Boring is subjective.

Sometimes, students just need to know certain pieces of information that may not seem as flashy or glamorous as other units of study. This week, our T3 attendees shared teaching practices that they use to engage students in learning content through collaborative efforts, critical thinking, and personal relevance.

The way in which students interact with the content may affect their perception of what is “boring”. So what are some tangible teaching strategies you can use tomorrow to engage students?


Scenario 1
: Students are not completing assigned readings.

Iron Chef (Laura Witter, Religious Studies). A group of students are assigned a concept, theory, term, or theme. Similar to a Jigsaw, groups are then given a slide template in which each member works on a section that correlates with one iteration of the assigned task. Here is a student sample. Good for developing concepts, character analysis, and learning vocabulary. Look out for Laura’s T3 session in March 2019 where she’ll talk more about how she uses this strategy.

Scenario 2: Students are apathetic about a project.

Increasing Stakes, A Gamble with the Grade (Jeff Beeby, Science): Given a set of specifications regarding the rules of the movement of the marble, students design a roller coaster. Students are given a choice of having the marble roll down one time for 5 points OR five time for 1 point each time.

Scenario 3: Students have been sitting for a long time.

Four Corners (Liz Remigio, Religious Studies). Students discuss a moral issue and must actively participate by taking a physical stance on a statement.

  1. In groups, students generate controversial statements or questions that must be answered with one of the four responses: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.
  2. Groups are given a moment to discuss their decision, then physically move to the side of the room that correlates with their response.
  3. Members share out reasoning for their selection.

Scenario 4: Your students are having trouble reading through a dense article.

Relevance and Retention (Doug Vierra, Religious Studies). Have students identify sections of an article that stuck with them the most or select a quote that left an impact.
Selective Content (Sarah Bremer, Social Studies). Choose article or video content that is interesting/relevant to students. Ex: An article about Why People Cheat, TedTalks, etc.
Draw Connections (Liz Remigio, Religious Studies). Relate the theme in an article (ex: hero/heroine) to a superpower in a comic book or anime character.
Offer Choice (Sadhana Neurgaonkar, Science). Include a project topic that relates to a field the student is interested in pursuing or provide a selection of articles that students can choose to read from.

Scenario 5: You’re not sure what students want to talk about regarding a topic.

Socratic Seminar (Laura Witter, Religious Studies). This student-driven discussion method flows based on what students find relevant, interesting, and/or confusing based around a particular theme or text. Students are provided with a set of guidelines on how they are expected to participate. Ex: Stay on task with a theme, time limit for each discussion, switching with partner, backchannel chat, etc. Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 12.48.32 PM

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