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40 Active Learning Strategies for Active Students

40 Active Learning Strategies for Active Students

Julia G. Thompson |

One of the most obvious ways to increase your classroom charisma is to increase the amount of active learning in your class. Not only will you find it easier to keep students engaged during one of the most difficult times of the year (the warm weather days of spring), but you will find that your students will retain information with greater ease and with more success.

1. Have students lead conferences with each other and with you. When students take the lead, their interest and confidence soars. Prepare a set of guidelines that encourage them to take the lead in designing effective conferences and then allow them to assume responsibility for their role as conference facilitators.

2. When you are delivering instruction, pause frequently and have students write a summary of what you have said in the previous 3-5 minutes.

3. Brainstorm ideas. There are many effective ways for students to create brainstorms of ideas. Working with pairs or in small groups tends to be effective because students stimulate each other’s thought processes. Encouraging students to think out of the box and to delve into a topic using this technique often has unexpectedly positive results.

4. When students have a passage, chapter, or other text to read, guide them through it with active learning strategies such as these:

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o A scrambled list of events to put in order
o A list of statements for students to agree or disagree with
o A list of people and places to match with information about them
o A cause-and-effect chart
o Give students a set of questions that they will answer as they read the text. Discuss the questions before they read in order to see what information they already have. Help them see how the questions are aligned with the text and how they should answer them.
o Give students a checklist of the key points to watch for so that they can check them off as they find them while reading.

5. Have students solve mysteries. One-minute mysteries, simple puzzles, even riddles make learning fun as well as involving students in active learning pursuits. An excellent resource to explore for mysteries for your students is the site Another good site for brain teasers and other short puzzles for students is

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