Resource Spotlight: Get On Your Feet
Picture three classrooms. In one classroom, students are involved in a lab experiment. In another classroom, students are quietly and individually annotating a novel as they read. In another classroom, students are dancing to music.
Which of these classrooms has students actively engaged in their learning?
Active learning includes a range of teaching strategies which engage students as active participants in their learning. Approaches to active learning can range from short, simple activities like journal writing, problem solving, and paired discussions, to longer, involved activities like a lab experiment, role play, or designing and building a project.
So, what’s the answer?
Trick question! All three classrooms include active learning. But can you explain how?
Bring up active learning at lunch in the faculty room and you might get a few eye rolls, or a sigh followed by “that’s a nice idea, but I don’t have time to waste on cute projects.” The concept has been used and abused so extensively that it has almost lost its meaning. But engaging students so that they are actively driving their learning is more than a nice idea, it’s a necessity if we want students to build the confidence to take risks and innovate.
Work with your colleagues on a professional learning session that will refresh and re-invigorate the way you think about and implement active learning.
Our Grab and Go Professional Learning session, called Get On Your Feet, invites participants to clarify and deepen their knowledge of what active learning is and understand why it’s beneficial, and walk away with concrete strategies for how to incorporate active learning in their classrooms.
The best part? In the session, you and your colleagues experience active learning. That’s right, the strategies participants will use in the classroom are the strategies used with them in the session! What better way to understand how to do something than to experience it yourself? And bonus: the session includes time for participants to plan how to use active learning for a lesson they have coming up. They won’t leave feeling like they don’t have time to figure out how to implement what they’ve learned.
The Get On Your Feet Session Facilitation Guide (a Google document) has everything you need to plan a professional learning session on active learning. It includes:
- Get On Your Feet Google slides to frame and structure your session,
- a Get On Your Feet: Thought Catcher (a Google document where participants can take notes), and
- bonus access to another resource that helps you start to incorporate active learning one small step at a time: the Active Learning Menu.
Facilitate this session any time during the school year, with any number of colleagues. The session can be used as an introduction to active learning, or as a refresher throughout the year. Your colleagues may enter the session with varying levels of understanding of active learning, and that’s okay. Adapt and modify the session to meet the needs of each participant; notes for modifications are included in the facilitation guide. Devoting one to two hours to this session will leave you and your colleagues feeling encouraged, and able to create a more active, engaged classroom.
If you’d like to meet with a Professional Learning specialist to help you craft the perfect session for you and your colleagues, or a series of PL events, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon is the Professional Learning Content Manager for Opportunity Education. Previously, she served as the Director of English Curriculum. Shannon has 20+ years of experience in the education field, including a Master of Teaching (M.T.) from the University of Virginia and 12 years of teaching English in a public high school outside of Washington, DC. She is passionate about providing teachers with high quality, engaging materials to help drive student learning.
Rachel is the Director of Professional Learning for Opportunity Education. Before her work in this role, she worked as both a Quest Forward Learning mentor and English curriculum designer. Rachel has over 15 years of experience in the education field, including a Master of Education in Secondary Education, as well as 11 years teaching English in both public and parochial high schools in Northern Virginia. She is committed to supporting teachers in their growth and loves collaborating with educators to increase student engagement.