The best way for children to learn is through the implementation of well-designed, hands-on, relevant, real world experiences that provide ample opportunities for each student to be inquiry-driven, actively engaged and free to create throughout their learning process.
One way that I achieve this goal in my own classroom is through the practice of Project/Problem-Based Learning, also known as PBL. Beginning with the required state standards as my guideline, I create original group and individual project plans. These projects include several 21st Century Skills such as effective communication, group collaboration, personal responsibility, and the integration of technology tools, including laptops, netbooks, iPads, webcams and digital cameras.
Another way I actively engage young learners is through the consistent use of hands-on/minds-on activities throughout the day. My students can be found touching, feeling, manipulating, sharing, or otherwise interacting with a multitude of objects at any given point during the school day. I use inquiry-based questioning that empowers students to actively wonder about and observe their world around them.
Staying current on “what the kids are into these days” as much as possible allows me to utilize these ideas and strategies as a way to connect with resistant learners. Today’s student is technology driven, so many of my lessons will include some sort of iDevice and/or interactive white board element to foster engagement.