Kami Connect Speaker Sessions | Likia Smith
In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, interest, and curiosity a student shows when learning. On the surface, it could be attentive listening and participation in discussions or when the teacher asks a question. But as we know all too well, our students have mastered the art of the “fake-out” and we’ve all fallen victim to its fraud; they stare at us as we orate beautifully crafted lessons, nod their heads in agreement, and even respond to questions. Then we grade the test and realize they didn’t retain a thing.
However, it’s not just the students who are finding ways around proper engagement. We’re all guilty of doing it too when assigning work. Not all worksheets are created equal, and they certainly do not equal engagement! Most of the time when we find a worksheet, we’re looking for something for students to practice what we’ve just “taught” so we can grade it, feel good about ourselves (because they can fill in a blank), and move on. Proving nothing but the ability to provide busywork with no purpose.
So what does engagement look like?
Let’s go back to the definition – a ”degree of attention, interest, and curiosity a student shows when learning”, that’s what sticks out to me and that’s what we need to tap into.
There are three types of engagement:
Emotional – This refers to the feelings a student has about school in general and the value of their work.
Behavioral – Referring to their attention and involvement in their learning.
Cognitive – The investment and ownership a student has in the content.
A teacher friend once told me, “If you’re the only one going home exhausted at the end of the day, you’re doing something wrong”. Our scholars’ brains should feel as though they’ve just done an exhausting but exhilarating workout. One thing I try to keep in mind when creating a truly engaging lesson is how can I put my scholars into the content rather than throw it at them and pray something sticks – like spaghetti on a wall.
Kami Example 1
Vocabulary Quest HyperDoc
In this example, I’ve sent students on an interactive quest to guess the appropriate vocabulary word. The Kami Comment tool allows you to insert links to any additional resources you want students to use. Don’t worry about linking too many items, when your students select the dot representing the interested resource, Kami highlights the corresponding link and brings it to the top of their screen. No digging required!
Students can take notes with their teammates directly on the document or on the blank pages you provide. Plus, you can easily hold students accountable by hiding the work of other collaborators using the collaborator buttons at the bottom of the screen.
As a bonus, you’ll also have evidence of student engagement for administration when you toggle to the sidebar view.
Kami Example 2
Comprehension questions have their place, certainly. But why not have students engage with the text while reading to enhance their understanding of it. Kami allows you to insert activities onto any text so that students aren’t just reading to answer a series of questions at the end.
In this example, students not only stopped and answered questions periodically throughout the text, but they also had to go highlight specific information as well. Think of it as a text scavenger hunt!
Kami Example 3
Hidden Object for the Littles
Even the lower elementary can get in on the action! This simple activity is a way for students to continue the practice of identifying words with specific letter sounds, colors, and still practice pencil mechanics with their stylus. Add a blank page and allow students to practice writing the letter – the possibilities are endless!
These are just a few things you can do to help your lessons become more engaging and interactive, and trust me, we’ve barely scratched the surface! Kami is only limited by your imagination. But the best thing about Kami is that there’s a community of educators just like you who are willing to share what they’ve learned along the way – not to mention the awesome staff at Kami HQ are always ready to solve a problem. So, what are you waiting for? Start building your engaging classroom with Kami!