We all know that when students are engaged in a lesson it is much more successful. How to you get students engaged? How do you motivate them? I have found that by giving my students choice in their learning they are more motivated, more engaged, and gain a better understanding on the learning targets. I strongly believe that students of all ages benefit from having ownership in their learning.
I am a huge supporter of flexible seating and I am happy to see a growing number of educators allowing their students this choice. However, how much choice do your students have in their learning? I have found that allowing students to choose how they learn throughout the day helps them understand concepts more thoroughly and it also allows me to differentiate learning more easily. In turn, this helps with classroom management because the students are adequately challenged, engaged, and take ownership in their learning. Depending on the grade or subject you teach, the way you give your students choice may look different.
In my early elementary classroom my students are given the option of which independent activities they complete during literacy stations. They learn how to manage their time and rotate through activities as they complete them. This is also the case with math centers. Rather than telling students when to rotate and what activities to complete, students manage their learning. This teaches independence, builds confidence, and allows for activities to be differentiated. All students are appropriately challenged and feel in control of their own learning. I know it can be hard, scary even, but I encourage you to take a leap of faith and give it a try! I believe you, and your students, will be glad you did!
Marnie Lambitz is a Title 1 Coordinator and At-Risk Teacher in West Michigan. She is a former 1st Grade teacher and has been teaching for 11 years. She holds Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy. Marnie is also an Apple Teacher and Seesaw Ambassador. She feels that young learners are capable of achieving incredible goals when expectations are set high and students are given a voice in their learning. Her students are thinkers and creators. Technology helps to provide unlimited opportunities for her students to learn, collaborate, create, and grow!