Step 1: Name your values

It isn't possible for students to learn if they aren't engaged. It's also sometimes quite challenging to make content super sexy to a class of 30 students each with their own needs, interests and academic background (this blog is directed towards teachers working in urban low-income communities of color where the challenges of teaching are more complex because of histories of institutionalized racism and realities of poverty). Teaching is a tough gig. This blog is here as a resource for teachers and teacher coaches working on student engagement. Please note that there is no one single answer to engagement challenges and one strategy won't always be as effective (variety is the spice of life after all). Consider this blog a toolkit of sorts. Before I jump in to share the wealth of tools that can change your classroom from boring, undisciplined and rote, to a place where students are engaged, excited and familial, let me pose this question:

What are your values? What do you want your students to walk away from your class valuing? How do you want students to value themselves? Stop what you're doing, make a poster that answers these questions in your classroom. Let students know what you want for them, so they know what you're all working towards. If you want your students to follow you, show them what they're following you towards.

Next post: How to teach the values and design a discipline structure around them!

For the kids,