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Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind

Engaging-Students-Poverty- Brain Based In this galvanizing follow-up to the best-selling Teaching with Poverty in Mind, Eric Jensen digs deeper into engagement as the key factor in the academic success of economically disadvantaged students. Drawing from research, experience, and real school success stories, Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind reveals:

  • Smart, purposeful engagement strategies that all teachers can use to expand students’ cognitive capacity, increase motivation and effort, and build deep, enduring understanding of content.
  • The (until-now) unwritten rules for engagement that are essential for increasing student achievement.
  • How automating engagement in the classroom can help teachers use instructional time more effectively and empower students to take ownership of their learning.
  • Steps you can take to create an exciting yet realistic implementation plan.

Too many of our most vulnerable students are tuning out and dropping out because of our failure to engage them. It’s time to set the bar higher. Until we make school the best part of every student’s day, we will struggle with attendance, achievement, and graduation rates.

This timely resource will help you take immediate action to revitalize and enrich your practice so that all your students may thrive in school and beyond. In Eric’s latest book, he shares student engagement strategies that are strongly tied to socioeconomic status. Learn the seven factors that are crucial to engaging disadvantaged students: health and nutrition, vocabulary, effort and energy, mind-set, cognitive capacity, relationships, and stress level. To address those factors, Jensen provides actions and solutions you can use in every day practice to:

  • Cultivate a high-energy and positive classroom climate that fosters success every day.
  • Build your students’ capacity to focus their attention, think critically, process content, and recall it from memory.
  • Create greater excitement that spurs student motivation and effort.
  • Develop students’ deep, sustained understanding of content.

The strategies in this book will empower you to automate student engagement efforts in your classroom and school so more struggling students succeed. You can get it at Amazon by clicking here.

Classroom Miracles Made Simple

Hero Teacher Martha Rivera Alanis

Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: How to involve, include and inspire every student, every day.

One teacher told me about her class. At the start of every school year she asks her young elementary level kids, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

One year a kid responded, “I wanna be like my daddy and be on welfare.” Some teachers would have rolled their eyes and thought, “How am I supposed to teach kids in poverty that have a home life like his?”

But this teacher refused to lower her goals or her standards for her kids. She does what high performing teachers often do.

Her strategy? What did she do?

The answer is, “Broaden the kid’s horizons and help him think bigger!” Read more

What’s it like teaching in a high-performing school?

Leslie_Profile_548

By popular demand, we feature a teacher this month, not an entire school. After all, teachers make the difference. This teacher works at an “Extreme School.” Her high school is one of many underperforming schools in this low-performing district, within a high-poverty area. Another teacher in her place might feel like she has the deck stacked against her and every excuse to give up on her kids. Every other teacher at her school already has their excuses lined up, but this teacher doesn’t give up. In fact, the achievement scores that HER kids get are.

THE TEACHER

“In fact, the achievement scores that HER kids get are… so awesome that 100 percent of her students passed their state-mandated, end-of-course exams despite data from the state’s predictive model suggesting that over a third would not.” In short, she out-teaches every other teacher in her district.

Her school, Ben Smith High School, has 1,200 kids and 80% of its kids are from poverty. Academically, the school performed worse than 75% of the schools in North Carolina, meaning that Ben Smith is in the bottom 25%. About 96% are children of color. As a school, it struggles. But, is the problem with the kids or the staff?

First a bit of background about HOW this teacher succeeds… Read more

Rewarding the Brain for Great Teaching

decison in brain-based learning

Kimberly, a veteran teacher, has to make a big decision at the end of this school year. She’s either going to “re-up” and stay another year, or quit her job and seek another teaching job elsewhere. I am going to describe her work in a minute. But go ahead and put yourself in her shoes and ask yourself, “What would you do?”

First of all, Kimberly’s (I have changed her name; this is a true story) classroom kids all come from poverty. Every one of them has home issues, some have disabilities and all of them were struggling every year in school until this year.

Yet, her students alone outscored ALL other students on district-wide assessments by more than 25% points on average and 100% of her students passed their state-mandated and school mandated exams. In short, she is an “over the top, amazing teacher.” Many would call her an “irreplaceable asset.”

She has spent her entire 15-year teaching career actively seeking out schools where the students need her most, and her current school is one of the lowest-performing schools in the area.

So, what is the big decision that Kimberly, an amazing teacher, has to make at the end of this school year? It’s simple; “Should I stick around this school another year or not?” Read more

Extreme Schools Making Miracles Happen

Foster Road Elementary,

Our featured “Extreme School” is a school in Los Angeles County, California. Not long ago, this high K-5 poverty school had neighborhood drug dealers coming ON CAMPUS. The outside aesthetics of the school were deplorable, with deteriorating buildings. The district rates schools (academically) on a scale from 1-10 (with 10 as highest). This school was a “1” out of ten – the lowest possible ranking.

RESULTS? Today, it is the envy of the Norwalk-La Mirada School District! What did they do and how did it turn out? Are you ready for another miracle?

HOW DID IT TURN OUT?

Read more

Extreme Schools in an Extreme Interview

 Teacher Q&A

Instead of our usual featured “Extreme School” (of which we have many), we are featuring an unusual question-answer session. These were posed by real staff members from two real Title 1 schools. The questions cut right to the core of what it takes to succeed, but the answers may surprise you.

In fact, the answers apply to every single school, including yours. I have combined two school interviews so there’s enough variety for everyone. By the way, everything here applies to ALL schools, not just those in poverty. Enjoy! Read more

Summer Teacher Workshops – The Deadline is Sunday, April 15th

Workshop EarlyBird Special

The clock is ticking. Poverty is not going away, testing is not going away and accountability is not going away.

Our summer sessions are filling up fast. Right now, the location with the most openings (so far) is Jacksonville, Florida. Book your staff for Jacksonville (or San Antonio and Charlotte) as soon as possible. In Jacksonville we are offering “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” or “Tools for Engagement”, but you’ll have to move fast.

WorkshopThe early bird discount expires on April 15… so don’t miss it!

May I suggest “Tools for Maximum Engagement”… CLICK HERE.

When I talk about student engagement, teacher’s heads typically nod up and down as if they universally agree how critical it is. Yet, when I go visit classes (elementary, secondary or college level) the actual % of students being engaged is typically low.

Listen, I can’t make you take a program. But I can tell you that once you take this summer’s special 2-Day “Tools for Maximum Engagement” workshop, you’ll have a lifetime of tools.

Every day, you’ll feel proud, knowing how well your students have learned. Each week, you’ll see happy students who enjoy the learning process. You’ll be admired by your peers and your students will look forward to every class. On top of that, your test scores will improve because kids who are engaged daily, learn more. Plus, every night, you’ll sleep well, knowing that your class is pretty awesome.

I never know if I’ll EVER do any particular workshop again or not. This summer could be your last chance, ever. Whether your school will pay for it or not, go do it. You can’t afford to be less than amazing in your job.

To find out more about this amazing 2-day summer experience CLICK HERE.

By the way, sometimes it makes better sense to have me come out to school and work with the entire staff. You may want to browse the menu of my presentation possibilities for your school CLICK HERE. I’ll show your staff exactly how to teach with the brain in mind.

CNN Asks Eric Jensen About The Challenges Of Teaching Kids In Poverty

CNN’s Education Overtime is a series focused on the conversations surrounding education issues that affect students, teachers, parents and the community. They dropped into our Poverty Workshop in North Carolina to ask about the classroom effects of poor nutrition.

“The lack of good nutrition is just one of the many issues children in poverty have to deal with,” said Eric Jensen, author of Teaching With Poverty in Mind. “These kids move around a lot, don’t have much adult supervision or routine in their lives, and sometimes suffer from mistreatment or abuse. So it’s no wonder studies have shown that low-income students tend to be low performers in school.”

If you’d like to learn more about overcoming the challenges of poverty in the classroom, download our free guide: Secrets of High-Achieving Schools with High-Poverty Students here.

Can Learning And Fun Go Together?

Master trainer Eric Jensen knows how to blend learning, solid research and fun for everyone. Here’s a quick visit to a recent training for Leander School District in Texas. Take a look at the engagement, the smiles and full participation that you get with every Jensen workshop.

By the way, topics like “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” don’t have to be serious or “heavy.” That’s the topic of this training. Every single teacher and administrator left this event with a clear plan for what to do next and they had their staff aligned with the goals.

If you’d like to attend one of our summer teacher workshops, time is running out. Dates are filling fast, so you’ll want to register today. Click here for a list of available teacher workshops

How To Use Technology To Engage Students In Poverty

Here’s a great video from am innovative teacher that is using technology to engage students that are in poverty. Many of his students speak English as a second language, and the blogging approach he provides aids in their development.

Favorite quote from the video below: “It’s not basics then enrichment… the basics can be addressed move covertly, authentically, and effective when those skills are developed in a meaningful and motivational context”.

From TED: Brian Crosby, a teacher for 29 years in Sparks, Nevada, guides the learning in a model technology classroom. Coming from a background in outdoor education and educational technology, Brian fuses his “at risk” students’ use of technology with field trips, art, hands-on activities and a problem-based approach, to build their schema of the world while at once connecting them to it.

Brian Crosby, a fifth grade teacher at Agnes Risley Elementary School in Sparks, NV, has a blog called Learning Is Messy.

You can also see his student’s blog here.