Activate Students

Students can become active participants through some very simple habits

Photo of Lisa Yokana

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Student passivity begins when we take away all choice. Student empowerment starts the first day in my classroom. They sit where they want. They get a tour of their room. I show them where supplies are and that they can access them without permission. When they need something, they should just get it. If they need something and they don't see it, they ask. If they need to reconfigure the furniture, they do. If they think of a better way to do something, they are expected to share it. These simple things change the passive mindset of my high school students, who are used to sitting and passively swallowing content. I am not the expert in the room. We are all in this together and they are expected to be an ACTIVE participant in collaborative learning.

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Photo of Jennifer Auten
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My students choose their own seats each day when they come in, and have the option to move around whenever they have a need. Many of them (2nd grade) prefer to be in the floor and there are usually a couple each year that like to be squeezed into a small space between a bookcase and wall, or under a table--definitely not where I would "assign" a seat, but they love it. I don't generally have behavior issues, students know that if they make choices about where to be that interferes with the learning, I will make a different choice for them. They catch on pretty quick and rise to a high level of responsibility. Some choose to be alone, some like to be at a table with 2-3 others. Same as above with supplies--they are available as needed, the responsibility is on the students to get what they need. I think they love the control they have.

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

That's awesome! Since I teach high school, I didn't know if this would work in elementary, but people tell me it does. Give them freedom and they rise to the challenge!

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