125161_ActivatorsSince its release in the fall of 2013, Activators: Classroom Strategies for Engaging Students in Middle and High School has been one of our best-sellers. As you gear up to go back into the classroom after what we hope was a restful winter break, we’re sharing Chapter Four of Activators as a free download. This chapter, Foundational Activators, walks through the structure and implementation of Turn and Talk, Popcorn, and Wave, three Activators that quickly increase student voice, require little preparation on the teacher’s part, and are straightforward to facilitate. This excerpt includes tips on creating a high-performing community of learners and examples of using foundational activators in math, science, social studies, ELA, and world languages. We hope that you’ll find this chapter useful – enjoy! For more about Activators, read on.

Activators offers a deep dive into its namesake: Activators which are, a core Engaged Classrooms teaching practice that incorporates individual think time with purposeful social interaction to increase emotional, cognitive, and behavioral engagement in learning.

Featuring concrete, hands-on activities that can be completed efficiently at the start of a unit, lesson, or topic, Activators help to:

  • Increase engagement in learning
  • Support a well-paced lesson
  • Generate connections to prior knowledge
  • Provide students with opportunities to practice skills and deepen understanding
  • Support formative assessment

Although Activators have different formats, they all share two key components: individual think time and purposeful social interaction, which support students to develop quality responses to content and ideas while engaging with peers. Authors and Engaging Schools professional services consultants Nicole Frazier and Donna Mehle offer detailed facilitation tips for more than 20 Activators, providing a clear understanding of what they are and how they work in specific settings.

Content area examples for English language arts, math, science, social studies, and world languages accompany each Activator. The ELA and math content examples are aligned to Common Core Content Standards for grades 6-12.


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