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Evaluation and Assessment

Keeping PreTeens Engaged

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Brionna Crume Brionna Crume 600 Points

My name is Brionna Crume.  I teach 6th grade Literacy at Faulk Elementary.  I hope to one day be able to teach high school Biology. I have found out that engaging 6th graders has been easier than I thought, my problem comes in with keeping them engaged.  Meaning, sometimes I run out of ideas on what to do to hold their attention.  I feel like I might have an interesting way for a lesson, but by the next lesson, I have trouble coming up with an idea better than the last.  Any suggestions on how to keep the students interested/engaged from lesson to lesson. 

Latayvia Green Latayvia Green 560 Points

Hi Brionna, my name is Latayvia Green. I'm a Masters in Education grad student at Voorhees Univerity. I believe that designing your lesson plans to be interactive, and divers to their learning styles may help. Integrate the use of technology, and hands-on learning. Elaborate on why it's important for them to learn the specific topic that is being taught and have them make real world connections. Instruct beyond the classroom, have them create or design a solution to a problem they are facing locally, or nationally. I hope this helps.

Samantha Stallings Samantha Stallings 1425 Points

Hi there! What a great point to bring up! I have noticed that as I am teaching 8th graders, their focus on one task lasts about 10-12 minutes. I believe that the key to keeping students engaged is hands-on learning and for the students to observe and do as much as they possibly can. For example, in a 45-minute class period, I use chunking in every aspect of my lesson and discuss my expectations for each part of my lesson. This past Thursday I did a lab and instead of giving them a few directions and letting them go- I chunked the directions and gave them 5 minutes to do that task, giving directions for the next part of the lab and then giving them 5 minutes, etc...It's a great strategy to make sure everyone is in the same spot and monitoring students that need additional assistance. I see that when the students have a clear goal in mind for a short duration of time they tend to focus a lot better and have fewer questions. 

Taylor Runchey Taylor Runchey 1005 Points


Hi there! I am currently pursuing a degree in elementary and middle school education at Wartburg College. One strategy I would suggest would be to get students engaging in group discussion and collaboration as much as possible! At this time in their lives, young adolescents are growing so much in their social and emotional skills. By providing them the opportunity to work socially and interact with a wide variety of peers, they will stay more in-tune and engaged with whatever lesson is being taught. Group work also allows for more complex topics, as students can learn from one another and bring their ideas together. Some complex topics you may consider could relate to social justice, ethical, and/or moral issues. Middle level students are working to determine their own personal values and opinions, and incorporating these components into daily lessons can be a strategy to hold engagement. Finally, having students formulate and ask their own questions can be a powerful tool for engagement, regardless of the topic/content. It takes learning deeper, and it gives students autonomy in their learning, which increases motivation! 

The Question Formulation Technique from the Right Question Institute is a great resource for enabling students to ask their own questions! 

Taylor Runchey (Wartburg College, Pre-Service Teacher) 

Jeffery Rolland Jeffery Rolland 110 Points

I believe it is by viewing the teen's rejection of adults as a strength. Teens are attempting to solve problems on their own in order to deviate from their reliance on adults. We can help them get better at recognising what they want in life, what kinds of relationships are satisfying to them, how to navigate conflict with parental figures as they try to increase their interdependence over their dependence, and what direction to go in for education/career. Working with teenagers is extremely rewarding because it allows you to create a safe space for them to express what they are processing alone in their heads. They are incredibly complicated and full of hopes and dreams; getting them to understand that you are not judging them, but rather completely listening to them and encouraging them to take ownership of their consequential thinking, dream building, and forward direction is incredible.

Annie Dietz Annie Dietz 715 Points

Hello Brionna, my name is Annie Dietz. I am a preservice teacher at Wartburg College, studying to become a high school Biology teacher. I believe making your lessons interactive and open-ended will help keep students engaged. For example, when you feel students are losing interest ask them extremely broad questions about the subject. This way they have the opportunity to dive deeper into the material. Open-ended questions can make the class discussion go a lot further than if you ask deeper questions.  

Valencia Stiles Valencia 20 Points

I face exactly this problem too! You know, when you are teaching high schoolers, that's easier to involve them to process, because they are more mindful and adult. They realize the importance of education and preferably do their best in it. But 6th graders are much harder at this point. I decided to give them a space for creativity. I even allowed them to use some additional sources such as to get ready for their homework which was in the program and spend the lessons on the topics they enjoy. We can't do it in each lesson, but maybe it would be a decision to make such lessons twice a week for example.

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