I (Clare) read this article and thought it had some really useful strategies.
Six key rules for student engagement include making it meaningful, fostering efficacy, autonomy support, collaborative learning, establishing positive teacher-student relationships, and mastery orientations.
Click on the link below for the entire article.
Source: Golden Rules for Engaging Students in Learning Activities | Edutopia
The day after Halloween, one of my (Cathy’s) student teachers, Megan, presented a wonderful lesson to a group of grade four students on probability. She opened the lesson with a picture of herself dressed as an M&M. (This was not really her of course, but the students didn’t know that). She told the story of how she disguised herself as an M&M and went out trick or treating. One nice lady gave her a whole bag of M&Ms because of her great costume. Megan wondered aloud on the probability of pulling out red M&Ms as opposed to green M&Ms or yellow ones. This student teacher had these children with the picture, but the M&Ms clenched it. All of the students wanted to predict. The students moved from large group work to small groups to independent work with ease. Interestingly, Megan did not allow the children to eat the M&Ms. They were data. The children accepted this fact and made no protest. The math remained the focus throughout the lesson. The lesson was an absolute delight to watch. Trouble is, I may never eat M&Ms the same way again. I will always be calculating the probabilities of pulling that red one.