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Students who are caught up in what they are doing don’t need to be managed, and students who succeed become self-propelling. If you can find a way to make your students' work personal and meaningful.
Barbara Weed shares a cartoon that illustrates how she snares her students. One in particular says it all: "Let students choose the idea that is closest to their heart." She goes on to explain the strategies she employed to give students ownership to their learning.
"I decided to see if I could get my students more engaged by letting them make all of the decisions about their projects. I still identified the concept that they needed to demonstrate, but I let the students design the work that they wanted to do in order to show that they understood the skills and concepts.
I try to provide multiple reflective opportunities to make sure that students are really invested in their choice. When my students care about their work, I can focus my attention on what they’re learning. The actual work, being on-task, and concerns about quality become non-issues. Their desire to engage makes learning seamless."