Have you ever been in a session with your student and it seemed like they were more interested in telling you a story about their bunny than focusing on the task at hand?

Building in student engagement strategies throughout your lesson can help bring your students attention back to the lesson and keep him/her focused and on task throughout your lesson.

  1. Use a timer. Students like to see how much time they have left in an activity or session. Use your cell phone or a small digital timer. When you use a timer, the student is aware of how long they will need to sustain their attention and energy and therefore feels more focused to complete the task at hand.
  2. Use a countdown. If you need a student to finish something quickly, consider counting down. A countdown sets the expectation for how long an activity or transition should take. Countdowns can also be motivating when students feel the urge to ‘beat the clock’.
  3. Give your student a specific job. Students often respond well to responsibility. Consider giving your student a specific job, such as erasing the whiteboard, gathering materials for the alphabet routine, crossing off items on the agenda or being in charge of setting the timer.
  4. Build in movement breaks. Sitting for 45 minutes can be challenging for a student, so it can be very helpful to build in movement breaks. You can schedule movement breaks into the lesson at specific time intervals (i.e. – every 10 minutes) or schedule them in between steps of the lesson. During a movement break your student could stand up and do five jumping jacks, touch their toes, or walk across the room to get materials for the next step of the lesson.