A few years ago, I started a mission for engagement in my classroom. My mission was to create at one engaging moment each and every day and my mission still is to keep creating engaging moments. I want to help you with examples of how I made this happen in my classroom. You will not see anything over the top or invasive to a classroom. Instead, you will see tried and true FUN learning activities my students love year after year.
You can read more about all that here.
Must Haves & Must Not Haves
I made a list of the Must Haves that I look for in engaging lessons. Then, I made a list of the Must Not Haves that I make sure to stay away from.
You can find these as well as Examples of Engaging Moments in Math here.
Examples of Engaging Moments: Start of the Year
At the beginning of each year, I have a few go-to activities that everyone needs to learn and that has a hook to entice the learner. And please note, most of these activities are hands-on for the learner! That is our goal.
One of the first activities I do each year is this sensory letter activity. First, it is a great time filler when you need to teach students the HOWs before you can teach a lesson. Secondly, this is a great way to see who knows what letters! Most importantly, my students always think this is FUN.
You can read more about this here and grab the freebie printable.
One activity we do each and every week is to put our letters in order from A-Z, regardless of what letters we have covered. Most of my students can sing their ABCs so we use this melody to help us order the letters. We work in small groups to complete this. Although it can take time, at first, my students LOVE that moment when they finish and have ordered all their letters.
You can check out this apple activity here.
Once we get really good at ordering letters, we can add pictures to this task to make it a little more fun. Here are some acorns for fall with the same letters but also the pictures. Now we are working with letters and their sounds. Engaging and reaching them at their level.
You can check out this activity here.
Examples of Engaging Moments: Making Words
I strive to make my math lessons hands-on and manipulative-heavy. I want us to be building skills and our brains. This usually means I can avoid paper and pencils altogether and create fun activities. Let me give you some examples.
I feel like we build words for months and months. How about using these fun Construction Bolts from Learning Resources to make and read real and nonsense words?
You can read about this idea here.
Another way we make building words more engaging is by working on the vowel sound. Here, we use the same beginning and ending sounds but change just the vowel sounds.
More info about this activity is here.
Here we are making words again, but using a treasure chest and jewelling them. Students are looking at the CVC word in the treasure box and creating it with jewels. Hands-on and FUN.
You can see this fun way to work on long vowels too! These are beach mats that students to add the missing vowel. How fun!
Examples of Engaging Moments: Sentence Building
Students have to see and read good sentences before they can write them. Here is a favorite and EASY activity you can do with your class. Take your science theme and sight words you are working on to generate some sentences. Then use die cuts to add describing words. You and your class can practice reading them many times. Change this out as your change your learning topics and watch your students flock to this area to see what is new.
Speaking of writing, always strive to cover more than one topic! One of my students’ FAVORITE writing projects is this Pilgrim Jobs topic. We read about Thanksgiving and the work Pilgrim’s children did to help. Then we write about what we would want our Pilgrim job to be.
You can read more about this here.
Here is another example of writing with science as we discover what light really looks like. Because we are using science as the topic, some of my most reluctant writers are invested. They love the science aspect so much they are willing to do the writing to show their learning evidence.
Examples of Engaging Moments: Reading Comprehension
Each week, we read a fiction and nonfiction book to cover our theme or unit. During ELA time, we always play a reading comprehension game over one of these books. My students literally RUN to this game. I have had to make a rule that if you run, you have to wait to play. (Seriously, not even joking.) We love these games so much and my students have no clue I am assessing them for reading comprehension standards along the way.
If You Give a Dog a Donut
Check out these games here.
Examples of Engaging Moments: Technology
Integrating technology is also a great way to differentiate learning AND meet all their needs. I love the app Teach Your Monster to Read. It has great levels and my kids never get tired of playing it. Teachers can get access to Epic and ABC Mouse for free and my students LOVE these apps.
Read more about that by clicking here.
And another technology go-to for me is Osmo Words. I can make customized word lists for my students to work on. Engaging them with building words is so much fun to watch.
Read more about that here.
What About You?
Now that you have seen some examples of ways I make my activities and lesson plans for ELA more engaging… what ideas can you use in your classroom?