Ask them questions.Talk to them.Tell them stories that lead to engagement. Do it all in your style but try to get out of your comfort zone a little.
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I have experienced time and time again that when I provide a challenging task with multiple entry and exit points that allow access to all my students they remain engaged. I allow enough struggle and team work to work through a problem. I make suggestions, through questioning and, when appropriate, share a strategy while they are working to solve a problem. I am an elementary math teacher and my students are always excited to see the next problem. I believe that is because I never give them anything easy, encourage their creative problem solving and listen to their thinking. REALLY listen. When I allow students to choose their end product and process I have differentiated learning. I just visited a first grade classroom where the students engaged in problem solving; ONE problem for an hour. Then they had indoor recess and they wanted to play school and act out solving another problem. The students truly enjoyed working to make sense of a problem. Children are remarkable and capable of much more than tradition allows.
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