration, now that computers are entering the scene, the use of collaboration seems to being use more and more. But we need to make sure students are knowing their classmates well enough, that's what I love about 'name games', otherwise what little collaboration occurs will be abrupt and awkward. My school uses a modular scheduling system and often I'm stuck in a group full of people I don't know, none of us get much out of it because we're all rushing to get it over with. 

    All of her points were excellent, but those three seemed the most important.

  • Tracy Q   Oct. 2, 2011, 2:02 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Noah Koch   Oct. 2, 2011, 1:38 p.m.

    Really good points made here.

    I believe that students know when teachers are just going through the motions and authenticity is really important.  Working with a very at-risk population they have to know you care first in order for them to care and be engaged.

  • AnnetteV   Sept. 30, 2011, 5:14 a.m.

    The article "Defining Student Engagement: A literature review" written by Adam Fletcher refers to student engagement as being  "student’s willingness, need, desire and compulsion to participate in, and be successful in, the learning process."

    The above comment rang true for me as I observed and reflected on the engagement of my ESOL  reception class this week:

    My students have discovered "NEED" -  they  are finally realising the end of the year is amost upon them and they are all desperate to gain assessment credits before it is too late.  They have never before been so engaged in their work because as they say "the alligator is biting at their bottoms"! 

    We have been working towards a descriptive writing assessment.  All of a suddien the students have amped up their engagement in class - there is a sense of urgency.   They are  actually retaining the mini grammar revision lessons and enthusiatically writing formative descriptions in earnest!  They are taking notice of marking and one to one conferencing and acting upon advice given.  Their writing has never been better!! :)  Ah Ha moments everywhere!

    Now the summative assessments are taking place,  the students need to produce three pieces of writing.  We are all are getting great pleasure when a student achieves each piece of writing.  Success is infectious -  and our goal is almost reached.

    Assessment Credits (Motivation) + Limited Time (Urgency) = Student Engagement!!

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 11:40 p.m.
    In Reply To:   AnnetteV   Sept. 30, 2011, 5:14 a.m.

    Interesting formula for engagement, Annette: Assessment Credits (Motivation) + Limited Time (Urgency) = Student Engagement!!

    That is something I am going to think about and debate over, I believe.  I love when someone gives me something to ponder. 

    I have noticed that no one has attempted to actually edit the task one where I suggested we write the definition of engagement together.  I have decided to create a new task (optional) where I will begin posting some of the definitions that you all have been inserting into your comments.  Perhaps people will then do some editing and adding of their own until we come up with something.

    Thanks for pushing my thinking...

  • Abdoulaye DIOUF   Oct. 1, 2011, 7:28 a.m.
    In Reply To:   AnnetteV   Sept. 30, 2011, 5:14 a.m.

    Hi Annette

    I'm Abdoulaye DIOUF from Senegal, West Africa. I really like your point in the sense that my own students face the same situation they are only engaged when final year exams are getting near. But this engagement doesn't last long. The point for me is how to make them engaged in a different situation where there is no exam or credit to take, I mean we should beyond that present or spontaneous  need . To have such a situation, teachers should think of being a "sales representative". S/he succeeds in selling you things that you didn't like or need but he convinces you. Teachers should be actors or actresses to lead students into learning. 

    Thank you

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 1, 2011, 10:54 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Abdoulaye DIOUF   Oct. 1, 2011, 7:28 a.m.


    I have certainly found many of my "salepeople" or "actor" teachers to be charismatic and that seems to charm the students into engagement.  I seldom hear this spoken about when learning about student engagement, but I think it is an element worth exploring.  How do you think a teacher develops this end of sparking student engagement?


  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 1, 2011, 11:30 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Abdoulaye DIOUF   Oct. 1, 2011, 7:28 a.m.


    I was thinking, I know you are not there yet, but when you get to week 2 task 1, maybe you should add a word or two to the list that represent this idea about charming, selling, or somehow bringing the student in?


  • Noah Koch   Oct. 2, 2011, 1:43 p.m.
    In Reply To:   AnnetteV   Sept. 30, 2011, 5:14 a.m.

    I don't know if y'all if finals in New Zealand, but do you think getting rid of finals would eliminate this short-term student engagement as Abdoulaye said?

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 5, 2011, 8:09 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Noah Koch   Oct. 2, 2011, 1:43 p.m.

    Hi Noah,

    I think about finals, grades, and report cards and their effect (or lack) on engagement. I sometimes think it is a cultural thing that we are trained to respond to certain types of feedback and not others.  As a teacher for more than 15 years, parents and students really focused quite a bit on those end of term forms of feedback, but I am not convinced that that focus on the end led to better engagement or learning.  There are many that argue for the end to grades, report cards, and finals.  What do you think about that?


  • Mireille   Sept. 29, 2011, 9:55 p.m.

    Hi Bonita

    I'm not sure how to contact you privately so I'm including my post regarding the wiki here if you don't mind.

    I noticed that PSPU has a wiki of their own.

    is there away to attach ourselves to this wiki?

    Question 1

    Which wiki would you prefer to start with.  I know Wikispaces was mentioned.  I use PBWorks.  Are there any other wiki's people would be interested in starting with? or do we just go with Wikispaces.

    Question 2

     who is going to continue this course for the foreseeable future?  I think that person should sign up for the account and let me have full access.  I will maintain for the duration of the course.  When the courses finishes, I can give back the access and it can be passed on to someone for the next course.

    Question 3

    How would you like this organized?  Would you prefer that I organize it according to the weekly tasks or the topics as they come up?

    Question 4

    How will we link to the webinars?

    Question 5

    What critiera will we use to upload information? 


  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:52 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Mireille   Sept. 29, 2011, 9:55 p.m.

    Great questions, Mireille!  I will attempt to fashion my thoughts this weekend, but encourage everyone else to jump in with their thoughts as well.  I would be happy to set up a wikispaces account on Saturday and I will give you organizer rights.  Should I start a new task that gives us a space to discuss criteria for wiki entries?

  • Mireille   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:54 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:52 a.m.

    Hi Bonita

    One more Question

    Do you want people to upload their information or would you prefer that I create a page for uploads and then I can change it to the proper page.    If I give access to upload on one page then I can refer to the resources and we can then ask questions to determine whether its related to engagement.  If there are resources than don't meet the requirements I can create a page and label it under misc.

    thank you Bonita re wikispace and giving me organizer rights.  Yes I would like a new task regarding critieria for wiki and for resources.   Every week I can upload the resources and let everyone know. 

    I would like to include resources such as books, articles, social media - twitter influencers - there is a list of educators who are highly influencial and I would also like to include everyone in this class.  Why not .  We are creating an environment where we are all contributing to our learning through conversation and collaboration.  I would love to learn more about what other people are doing .

    That way this course can be the foundation from which we all develop, learn and grow from.  People in another year will look back at those who participated before them. 

    I get excited about stuff so forgive if I'm continuing on and on and on.

    Toronto, Canada



  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 1, 2011, 10:58 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Mireille   Sept. 29, 2011, 9:55 p.m.

    Hi Mireille,


    So I set up the wiki on wikispaces.  Once you join, I will set you up as an organizer. 

    In terms of linking to the P2PU wiki, we can always try asking them:)

    I set up a criteria task that is at the end of the navigation bar.

    The webinars, fingers crossed, should end up with a video that we can embed wherever we like.

    If you wish to contact me privately, P2PU has a message inbox feature (at teh drop down window where your dashboard login sits).  Also you should have my gmail as I have sent out messages to the group, too.

    Great start on thinking about engagement!



  • Mireille   Sept. 29, 2011, 9:38 p.m.

    the link provided wasn't working

    I take it that this is the article you are referring to

    Are You Boring Your Students Into Misbehavior?

    by Michael Linsin on September 24, 2011

    I hope it is and I agree with him.  I like the idea of  scavenger hunts.whether it's in the field or online.   I would also suggest that kids come to class with an idea of their own, ready to implement it.


  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:41 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Mireille   Sept. 29, 2011, 9:38 p.m.

    That's the one, Mireille!  Thanks.  I fixed the link but cannot seem to get the last one to repair.  A google search for Generation Yes and Sylvia Martinez will bring it forward.

  • Mireille   Sept. 30, 2011, 2:08 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:41 a.m.

    Hello Bonita and everyone

    Here is the link to  Engagement is not a goal - Generation Yes _ Sylvia Martinez




  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 1, 2011, 11:03 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Mireille   Sept. 30, 2011, 2:08 p.m.

    Yes, that is the one again.  The link works here but will not work in the course window for some reason.  Perhaps it is my browser.  Do you want to try repairing it--see if you have better luck?  The task window is editable, you simply hit the edit button next to the comments button at the top of the page.


  • Tom   Oct. 4, 2011, 2:01 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Mireille   Sept. 30, 2011, 2:08 p.m.

    Thanks for directing me to this one. I found all the articles to be of interest but this one, in particular, was so well done. The point that engagement can't be a goal in itself is so useful. (I still see teachers having students draw pictures, do art projects, etc. that in themselves are fine but not really leading toward mastering the standard that the teacher has set out as a goal. Also, the idea that it is in the creating, not the consuming, that we engender engagement. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    I think she provides an apposite road map for creating the conditions for student engagment:

    Her final point, in building a case for students to gain control over what they do and then defining that state:


    Control means using open-ended tools that allow for meaningful interaction with data, people, ideas, and concepts. It means programming and simulations. It means making, not consuming. It means giving students agency and responsibility for their work.”

  • Mireille   Sept. 29, 2011, 9:13 p.m.

    Hello everyone

    I'm trying to catch up.  Where has the week gone. 

    I have read and viewed all of the above.  I'm beginning to wonder if "engagement" is really a myth.  In a recent article in the National post,

    In Ontario teachers are told they have to pass 80% of the kids. 

    The question I have how can you get kids engaged when they know they can without regard and even if they do poorly they get a pass. 

    In my corporate environment, training is an add on and the first to go when times are tough.  Most of the participant are anxious to leave their work to go on a vaction re training.  The is rarely performance measurements in place for follow up.

    A lot of good teachers have become dis-engagement themselves.

    A book I'm currently reading "Screw It Let's Do It" by Richard Branson suggest that those who are engaged are people who truly can motivate themselves.   The question for me is how we can create an environemtn where students difine their level of enagement.  Not everyone is engaged at the same level.  And then there is the family life.

    I wonder how engagement can be incorporated in an environment that promotes very little consequence and with so many disruptions.

    Personally I have always been a strong believer in dialogue education where the focus is on questions and the answers are drawn from the participants.  Given my title I have had more influence than most in terms of performance measurements but not everyone has that.




  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:46 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Mireille   Sept. 29, 2011, 9:13 p.m.

    Wow, Mireille, that is a lot of reading.  I like  your energy. 


    I think it is true that some folks are naturally able to engage themselves.  As I said before, I suspect that might be the case for people who sign up for  a course like this.  I continue to think that teachers need to possess some skills, talent, or magic that engages as well.  I think it is important for our children that a teacher is able to model engagement as well as to invoke engagement in most children.

    Do you think engagement is entirely on the learner?

  • Mireille   Sept. 30, 2011, 2:03 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:46 a.m.

    Hi Bonita

    My answer to your question is a Yes and No.  And then I realize that my answer is for an adult and not kids.

    For kids well really for everyone we meaning facilitators and teachers must be role models for proper behavior

    For example you as a facilitator is role modeling proper behavior.  You are engaging in conversation with each of us which encourages me at least to respond back and contintue the dialogue.   I must admit I do find it challenging to be engaged when the environment is not conducive to a learning and engaging environement.

    So your question is important because it's making me thing.   My sister is another example.  She teaches as you know 'at risk' kids.  Their behavior with other teachers is appaling and yet she set the rules of engagement by modeling what she expects of these kids.  99.999% of these kids raise up to those expectations and they in turn become models for one another.

    There is no swearing, proper respect, the girls have to wear a jacket or a sweater (some of their T-shirts are beyond improper.    They look forward to being in my sisters class because she treats herself with respect and thereby treating her students as if they have potential.  

    So to answer your question, the answer is engagement is not entirely on the learner . 

    Toronto, Canada

  • Nada   Sept. 29, 2011, 8:22 a.m.

    Hi all,

    The last link doesn't work with me!!



  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:50 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Nada   Sept. 29, 2011, 8:22 a.m.

    Thanks, Nada.  I have done what I know to repair it, but it has a mind of its own.  I will try it again this weekend.  In the meantime, you can find the blog by searching for Generation Yes and Sylvia MArtinez on google.  The entry on engagement is the second entry down.

  • Tracy Q   Sept. 28, 2011, 8:07 a.m.

    26 Keys to Student Engagement

    I believe that F for Feedback in my online settings is the one that jumps out as me as possibly most important.  True feedback and not just a number score or a generic "good job" is something that all of my staff work on daily as needed for online feedback measures.  I wonder how feedback is used in a traditional setting in these new technology times.  Do students receive papers with scores and stickers or smiley faces or do they receive grades mainly on a computer format for student work that can be accessed by the family?

    Interesting question for me so please feel free to respond.smiley


    I did agree with all 26 keys and found them fun and informational.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 29, 2011, midnight
    In Reply To:   Tracy Q   Sept. 28, 2011, 8:07 a.m.

    I can speak to feedback my daughter's received throughout their K-12 schooling.  There were no technology-rich feedback methods (my youngest graduated last year).  I used track changes in word to offer writing feedback to my 5th graders many years ago.  I also used to write comments and thoughts (on their reading or on their writing) in my teacher handheld and beam those to my students' handhelds.

  • Deya Castilleja   Oct. 2, 2011, 3:09 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tracy Q   Sept. 28, 2011, 8:07 a.m.

    Hi Tracy,

    I got the notification about your post during the week, and I wanted to jump in to the discussion right away, but I couldn't, so here I am now.

    About feedback in the online setting, a topic that I'm also very interested in: I have found out that a lot of online settings are reproducing the same traditional practices that we see in a regular classroom, and feedback is not the exception. That doesn't help with engagement :(

    When it comes to feedback, I think the online setting has a lot of potential because the time is not as limited. I usually go back to the students post and read over and over again to find out if the student is interacting or not with the content. I think the online setting also forces the teacher to provide a more thoughtful feedback than a “good job“ and can bring the students back to think about their answers. 

    Unfortunately, what I saw while my son took online highschool classes was exactly the opposite, just a grade, luckily he didn't fail, I wonder if he had, he would have gotten an F, just like the old times. 

    Happy week 2!

  • Grant   Sept. 26, 2011, 10:43 a.m.

    26 Keys to Student Engagement

    I just began from the beginning of the article but it was the first letter that I actually thought about the most.  Authenticity.  As a math teacher, I usually have students that despise math and ask me when will I ever use this material.

    I try to come up with different types of activities and lessons that involve many different sorts of everyday events and different jobs that might use the math content we are talking about for the unit.  The fact is that every student is different and views the relative usefulness in their own way.  How I combat this is problems that involve music, sports, games, and money.  Almost every kid enjoys the first 3 and every student will be actively involved with dealing with money at some point in their lives.

    It is certainly a challenge to link the properties of exponents with any of the 4 options.  I always tell me kids that we are building on what we know and that we need to have the background of some information to move forward with future content.  They groan when I give them the explanation but I then ask them a question about a mechanic and getting their motor fixed in their car.  Would they trust the person who only knows how to change oil to do a complete overhaul on their Mustang?  A majority of them say know and seem to catch my drift.

    I do think that all of the letters in this article are important; however this is the one that caught my eye because it is what I hear most often and what I struggle with the most. :)

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 27, 2011, 10:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   Sept. 26, 2011, 10:43 a.m.

    Grant, just to tease some debate on relevancy.  Try reading the last blog I just posted. It is an interesting discussion that occurs in the comments section. 

    Also, to you and everyone, I have made this portion of the course editable if you want to post/share some reading with the rest of us as well.


  • Grant   Sept. 28, 2011, 9:06 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 27, 2011, 10:13 p.m.

    Hey Bonita,


    Could you please provide a link?  I apologize but I am not sure where to go.   Thanks!



  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:48 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   Sept. 28, 2011, 9:06 a.m.

    Sorry, Grant.  For some reason I cannot get that particular link to work.  I will play with it over the weekend to see if I can get it to link properly.  In the meantime a google search for Generation YEs and Sylvia Martinez will get you to the blog, it is the second entry on engagement that caught my attention.

  • Grant   Oct. 3, 2011, 9:45 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Sept. 30, 2011, 1:48 a.m.

    Hey Bonita,


    I was able to read through the comments and I was very interested in everybody's opinion.  I really don't think there is a clear cut answer but I always enjoy seeing both view points.  It makes me value my ability to continue to learn each and every day.


    However, one thing I was able to do this weekend was discuss some engagement issues with my sister and mom (I am from a family of teachers, they both teach elementary).  My sister is mentoring two teachers right now as she is working on her Masters as well as the two teachers she is mentoring.  The one teacher is an English teacher.  He does some very cool things for lessons and to engage his students however, he spends a great deal of time making these lessons.  It seems to be wearing him out.  He has told my sister that he is wondering if he still wants to continue in the education field because of the hard work and results that aren't up to what he is looking for. 


    My sister, mom, and I all agreed that sometimes it is ok to just have some lessons that are not all bells, whistles, firecrackers, and mind-blowing.  We do all we can as teachers and sometimes it is ok to not go above and beyond and to just do what is necessary. 


    I just wanted to share that conversation. :)

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 5, 2011, 8:41 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   Oct. 3, 2011, 9:45 a.m.

    Hi Grant,

    A family of teachers!  Love the conversation you had.  Thank you for sharing it here.  One of the problems with online education is that it is hard to measure what people might be talking about beyond the course.  When you share like this, it is exciting to me to know that the conversation is going on beyond the page.  I guess I always felt like that in the classroom as well, when parents would share, "Hey Johnny keeps bugging me about these insect things.," or stuff like that. I think as teachers, we need to find ways to get that sort of feedback to know whether engagement continues beyond the classroom doors, so thanks for that little gift!


    I am in agreement with your mom and sis int hat we cannot spend so much time and energy on every lesson to make fireworks everytime!  On the other hand, I believe there are a number of strategies and techniques that can become part of our day to day approach to teaching which enable better engagement.  Things like structured opportunities for discussion student to student (rather than only teacher to student).  I am wondering how those sorts of classroom structures for engagement: student whiteboards, pair-share, equity sticks, etc. could be translated to an online environment.  Ideas?