Active Engagement Ideas

Active Engagement Ideas
Gallery walk- Students are grouped in 4-5’s. Poster paper is hung on
walls around room. Students go to a poster to complete a task then
walk around to look at what others have written and add to their
chart. For example: Each chart might have the name of a region at the
top. Kids start at one chart then list as many characteristics of that
region that they can think of. You might give them 3 minutes. After
the time is up they move on to another chart to add to what another
group has already written. When groups have had the chance to add to
all of the charts, then you lead a discussion about what has been
written. Eliminate any misconceptions.
Role Playing- Students can role play stories, historical figures, or
historical situations. They can role play things like the rotation of
planets around the sun. Give them the task and they can figure out
how to act it out.
4 corners (or even 6 corners)- Similar to Gallery walk only the
groups just stick with their own chart. Chart paper is up around the
room. Groups go to designated charts to complete a task and to
present it to the class. For example, each group could go to a chart
with a region written on top. Their task would be to write all of the
reasons why their particular region would be the best place to live.
Share out when complete.
Graphic Organizers- There are a million different kinds on teacher
websites. “Inspiration” is a great computer program geared to getting
students to organize material with pictures and words. Just have them
organize your lesson into a mind map, flow chart, column notes, etc.
A to Z Review- Great for closure of a lesson or several lessons. I will
include the A to Z sheet. Give kids 30 seconds on their own to quickly
write key words they have heard next to the alphabet letter. Then,
give them 2-3 minutes to work with a partner to share answers. At
the end of the time, you call out the letter, they chorally respond with
a key word. For example, after a lesson on space, they might put Aastronaut, B-Black Hole, C-Constellation, you get the idea.
Flipbooks or Poof Books- A novel way for kids to take notes and/or
write key concepts. I’ll include examples.
Manipulatives- Anything the kids can move around or experiment with.
Jigsaw- Divide the kids into small groups and assign them a portion of
a chapter or an article to read. They summarize within their groups,
then come back as a whole to share out with the class.
Complete a KWL chart- as part of pre-assessment. What you KNOW,
what you WANT to know, then after the lesson, what you LEARNED.
White Boards- Students have their own white boards. You ask a
question. They write on boards and hold up so you can check for
Create a Song or Rap- Students take the information you have
taught and in groups of 2-3, they make up a song or rap about the
material and perform for the class.
Zip Around - This is another fun, competitive activity teachers can
use to review vocabulary terms in any content area, math skills, and
many other concepts. First, the teacher prepares note cards that
have various terms and definitions or math problems and answers on
them. One card might read “I am an encyclopedia. Who has a book of
maps and facts about those maps?” One student will start by reading
the question at the bottom of his or her card. Then the student who
has the answer to the first student’s card will respond by reading the
answer (“I am…”) and reading the question on his/her card. For
example, the first card would say at the top, “ I have tobacco.” At
the bottom of the same card, it would say, “Who has an ocean that
borders Virginia?” Next card says, “I have the Atlantic Ocean” at the
top; the bottom says, “Who has things like arrowheads, pottery, and
tools that tell a lot about the Indians that lived in Virginia?” Then
next card would say, “I have Indian artifacts” at the top; at the
bottom it says, “Who has the reason England wanted colonies in
America?” The fourth card would say, “I have wealth and power” at
the top; at the bottom it would say, “Who has a cash crop that was
sold in England?” The activity tests students’ knowledge of the terms
and also allows them to review as they listen to their classmates. Zip
Around can be used competitively if the teacher records the amount
of time it takes the class to get through all of the cards. The class
can compete against their own score or with the times posted from
other periods.
That’s Me! – This simple review activity can easily be used as a class
warm up. As students walk in the door, they are given one vocabulary
term on a card. When class starts, the teacher calls out a definition.
The student who has the corresponding term stands up and says
“That’s Me!” Each student might be given a different term or more
than one student can have same term. In that case, more than one
person would stand up when the term is called.
Taboo – Adapted from the traditional card game, this activity allows
students to use clues to guess vocabulary terms. Students work in
pairs to review the words. Without looking at it, one player puts a
card up to his or her forehead. The second player gives the first
player clues about the word. He /she then tries to guess the term.
The players then switch roles and repeat the process.