Engaging Students With Interactive Learning

Tools to Lead You to Success

By Tiara Smith, Copywriter & Content Strategist ; Courtney Lofgren, Learning Designer, Learning Design & Content Development

Are you struggling to maintain student engagement in your classroom? If so, we can help! We’ve enlisted the help of our resident expert, Courtney Lofgren, to give you her perspective and a few tips to get things back on track with interactive lessons. Using these digital tools, you have the power to keep students engaged and ensure they are excited to learn.

What is an interactive lesson?

Interactive lessons are lessons that require learners to collaborate with their teachers and peers as they engage with the subject matter. The best interactive lessons include many opportunities for students to engage in discussion, work with classmates, and actively participate in learning experiences. Interactive lessons can be developed for synchronous or asynchronous instruction, and often incorporate digital tools that increase student engagement. When it comes to literacy instruction, interactive lessons are key in helping students become better readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers!

Having trouble making your lessons interactive?

For me, one of the greatest challenges is finding resources that support interactive learning that keep all students engaged. Some students may be more hesitant to share their ideas or initiate conversation with their peers, making it harder to keep them engaged in the lesson. If this is the case, you should incorporate interactive lessons that include specific roles and responsibilities for students to increase accountability and engagement, like those found in the Literature Circles on Raz-Plus. When you provide clear expectations for students, they are more likely to participate in learning activities and classroom discussions. Plus, your students get the added benefit of learning from one another when they interact in this way.

Creating Effective, Interactive Lesson Plans

In order for your interactive lessons to be effective, you must also provide constructive and actionable feedback to your students. This interaction between you and your students can happen in a variety of ways, but the goal is for you to supply your students with information that will help them improve their skills to reach different learning goals. If you need more specific ideas about effective ways to provide feedback, you should check out the interactive lessons in Foundations A-Z and Writing A-Z. In both programs, you can find tips to help you plan for and provide corrective, in-the-moment feedback for your students. Using a gradual release of responsibility, lessons build in many opportunities for collaboration, sharing ideas, and working with a partner.

Interactive Games for Learning

Interactive games can be a great way to motivate students and get them excited about learning. These digital tools combine a game format with a learning objective or set of skills, allowing students to learn in an engaging way. Interactive games can support learning across all content areas, including vocabulary instruction. As educators, we know our students’ vocabulary development will lead to better overall comprehension, but you may be asking yourself questions like “how do I plan for vocabulary instruction that will keep my students engaged in their learning?” If this is the case, you might think about incorporating more interactive vocabulary games and activities into daily instruction.

The Premade Lessons in Vocabulary A-Z, for example, include assignable, digital game-based activities that appeal to students. These interactive game-like learning activities integrate assigned spelling lists with opportunities for students to practice and build their vocabulary, phonics, and spelling skills. Plus, these premade lessons are linked to many of the texts within Raz-Plus, so students can extend their vocabulary and make connections to familiar texts. No matter your approach to vocabulary instruction, it is important to consider how interactive games can support your students.

Engaging Everyone Everywhere

Over the past few years, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about how to engage students in any setting, including brick and mortar and virtual classrooms. Interactive learning is great because it can happen anywhere, at any time.

When it comes to building foundational skills, students benefit from having many opportunities for individual practice. I have found that instructional videos, for example, can be a great resource because the videos model and target specific foundational skills. If you need resources to support foundational reading instruction, you should check out the videos in Foundations A-Z. These instructional videos include engaging mascots that talk to the students, helping them learn foundational skills while making reading feel a lot more like fun. In addition, these mascots ask questions and give students time to process information and respond. Students can interact with the videos anywhere including traditional classrooms, at home, in a local library, or in any location that offers internet connectivity. If you aren’t already using instructional videos to captivate your students, you should think about how these resources can supplement your instruction and create more interactive learning opportunities.

Using Technology to Create Collaborative Workspaces

In my experience, technology can provide many opportunities for teachers and students to collaborate and interact in meaningful ways. With the right technology in place, teachers can model their expectations for learning, provide guided support, and work with students to improve their literacy skills.

Interactive technology is a valuable resource when creating a classroom community of writers, for example. The Writing and Learning Together resource available in Writing A-Z, also known as WaLT, is a perfect example of an interactive digital writing platform that helps students learn how to use the steps in the writing process and take ownership of their writing goals. Using WaLT, educators are able to model how to use the tools and apply writing skills and strategies using the same materials that students will use to complete independent writing activities, review student writing samples, and provide feedback. Interactive technology such as this will help your students become independent, effective writers.

Interactive Lesson Plans: A Recipe for Success

Interactive lesson plans have the power to inspire curiosity within your students! As you begin to search for interactive lesson plans, activities, or digital tools, I recommend you explore the options that Learning A-Z has to offer. No matter the learning location, Learning A-Z makes learning more engaging and simplifies every step of the process for student and teacher!

Engage Your Students Further With Interactive Learning

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