Engaging All Learners is Possible! with Hope & Wade King (Ep 134)

Engaging all learners in all classrooms sounds almost impossible, but Hope & Wade King are here with us to show us how to get it done!

While Hope & Wade aren't regulars at the IEP table, they are both incredible, passionate educators who recognize the need to have a 360 view of the classroom, seeing new ways to engage all abilities levels. That's the secret sauce of Hope & Wade - and they're bringing you the 3 steps to build a progression of student engagement. So let's dive right in...

Hope & Wade are both educators, authors of The Wild Card, and are the masterminds behind the Get Your Teach On! Conference. This year, the conference is adding a Special Education track for the first time and yours truly will be leading the Special Education Resource Room. As Hope said, one of the pieces GYTO was missing was how to serve special education teachers specifically, but also how to empower general education teachers to serve the individual needs of all students. GYTO and I are going to be bringing something truly special to Orlando next week and I really hope I'll get to see you there!

Getting Out of the Rut

Teachers, be honest - when you find yourself in a rut, what site do you turn to? Pinterest. Those fun, easy squares deliver quick, interactive, and engaging lessons to help get you brain moving again. Great! But then what? "That's just putting a bandaid over a much larger issue," says Hope. Instead of looking for a quick fix, start with the connections in your classroom: find out where your students are emotionally and mentally before you ever plan your lessons. If your students are too distracted by their personal and emotional needs, they'll never connect with even the most exciting lesson.

"We have to be students of our students; we have to learn first who they are and where they are before we can ever engage their minds" - đŸ¤¯ courtesy of Wade! True engagement lies with your connection to your students. They want you to be excited about THEM! Parents, this applies to you! Have that intentional time to connect and build meaningful bonds with your child.

Build a Bridge

The second step of the engagement progression builds on that foundation of trust from step one - now we can connect the personal aspects of the student to the learning. "Don't focus on what we have to teach them, focus on the how," Hope says. What is the end goal, and how can you use what you know about the students to get them excited about whatever you're teaching! Wade remembers watching Hannah Montana to understand his students interests better and to use that knowledge to connect with them.

Check in around the 13:00 minute mark- taking a standard like map-reading and making it REAL for our students, applicable in their everyday lives - that's how we get students to buy-in to our lessons!

Get Excited!

The last phase of the progressions is about the teacher. If you aren't excited about what you're teaching, they won't be either! Look, not all of us are going to be excited to teach students about Romeo and Juliet, but we can get excited about the drama of teenage infatuation, the feuding families, the idea of family honor and duty. What's something YOU love about whatever topic you're teaching? Once you've gained their trust and respect, your students will want to be interested in your interests, too. This is a mutual relationship when it's done correctly. In that moment, it's not about us, it's about setting our students up for success and inspiration for their future.


Here's a glance at the episode...

[3:01] "'We want this to work, but we don't know how' and that's really your secret sauce."

[6:10] "Student want you to be excited about THEM!"

[16:50] Naturally, students see the energy from the teacher and channel that into engagement.

Click here to listen!

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