Two Easy-to-Use Strategies for Engaging Students and Increasing Rigor

  • by Rachel Mane
  • Feb. 7, 2021, 4:44 p.m.

With virtual and hybrid learning, it can be challenging to keep student engagement alive and formatively assess student learning in the moment. Here are two strategies I use to not only increase student engagement, but quickly monitor student learning and identify any misconceptions. These strategies can be used in all content areas as well as all grade levels.

"My Favorite Not" is a strategy that asks students to choose their favorite wrong answer from the answer choices provided. This strategy can be done in person, either on paper or using the corners of your room, or virtually through a platform such as Google Jamboard. As students make their choices and provide the reasons for the choices, you are able to quickly note who is understanding and who needs a micro-intervention. I found my students were much more willing and eager to discuss why an answer was wrong instead of which answer was correct and why. My favorite Not incorporates a level of error analysis, student discourse, and engagement all in one.

The second strategy, a chat blast, is a way to virtually increase engagement while giving all students a voice in the chat. Overall, a chat blast is when you ask students to respond in the chat, but hold their answers until you say to hit enter or return. This strategy gives students more confidence to respond and provides more authenticity to each student’s response. You can give a chat blast a fun name such as “Storm the Chat” or count 3-2-1 Blast Off, which furthers the excitement to respond. The One Minute PD video discusses three different ways to use a chat blast strategy for emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement.