Giving Students Control of the Content

As most teachers do, I have a few students who are more difficult to engage in the content than others.  I find these students are often quick learners, who are uninterested in listening past the initial minutes of my lesson.

I was out for a run, listening to a podcast, when it hit me: I’m going to put those very students in charge!  Not in a “gotcha – see it’s not so easy being up in front, is it?” kind of way, but in a “let’s see if this gets you motivated” way.

Here’s the plan: our district uses a scripted curriculum, so it’s very clearly laid out.  I made PowerPoints for all of the lessons, so those are also clearly laid out.  I’m going to give one student the first day of reading to teach to the class, and a second student the second day.  The reading textbook splits the reading selection into two days, so this should work out nicely.  Their job will be to read the selection, in advance, then be ready to help the class with the reading and answering the questions.

I also have grammar lessons to be taught, so I’m going to use this same plan with a student who doesn’t like to complete the grammar assignments.  If she is teaching the grammar lessons, she might better understand them.  (Mind you, we’re talking after I’ve introduced it – next week, we’ll be doing superlative and comparative adjectives).

We’ll see whether this will work – I’ll update the blog after I’ve tried this a few weeks and see how it goes.  Last year, I had students lead lessons based on a random draw.  It was somewhat successful, but some students were uncomfortable being up in front of the class.  These students tend not to be shy, so I’m hopeful it will go well.

How do you keep students engaged in your classes?  What do you do with quick learners who check out halfway through the lesson?

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