Spring Into Engagement: Trying Something New to Impact Student Learning

The early winter months of a school year tend to zap the energy out of teachers and students alike. Many school calendars have fewer breaks in the weeks between the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and Spring Break. It is during this time that we find ourselves settled into a steady routine of planning, instruction, and assessment. While having a routine is fantastic, it can become monotonous which makes this time of year perfect for trying out a new strategy or tech tool with students.

Many of our students enjoy lessons that connect to real-world events or topics they know directly impact their lives and futures. It can be a burden, however, crafting these lessons. Luckily, Everfi has added even more courses and lessons to its expanding catalog. Everfi is a 100% FREE online learning platform that allows teachers to add their classes to its system and assign their students pre-made courses to complete. The topics available include:

  • African-American History
  • Crypto Currency
  • Early Reading & Literacy Skills
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Investing
  • Math & Literacy
  • Mental Wellness
  • Recycling
  • STEM Careers
  • Vaping & Its Dangers
  • and more

These courses come with assessments built into them and can provide teachers with ample data to track students as well as all of the necessary information to add to lesson plans. With courses spanning the K-12 range, Everfi is a growing resource for all teachers.

Another terrific FREE site for teachers and students to explore in their lessons is the Google Experiments site. This often-overlooked Google hub is home to a large number of free activities created by up-and-coming tech creators. While the platform hosts “experiments” on a variety of technical topics such as A.I. and digital wellness, it is the Arts & Culture Experiments catalog that proves to be most popular with educators. Once you have previewed some of the topics that range from pottery, garden pollination, slogan creation, etc., you can use the topics and experiments to create engaging lessons for your learners. If you don’t see something worthy of crafting a whole lesson around, these experiments still offer great enrichment activities for early finishers or during social-emotional learning time.

Engaging students in the classroom isn’t always easy, but there are hundreds of resources like the two mentioned above out there on the web waiting to be found. It may be difficult to find the time to put into exploring these new strategies, but our students are worth the effort. They deserve to be engaged in topics that pique their interest, and incorporating these topics into our curriculum will build stronger relationships and impact student learning for the better.

Contributor: Bradley Sasser, ECU

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