Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind" Chapter 9

As you reflect back on your reading of chapter 9, "Now What? Meeting the Challenge of Implementation" please comment on this post by answering the following questions.  Then, reply to at least one of your colleagues' posts.  I look forward to reading your reflections.

1.  Do you have a consistent plan for engagement, or do you have difficulty finding the time to plan?  What do you do when a strategy does not work well?

2.  What could we do to get the whole staff consistently working to engage every student, every day?

3.  What is the best-case scenario for you, for the rest of the school year, in terms of engagement?  what are your new engagement goals?  What is your mind-set going into this process?  What are your expected outcomes for your students and for yourself?

4.  What were some of your aha moments during your reading of this book?  


  1. 1. Do you have a consistent plan for engagement, or do you have difficulty finding the time to plan? What do you do when a strategy does not work well?
    Every day, teachers come into the classroom ready to motivate and excite students into learning. I am constantly changing learning environment to provide support for ALL of my students... whole group, small group, independent centers, cooperative groups, peers, singing, dance, videos, books, had movements, teaching strategies and how to use them..... Yes one must plan them.
    2. What could we do to get the whole staff consistently working to engage every student, every day? One thing Kinder does or tries to do, share ideas at Grade Level Meeting. We record minutes and email to TAs, Teachers and Benton/Dagenhart in order to keep ideas fresh...

    3. What is the best-case scenario for you, for the rest of the school year, in terms of engagement? what are your new engagement goals? What is your mind-set going into this process? What are your expected outcomes for your students and for yourself?
    Well this is a funny time to ask that since we are all barely hanging on. Just changing it up and not giving it up. I also find that I am teaching as if they are preparing for next yr.
    4. What were some of your aha moments during your reading of this book? I really started working having my students really listening to directions with suggestions from the book to help retention of information. Such as clapping a pattern and giving three step directions.

    1. I always love that you are smiling with your kiddos. Sometimes, I get bogged down with the stresses of testing and hormonal 11 year olds....You motivate me!

    2. I agree Jen. With 6 different age groups I too am constantly changing my learning environment! Trying to meet the needs of 600 students is extremely difficult so it is very important to have teacher support and to continually come up with fresh ideas.

  2. I do not feel like I have a hard time planning. I try to manage my time during the day or after school well so I'm prepared for the next day. I am constantly changing up my strategies in the classroom to ensure my students are engaged. I talk to my teammates for advice on a lesson, or if a lesson does not go as I planned, I look to them for other ideas.
    When the grade level meets we try to help each other if someone has a question. I like the idea that G had and to send our planning minutes to Benton or Dagenhart. By sending them our minutes we would get an outsiders look into our ideas and they would bring a different prespective to the table.
    Since testing is over, my best-case scenario is to try to be consistent these next 7 days. I am planning different fun activities, although, I am still keeping our schedule the same. I feel like if I don't, it will be much harder on myself. I keep telling myself that the kids feel just as excited as I am for summer, but I know (for the most part) how to contain it. :)
    The book helped me have more strategies to use on a day to day basis. I like how the book gave us little things to do to help with our classroom. For example, how to get the students attention. I also liked the chapter on how to have a positive classroom.

    1. Brittany I agree with you that for your sanity, as well as the students, the schedule through the end of the school year should be consistent. School is not out for summer yet, but getting closer. ::-)

    2. Relying on our colleagues and be willing to share more is important factor in the success of our students. Buy in.... buy in!

  3. I am constantly planning for engagement. Each day, I make sure I have everything prepared for the day ahead. I work at home rather than staying late at school to plan, prepare, and test activities before the next school day. When a strategy does not work well, I take another perspective and figure out what I can do differently to make it better.

    We can share ideas, motivate each other, and stay positive and encouraging. It takes much longer to create engaging activities but this is where students learn and benefit from. If we are all sharing our thoughts and activities, we can work more efficiently together. It is awesome seeing students learn from hands-on and project based activities, even though these are the activities that take the longest to prepare.

    I am excited for the rest of the school year because we are continuing to learn through engaging activities. I am focusing on science while integrating math, reading, and technology during this final week. I want to continue planning and creating fun activities for the students even after the EOG tests because students need the same routine. We will be working together to create “worm cars” to learn about forces and motion! My expected outcome is that students are going to love building their own “worm cars” and are not going to realize how many standards and content areas they are utilizing from material they learned throughout the school year. My expected outcome for myself is to find ways to incorporate fun, engaging project-based activities throughout the entire school year next year by seeing how well everything goes this week.

    It was neat to read this book and realize how many of the things I already do in my classroom. There are also tips and suggestions that I can use to improve the current ways I teach in the classroom.

    1. One day while you were doing the geometry hunt with the iPads, I came to read with some of your students and they were reluctant to come with me. That rarely happens as students are usually asking me when I am coming to read with them. When I asked what you guys were doing, the response made it very clear that it was exciting, engaging, hands on learning. :)

  4. My students know my expectations of them when they are in my classroom. They are actively engaged during our lessons, but when I see them starting to “zone out” we stop for a moment, take a deep breath, stretch, and get back to work. Planning has not been an issue this year, I have found time during the day to plan and have not needed to take work home with me as I have in the past. I would like to meet with teachers of my students, more than the quick “how is everything going” meeting that I seem to have; but with my schedule at other schools it is difficult. This year, “my teachers” have been awesome and accommodating to changes in schedule and kept me in the loop as much as possible…thank you. When a strategy is not working I will say, “OK, let’s stop and try something else.” Students look at me funny for a moment, but then get on board and go with the flow.

    What could we do to get the whole staff consistently working to engage every student, every day?
    I liked the suggestion of having a teacher or team share at every staff meeting a strategy that worked for them, and I liked the idea of having a new strategy given to us to try each month. It’s good to change things up because--what is the saying?—if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. “Plant the seeds to pull the weeds” (p. 154)

    As for this year in terms of engagement; if I had not procrastinated through the book there may have been a rest of the school year to address (LOL), but in all honesty, I will engage my students in activities that keep them growing and learning new skills. I will peak their interest by touching on themes and concepts that they will be exposed to in the fall. As I have done every year; per parent request (elementary to high school), not so much student-:-), I send a packet of summer work home for students and parents to work on together, so the skills learned this year do not deteriorate and they have a jump start on next year. “KISS with ABCs of differentiation” is my goal for next year (pp. 162 & 164).

    Some of my “aha” moments during your reading of this book:
    •“Everything you get from your students—the rolled eyes, the excitement, the state of apathy, the big smiles—are simply feedback triggered by your actions. Instead of getting upset by negative feedback, change things for next time” (p. 170).
    •Jensen mentioned on page 12 that teachers had to be relentless incorporating vocabulary building into engagement activities whenever possible. This should also be applied to parents.
    •Chapter 1 and 4 talk about stress in students resulting in inappropriate behaviors (acute) or withdrawal (chronic), then in chapter 9 Jensen makes this comment,” Student’s don’t stress you out; you stress you out” (p. 168). I like and will use his de-stressing strategies summarized on page 168.
    •“Three positive affirmations for every one reprimand or error correction” (p.47)
    •“Words and actions affect how students think, feel, and behave” (p.130)
    •The “Big Four” engagement domains and suggestions on how to pull all this information together.

    1. I think most people procrastinated through the book, but I think it sets up everyone nicely to start the new year on the right foot and take this information and put it to the proper use and see where it takes us.

    2. I also liked that quote from page 170 about changing things for the future when you receive negative feedback from the kids. This is something that has been very relevant to me as a new teacher. I have had to go back to the drawing board a few times and rethink how I could make something more appealing to the kids.

    3. Virgina,
      You seem to be a very reflective person. Sometimes people forget that it really is all about the kids, and that sometimes things just don't work out the way we plan. It's great that you already realize that and that you already are looking at what YOU can do about it. The way you engage your students and really connect with them is already making you a great teacher. :)

    4. Love the comment "you stress you out"
      That is one I should write and keep in front of me!!

  5. Planning gets easier with years of service, I think. I know the content and the curriculum, so now much of my planning is on the activities or ways I can try and excite the kids about it. I do find planning time is a challenge, there never seems to be enough time in the day, and once I go home, I am focused on being a mom to two active kiddos. I am trying to do less at home and more here during my day. I used to take everything home, but that has become more difficult with after school commitments.
    I am open to suggestions for how we could get every student to be engaged with each day. I think having administrators visible, engaging the kids more, would benefit. If students are off task in the hallway, any teacher should be able to correct a behavior and not be frowned at by that student's teacher. If my kids are on task or off task, being called out by another person besides me can be beneficial. I don't see that happening much here.
    At the end of this year, we will do some final wrap up activities that will hopefully be meaningful to the kids. They are leaving as elementary students and becoming middle schoolers, so it is important for these last few days to be engaging and fun, but also help them have closure as this chapter ends and a new one begins.
    I have enjoyed the suggestions in this book and look to implement quite a few new strategies next year. I will definitely work on the rituals and adding music back in. I keep going back to one quote from the book, " These kids can't seem to learn, and the response of, "What are YOU doing to build their capacity?" I think it is important to keep in mind that ALL kids can learn. But it is up to us to foster that knowledge and keep them excited to come to school each day.

    1. I like the quote that you pulled out that asked what we are doing to help our children learn. Yes, that is our job and it may be difficult but not impossible. It is helpful to know that we are all in this together and there are others who are experiencing or have experience the same issues/stumbling blocks. We have an amazing staff and we need to continue to support each other and share ideas through venues like this book study.

    2. I believe that we need to manage our time wisely at work, so we have less to take home. Balancing our professional and personally lives is a tricky feat. However, I strongly feel that we need to do this in order to remain energized in the classroom.

  6. I am pretty consistent with my engagement plan. I always start off the same way with all 30 classes. I always begin with some kind of visual or short video. This gets the kids attention so I can begin my lesson in a timely manner. If something doesn't work, I change it.
    I think sharing sessions are great. I love to see what other teachers are doing and what works for them.
    Since it is the end of the year, I am working on engagement goals for next year. I am searching for new resources and new ways to use technology. My goal is to keep my students interested in Art from kindergarten through fifth grade.
    I like the idea of changing rituals every 6 to 8 weeks. I think that will help with classroom management issues. I am also looking forward to using some of the engagement techniques in the book.

  7. I change it up all the time. I have consistent expectations but try to be flexible with my approach based on the student and the situation. If one strategy is not working, I move to something else until I find what motivates that child.

    I would like our staff to use the same cueing phrases to help early readers so that we are consistent through the grades. I am planning to share some with the SIT team and hoping they will agree with this need and consider adopting a school wide set of strategies for reading.

    Reading this book was a very helpful reminder of some facts that I already knew but needed to be reminded of again. It was clear and concise and practical. I read the whole book early on and then had to go back and answer the questions for the book study. It drove home the thought that teaching well requires change, flexibility and adapting to the needs of individual students. In addition, it is vital to have an awareness of their needs and where they are coming from to understand and overcome “gaps” in their knowledge base and move them to new learning.

  8. 1. My consistent plan for engagement is to try and utilize the things that have been successful for me in the past or things that colleagues have used that have been successful. If I see that it is not working for one grade level or one class then I will modify it or change it to try and adapt to the different group. I will also reach out to my network of PE teachers for ideas and advice to get a fresh new outlook on something.
    2. I guess that you could have teachers share withtheir grade levels things that have worked for them. I am pretty sure this is already being done, but for special area teachers, this sometimes is ineffective. It can be ineffective because what works in the classroom may not translate to the gym or to the music room. I think that LCS should look at more PD opportunities that are specific to our teaching genre. When I was at CMS, they always had PE specific PD opportunities at the beginning of the school year and during.
    3. This school year is over, so moving into next year, my goals are to provide a more positive, flexible program that will hopefully improve effort and attitude out of all students. I already get a lot of great effort and attitude out of most kids but I would like to see it across the board because learning the value behind exercise and health are extremely important to all people and especially this generation of kids that does not move anymore. My hopeful (expected) outcomes are that students across the board become more actively involved in class and that we have a more positive vibe throughout the classroom during all classes.
    4. Aha moments were probably just getting a better understanding of the population that we have here at Iron Station and how they function based on their environmental circumstance. I think the book really fits this student population

  9. Chapter 1
    1. Do you think this chapter overstates, understates, or accurately states the connection to poverty and achievement? Why?
    I feel that this chapter accurately states the connection to poverty
    and achievement. I feel this is accurate because there are achievement gaps between different populations of students. The level of engagement with these populations is less than that of the middle and upper class.
    2. Which of the seven factors pose the strongest challenge for you in your classroom?
    Effort and energy poses the strongest challenge for me as an educator.
    3. Do these factors seem impossible to overcome, or can you envision overcoming them? Explain your reasoning.
    In all honesty these seven factors do seem impossible to overcome. However, with more patience and knowledge they can be overcome, but it will take time.

  10. Chapter 2
    1. Reflect on any engagement strategy you have used that did not work well. What do you think went wrong? Were the problems with the strategy, your implementation of it, the curriculum or classroom context, or your students? How big a role in a strategy's success do you think you play?
    I have used cooperative learning groups throughout my teaching career, both successfully and unsuccessfully. Looking back there wasn’t a problem with the strategy, but rather me being unprepared. The parameters of what is expected and what needs to be accomplished need to be clearly stated to the students. As the teacher I play a pivotal role in the success or failure of the outcome.
    2. Do you ever have a hard time getting buy-in from your students? If so, speculate why. What are some ways you could modify your teaching to increase student buy-in?
    Yes, it is difficult for me to get “buy-in” from my students. Unknowingly it was just expected for students to participate; that’s what it was like for me as a student. However, in today’s ever changing society things are different. I’ve grown to expect students to do what their supposed to without having to “sell” them on an idea, lesson or activity. Now I realize I have to change my thinking. When students want to participate they’ll become engaged and learning will be more productive.
    3. Do you and your colleagues build positive relationships with students? What are some ways you could build stronger relationships with your students?
    I feel that the majority of the colleagues I’ve worked with throughout the years have built positive relationships with their students. However, including myself, there are times where positive relationships haven’t been built. I believe that approaching things from the students’ perspective, being more understanding and being a better listener can improve a teacher’s relationship with their students.

  11. Chapter 3
    1. Does your classroom have a "family atmosphere"? What are the key ingredients that turn a group of students into a family?
    I always like to think my classroom has a family atmosphere. However, after reading the book in its entirety I no longer think that. I definitely need to worker harder at making sure all students are included in “family.” I feel the crucial key to making this work is mutual respect.

    2. If someone used a "positivity clicker" in your classroom, what do you think the results would be? Would every single student get the 3-to-1 positives-to-negatives ratio needed to optimize growth? What can you do to improve this ratio?
    Well nothing like calling the kettle black. Students would not have the 3-to-1 positives-to-negatives ratio needed to optimize their learning. I need to be more cognizant of what I say and how I say it, in addition to focusing more on the positives rather than the negatives.

  12. Chapter 4
    1. What is your reaction to the admonition "Stop telling kids to pay attention; they already do!"? What is one or two new ways in which you can try to build sustained student focus this school year?
    I never looked at paying attention as a learned skill. Many kids may pay attention, however, it’s not focused attention. Two ways I can improve student focus is to include more think-pair-share activities, as well as more physical activity.
    2. Some teachers sort and group students by their cognitive capacity. Do you see capacity as fairly fixed or highly flexible? What does the evidence tell us?
    Evidence tells us it’s flexible and I agree, but this doesn’t mean I’m not guilty of seeing it as fixed. I need to have more faith in myself and my students and not let preconceived ideas control learning within the classroom.
    3. Which higher-order thinking skills do you think are most important for you to build in your class: attention, problem solving, critical thinking, working memory, processing speed, or self-control (deferred gratification)? How would you go about building these skills in students?
    All of them! I would build these skills in my students by utilizing suggestions from the book. However, I’d pick one skill to work on each quarter and continue to modify them through trial and error.

  13. Chapter 5
    1. When you were a student, did you ever work harder for one teacher than for another? If so, why? Is it possible to reconcile this kind of discrepancy with the notion that motivation is a fixed entity, and that some students are just "unmotivated"? How might you increase your own students' motivation?
    Yes, I worked harder for some teachers than others because I felt more of a connection with them. Also the classroom atmosphere was more inviting. I feel it’s possible to reconcile this kind of discrepancy with the notion that some students just are unmotivated. However, even after reading this chapter I still believe that no matter how hard one may try there are still some students who won’t be motivated to try for themselves. I could increase motivation in my classroom by allowing students more ownership and control of their learning.

    2. What does "make it their idea" mean in the teaching process? Do you already do this, or can you make this approach a viable part of your practice?
    Making it their idea is the premise of affording students more choices in their learning like using a tic-tac-toe menu or a variety of options to demonstrate their learning as opposed to saying you must complete a report. I have done this in my classes, but need to do so more consistently.

    3. Do your students seem to see any risk in raising their hands, contributing to the discussion, or asking questions? If so, how might you alleviate this perceived risk?
    Yes they do! They don’t want to fail, say a wrong answer or have their peers see they may not know an answer. I feel that constantly encouraging students and offering positive feedback when they do participate will further their involvement down the road.
    4. What have you learned about the mind-set of students who simply engage less? What strategies can you use to build the learner's mind-set in all your students?
    Students’ mind-sets need to be challenged and I need to make more of an effort if I expect them to do the same. I need to make sure that all students realize that I care and that they’re capable of learning just like the classmate sitting next to them.

  14. Chapter 6
    1. Is getting students to understand content an issue for you? If so, what are the typical stumbling blocks you encounter?

    Yes! Typical stumbling blocks would be not completing homework, working memory, and transferring their knowledge from simple understandings to more complex.
    2. Most teachers are great at building students' knowledge of labels ("Let's define a tornado"), but developing their understanding of properties, context and meaning is a greater challenge. After reading the chapter, what's your understanding of the term properties? How might you use this concept in your teaching? Outside of taking students on a field trip, how might you increase their understanding through context and meaning?
    I understand the term properties to mean more in-depth descriptors of a label. This concept can and should be used to develop a deeper meaning of the content being taught. I like to use graphic organizers as a means to expand upon properties.
    3. The toughest part of building deep understanding is often ensuring that all students are able to transfer the content to their own lives. How do you currently develop learning transfer in your students? What might you try to improve your results?
    Learning transfer occurs by keeping things current, relating to real-life events, peer interactions and relating their learning to their future endeavors. Making more connections to students and their lives would improve my results of deepening their understanding of content being presented.

    1. I think that relating ti to their life is HUGE. This requires getting to know them on that level which I guess just takes time. I like that you pointed it out and I need to make more of a conscious effort to do this.

  15. Chapter 7
    1. What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to eliciting appropriate levels of energy and focus from your students?
    Keeping the students energized and focused on their work. The biggest challenge is putting forth an effort into all they do.

    2. This chapter offered several strategies to enhance student focus. Which ones have you already tried and which fresh ones might you try in your own classroom?
    I’ve utilized getting students moving (Simon Says, jumping jacks, running in place) and the use of music, but not as described in the book.

    3. Do you already consistently use music in your teaching? If so, how well does it work? After reading this chapter, can you think of some ways to use it more purposefully and effectively?
    I haven’t used music consistently like I would like to. I’ve primarily used it in the morning to help students come into the classroom and feel a sense of calm and peace. I also used it during a quiet work time. However, the book has offered different ways in which it could be used and I haven’t incorporated them into my instruction.

  16. Chapter 8
    1. To what extent do you use social support to manage student behavior and boost academic progress? How can you better foster collaboration and cooperation in your class?
    I haven’t given this a lot of thought. I’ve used cooperative learning groups, but not to the extent mentioned in the book. I can foster collaboration and cooperation in my classroom by defining the roles within a cooperative group, teaching students to self-evaluate, how to study and establish goals.

    2. Do you currently make time to develop student leadership and teamwork? If so, do you teach these skills overtly? What are some new ways you could enhance leadership and teamwork in your classroom?
    No I haven’t taken the time needed to develop student leadership within the classroom outside of utilizing classroom job/responsibilities and cooperative group learning (inconsistently).

    3. Name two or three ways you can alter your curriculum to help you automate engagement in your class.
    Project Based Learning and current events.

    4. Many teachers already use technology as a way to boost engagement. What are some ways you can use technology more purposefully as a learning tool?
    Ways in which technology could be used more purposefully as a learning tool would be through Project Based Learning, skill acquisition and as assessment tool.

  17. Chapter 9
    1. Do you have a consistent plan for engagement, or do you have difficulty finding the time to plan? What do you do when a strategy does not work well?
    I’ve never really taken the time or thought needed to plan for engagement, there’s always been a focus on planning for standards, objectives and student learning outcomes.

    2. What could we do to get the whole staff consistently working to engage every student, every day?
    Staff team building activities, having each grade level share an idea during our monthly staff meetings and peer visits to colleague’s classrooms.

    3. What is the best-case scenario for you, for the rest of the school year, in terms of engagement? What are your new engagement goals? What is your mind-set going into this process? What are your expected outcomes for your students and for yourself?
    Given that I’m completing this assignment the last day its due, ideas presented in the book will have to wait until next school year. The book has demonstrated the importance of student engagement and how breaks throughout the day can enhance the learning that takes place in the classroom. My goal moving forward would be to use some of the strategies the author presented keeping in mind to start small and build as you go.

    4. What were some of your aha moments during your reading of this book?
    Planning for student engagement, having breaks and using movement to enhance student learning.

  18. 1. I have a hard time finding time, however, I feel that I am engaging them fairly well through my lesson plans. When something doesn’t work well, I generally make a mental note for the next time I will be teaching it.
    2. I think a blog or a website where we could all post best practices would be a great idea.
    3. I am writing this on June 9th, so there is not much left , but for next year, my best case would be to have the students so excited about class that they come in prepared and with ideas of their own. My goal is to have the students desire to come to class every day and engaged enough to tackle even the hard things. My mind set is one of excitement and a willingness to learn and research what excited the children. My expected outcomes are that students feel safe enough and excited enough to contribute to a wonderful classroom.
    4. I like the part of the book that emphasizes a teacher’s heart for their students above other things. If I care, the rest will hopefully follow. I also like the part that talks about “self-talk.” I think that this is an overlooked area where we could be teaching our students valuable thinking skills.

  19. I have a plan of engagement, yet sometimes the plans don't work as expected, didn't hold their attention, whatever. That is when I change the plan, tweak the lesson, totally revamp my direction. I see all classes for a grade level, so it is fun to me to see how each class has its own personality. What works well for one class may not work as well for another, for whatever reason. I do try to change lessons when they seem stale or flat. The media curriculum is discussed as a group at media meetings each year. We exchange ideas and lessons. We have a roadmap we generally follow each year. With the increase in access to technology, that has helped me incorporate technology into lessons more. My goal is have students look forward to media time because they find it interesting and fun (while still educational). My favorite part of the book was the fact that the author states ideas and techniques that I believe teachers are already doing as best they can with their classes. The positive statements, the rituals, the connections to real life.... the author was just reinforcing what we are already trying to do. Some of the suggestions and ideas I do plan on incorporating into my classes next year. I do think the energizers are important, too. Lecturing to students is never enough and this book tries to give us tools to improve our teaching styles.

  20. I wouldn't say planning is difficult but I do make sure that I allow myself time to prepare things for the next day/week/month. Being prepared allows me to be more dynamic during lessons and pull the students in, rather than running around getting everything ready while the kids start tuning out. If something that I'm trying isn't working I'll simply throw out the idea all together or just tweak it so that it fits better for my classroom.
    I think when we share ideas during grade level meetings or during school-wide staff meetings that's a great time to absorb ideas from others about how they are getting their students engaged as well as share our own ideas about what works for us.
    For the end of the year I try to keep things very similar to the way things were all year. The kids know the summer is coming and they begin to get more and more excited so having some consistency helps them from getting too crazy! But, that doesn't mean everything is boring! I do try and keep our activities and topic relevant to summer or the next school year so that students are engaged and want to participate. Also, the end of the year is a great time to do those messy and fun experiments or activities that you never had time for during the year - these really get the students involved and excited while still learning.
    There were a lot of great ideas throughout the book that I thought could be used in my class or tweak a bit to work for my style. Also, I thought it was great to see things that I already use/do with my students.

  21. I don't know if I have a specific plan for engagement- like a formal "here's-what-I'll-do-to engage-my-kiddos" plan, but I am always on the lookout for activities that are enjoyable. My curriculum is not as laid out as it was before, but I still try to put myself in the kids' shoes. If it's something I wouldn't enjoy doing as a kid, they probably wouldn't like it either. When a strategy doesn't work well, I try something else, or just try to figure out where I went wrong. No one has it all together all the time, and sometimes we just have to learn as we go, and let the kids see that we are still learning too.
    As a staff- share! Don't keep all the good ideas to yourself! Maybe we could have a minute during our meetings to just let folks share about something that worked (or didn't work).
    Best case scenario for this year will obviously have to wait until next year. However, I'd like to go back and revisit some of the engagement ideas from this book. I'll probably choose one area (effort, I think) and focus on it with my students. Sometimes the kids I see are so used to everything being easy that they want to give up as soon as they have to feel the sense of struggle. I'm ready to give things a try! I'm always up for something new, and I expect to get more effort from my students!
    A-ha moments: relationships are important; kids need to really know that I am "for real," teach kids to work for the pride, not the prize!!! (I just love that!) Finishing a book like this right now will give me time to process it. I would so much rather do that now than at the beginning of the year when life is nuts again.

  22. 1. Do you have a consistent plan for engagement, or do you have difficulty finding the time to plan? What do you do when a strategy does not work well?
    I have to be flexible with my population and when a strategy doesn’t work well, as it often happens, I need to drop back and punt again!

    2. What could we do to get the whole staff consistently working to engage every student, every day? Perhaps a quick physical activity during the morning TV program that will encourage good behaviors and learning during the day would be a way to all come together.

    3. What is the best-case scenario for you, for the rest of the school year, in terms of engagement? what are your new engagement goals? What is your mind-set going into this process? What are your expected outcomes for your students and for yourself?
    I will continue my engagement techniques and will utilize more music.
    I want to incorporate the KISS everyday idea and help ease the stress for myself and my students.

    4. What were some of your aha moments during your reading of this book?

    Reading this book was a reminder of things that I already knew but often overlook. It was practical information that will be easy to implement. Reminded me that teaching well requires changing up my bag of tools;;; after 30 years .

  23. I would not say that I have a specific plan for engagement because it is constantly changing when those plans do not work or the students have gotten so use to them that they no longer engage them as much as they use to. I am constantly planning ideas for engagement and thinking of new ones to try in the future. I think a good way for the whole staff to work together to engage all students everyday would come up with a few good methods that work well and all use them at least once a week. Or allow time that all the classes to do something at the same time briefly to get the blood flowing. I had a lot of aha moments when I remembered learning about some of these strategies in college or using them in the past but not using them in my classroom as much this year as I should have.