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Strategies for Engagement

Recruiting Interest


Vocabulary Journal

Virtual Field Trips

Strategies for Engagement

Sustaining Effort and Persistence



Interactive Notetaking

Strategies for Engagement



Goal Setting

Cold Call

Goal setting is a process in which the teacher works with the student on identifying academic, social and behavioral goals. Once the student has determined the goal, the teacher mentors the student in breaking down the goal, determining the steps necessary to achieve the goal and creating a time frame for learning the goal. As the student works on the goal, the student can use a self-monitoring checklist to track progress in the goal area and identify successes or steps the student has made toward reaching the goal.

Cold Call is when the teacher calls on a student randomly to answer a question, regardless of whether they have their hand raised. Cold Call is not intended to be used to chastise students or increase anxiety in classrooms. Instead, by distributing participation around the class, not just to students who frequently raise their hands.Cold Call creates a classroom culture of engaged participation where all opinions and voices are heard. A teacher can use Cold Call to check for a student’s understanding of the content being taught, to refocus students, or to elicit new ideas on a topic. Regular use of Cold Call increases student engagement and accountability by encouraging students to be ready to contribute to classroom discussions and lessons at all times.

Vocab Study Template

A Vocabulary Journal is an ongoing personal collection of key vocabulary terms that can be pre-taught by the teacher or self-selected by the student. In addition to recording the word and definition, vocabulary journals also ask the student to enter additional information such as an illustration, example of use, and synonyms/antonyms to deepen their understanding of the word as well as ensure that the student will use the word in their speaking and writing. Vocabulary Journals are extremely flexible and can be used effectively across grade levels and subject areas since students encounter both high-frequency vocabulary (e.g. "Tier 2" words) and content-specific vocabulary (e.g. "Tier 3" words) throughout the school day. Using a Vocabulary Journal can also increase the engagement and motivation that students have in mastering vocabulary since the information is personally entered by the student and can be used as their own personal reference both inside and outside of the classroom.

Vocab Journal Template

In Silhouettes, students create an outline of an image that represents a topic or subject and fill the center of it with relevant drawings, images, and words. When assigning Silhouettes, the teacher provides guidelines for the type of content the students are expected to display in their work. Teachers can ask students to fill Silhouettes with symbolic representations of themes and motivations as well as facts and significant events. Teachers can use Silhouettes to showcase key facts about individual students, story characters, historical figures, countries, and many other areas of study. This strategy allows students to visually and kinesthetically process content, helping students make connections between key concepts, symbols, and ideas.

  • Remind students at the beginning of a lesson that you will be using Cold Call. When asking questions, first state the question, pause, and then name the student. This ensures all students hear the question and have time to prepare a response. A teacher can also write questions that will be asked on the board beforehand to reduce anxiety and accommodate students who need visual supports.
  • Avoid repeatedly calling on a specific student. Some teachers find it helpful to use a class list to mark off the students who have been called on. An online name spinner can also be used to randomly select students.
  • Start with simple questions first before moving on to more challenging ones.
  • Encourage students to give their best guess if they are not certain of an answer when called on. It is also appropriate to provide prompts and clues to support a student when responding. When first introducing Cold Call remind students that when they are called on it is their chance to “show what they know” or “shine.” Avoid using Cold Call as a disciplinary technique or to “catch” students who appear off-task or unfocused.

Nearpod has an extensive library of virtual field trips. Some come in premade lessons in the library, but others can be searched and added to any lesson you would like.Many museums also offer virtual field trips, check out this list of 20 Famous Art Museums You Can Visit From Your Living Room.

  • Have the content/material broken into sections prior to meeting with the class and setting up jigsaw groups. Make sure that each section or content can stand alone and doesn’t need the other sections in order to be understood.
  • It may be important to select the students in each “expert” and jigsaw groups as it may be valuable to differentiate the learners within the “expert” groups, so there are varied learning styles and strengths within each group
  • Example: Students are reading a historical fiction about the American Independence. The book tells the story as written by a young girl named Emma during the time period of May 1774 – July 1776. The book is written in journal-entry from. As part of the analysis of the text, each “expert” group reads 1-2 journal entries and summarizes the plot line as well as analyzing important information they have learned about the historical period and the lifestyle of the times. The “expert” then shares what he/she has learned with the jigsaw group.

Jigsaw is a form of cooperative learning where students become “experts” on the content or materials and teach each other the key terminology, understandings and learnings of the research or analysis of the text. Initially, the students are broken into small groups in which each group works on a particular section of a theme, lesson or reading content. The content could be a short reading section in a chapter of a book, research material on a specific topic or a precise area in academic subjects (e.g. natural disasters, people in the civil war, science instruments). In each “expert” group, the students work together to read the assigned text or research material, analyze and comprehend the content, summarize the text and understand key terms, timelines, etc. Once the students have become experts on their topic/section, each expert moves into another cooperative learning group (e.g. jigsaw group) that has one expert from each of the earlier groups such that all content from the lesson or theme can be shared/taught in the second group. Because it is small group in nature, each student has the opportunity to communicate and share what he/she has learned and teach other students the content. This process helps students to learn how to work together to break down and understand the material as well as orally share what they have learned. This supports both comprehension of the material as well as increasing incorporating language in academic group work.

Interactive Notetaking is a process in which the teacher leads students through the notetaking process.The teacher may use specific notetaking templates such as Cornell notetaking, t-charts or other graphic organizers. With the modeling, the class may read an excerpt or view a work of art. As the students are following along, the teacher models how to take notes by recording the main facts or idea.Once the students have learned how to take notes, they can practice taking notes during lectures and/or when reading academic content.