How to Keep Your Elementary School Students Engaged

elementary school students

Parents, what are your go-to tips and tricks to keep your elementary school students engaged? If you’re struggling to keep your children focused in school, you’re not alone.

Teaching children presents hundreds of choices (if not more) every day, and there’s an equally large number of ways to keep your elementary school student engaged. Finding the ideal way to prepare your student for learning success can be done with the right amount of foresight and exploration. If you encounter some roadblocks along the way, don’t be discouraged! Figuring out what works best for your child can take time and is based on trial and error, so if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

For parents and educators alike, keeping students engaged in the classroom is a huge topic in today’s world of virtual learning. If you need more convincing, a number of research studies have discovered that higher levels of student engagement is linked to greater achievement and effective classroom management. So if you’re grappling for answers or aren’t sure where to start, then don’t worry–let us help!

What Is Student Engagement At MUSE Virtual?

In classroom settings, we often hear this term getting tossed around, but many of us aren’t sure what it really means. According to the Glossary of Education Reform, engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, optimism, interest, and passion that students demonstrate when learning or taught. In other words, engagement can have a major role in students’ motivation to learn, which can set the stage for their future academic success. Now is the time to get your child ready to shine in the spotlight!

When students are inspired, excited, or curious, their increased engagement will improve their learning outcomes. You probably know that little enthusiasm goes a long way! On the contrary, their academic performance will suffer if they’re disengaged and unmotivated. Creating virtual learning spaces that cultivate elementary students’ passion and exhilaration for learning is the mission of MUSE Virtual School. The good news is that this is enacted on a regular basis by our highly qualified teachers through effective classroom planning skills and teaching strategies.

Whether you’ve recently enrolled your child at MUSE Virtual or are considering another online learning program, there are practical ways to keep your elementary school student engaged. Creating an engaging virtual learning space can be challenging, but it’s 100% possible. So parents, you can put that stress ball away! We don’t think you’ll be needing it anymore. Here are our top six engagement strategies for parents and educators:

1. Accommodate for Children’s Short Attention Spans

Elementary school students, particularly younger ones, have a fairly short attention span in comparison to their older classmates. Studies have shown that kindergartners (ages five and six) can focus on a task for only ten to thirty minutes. First-grade students (ages six and seven) can focus for twelve to thirty-five minutes, and second-grade students (ages seven and eight) can focus for fourteen to forty minutes.

To keep your elementary students engaged, educational activities and lessons should be kept at a lower number of minutes to keep their minds active and centered. In other words, this isn’t the time for hour-long lectures on the water cycle. Your child is almost guaranteed to become unfocused and tune out.

2. Maintain Eye Contact and Stand in Close Proximity

To be sure that your children are paying attention, continue making eye contact and stand in close proximity to them. Elementary students will sense that an adult or a teacher is paying attention to them and shift to a heightened state of alertness. Of course, we don’t recommend standing too close to your children, as this can become distracting. Especially in the virtual classroom, students will stay engaged if they know you or a teacher will be observing them on a regular basis. So don’t underestimate the role of eye contact!

3. Provide Your Student With Multiple Guided Options for Learning

Like most people, students enjoy knowing that they have choices and are in active control of their learning. Rather than being passive observers of their learning process, students are more engaged when provided with several options about how they want to learn the material. Seminar style or small groups? Laptops or paper and pencil? Give students the ability to make decisions about which topics they’d like to learn about and which activities they’d like to complete. One option you can offer students is presenting a final project through a trifold board, a slideshow presentation, or an e-portfolio.

When presenting new information to students, try to speak with them instead of talking at them.

At MUSE Virtual, we believe in a student-centered approach that identifies each student’s unique talents, interests, and environmental preferences within their personalized learning journey. Determining a student’s unique learning style is even more critical in a virtual learning setting, which offers important information to our teachers and staff regarding instructional preferences. This allows our highly qualified educators to take a holistic approach based on each child’s unique pace of development and strengths.

The freedom of choice places students in the driver’s seat, rather than adults, and gives them the responsibility to decide how their learning program will be set up and what direction their education will take. What a great way to teach your children how to map out the path towards their own success! Keep in mind that providing too many choices can be overwhelming for elementary students, especially for younger children, so limit the number of choices they have and how often they’re made. Students may still need some guidance, so approve each option in advance. Offer plenty of support and instructions during the decision-making process, and always be willing to lend a hand!

4. Have an Engaging Conversation With Your Student

Actions speak louder than words, and in the virtual classroom, this is hardly an exception. Rather than focusing only on what is being taught, how you speak to students is equally important, especially while learning online. When speaking with students, adults and educators should be aware of their tone, demeanor, and body language–and what messages these nonverbal signals might be conveying.

When presenting new information to students, try to speak with them instead of talking at them. In other words, engage in a conversation, rather than monologuing to an audience. Once they feel like they’re static recipients of information, students will get bored and become disengaged. Ask plenty of open-ended questions, seek their opinions, and elicit their feedback on topics that are being discussed. As your students begin working on new projects, ask about their feelings or reflections, and be receptive if they gravitate towards speaking about more personal topics.

At MUSE Virtual, our small class sizes of up to 18 to 20 students give teachers the opportunity to build wonderful online and live interactions with children. We assure you that in our learning community, your child is far more than a number! Rather than feeling lost in the crowd, students join a nurturing learning community that can grow and challenge their thinking. All students participate in online classroom life and are encouraged to engage personally and intellectually by incorporating their passions into their academics.

5. Create a Welcoming, Student-Centered Classroom

When students are studying in virtual classrooms, they can feel isolated, which can lead to a lack of motivation or disengagement. One way to facilitate more positive social interactions is to create a welcoming, student-centered learning environment. Hold students accountable to attending, participating, and remaining actively involved in schoolwork by building individualized relationships with them. Social interaction is even more important while social distancing, so children should stay connected!

Use students’ names throughout the session, monitor their academic performance on previous lessons, identify their interests and incorporate them into the lesson, and provide consistent feedback on their assignments. The more interaction, the better! Another way to create a welcoming environment is to provide opportunities for peer mentoring among classmates.

6. Bring Enthusiasm Into The Classroom

Be enthusiastic and excited about the topic you’re discussing. If adults and educators are engaged in a lesson, students will respond to the behavior being modeled and act accordingly. If adults aren’t present and excited, then students also have little to no reason to be engaged. So remember to smile!

Discover which topics or interests motivate your students, whether that’s Mario Kart, snorkeling, comic books, or competitive basket weaving. Your children may get excited about various hobbies, including music, sports, movies, or video games. To increase engagement, have conversations with students about these subjects and connect these conversations to topics that are covered in the curriculum. By aligning what students are legitimately excited about with what’s being taught in school, you can maximize your children’s engagement in the classroom. If your children believe that they can’t have fun while learning in school, they ought to think again!

At MUSE, we co-create the educational experience with children through a student-centered academic program that integrates what they want to learn, including their hobbies and interests. Our students’ passions guide their journeys, which builds a contagious and lasting enthusiasm that defines all of their learning. From day one, your child will constantly discover new ways to maintain their enthusiasm and zeal for learning, so prepare them for an adventure!

You Can Maximize Your Student’s Engagement Today

Remember that each elementary school student will respond to your strategies differently based on their unique inclinations and learning styles. That’s why we can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying flexible to change. Keep in mind that while keeping your elementary school child engaged may seem challenging, it’s absolutely possible with the right strategies and tactics.

MUSE Virtual equips students with practical, growth-inducing tools needed for a lifetime of curiosity and success. We know that children are naturally “switched-on” while learning about something they genuinely love. As experienced educators, there’s nothing that brings us more satisfaction than seeing this in our students.

Every day at MUSE, we seek to cultivate and sustain that in-the-moment exhilaration in our students, hopefully for the rest of their lives. If you’re ready to learn more about our accredited, high-performing online program that has been recognized as a global beacon of sustainable living, we encourage you to enroll your child today.

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