Try one of these five easy activities!

Student success is more than big district initiatives and million dollar grants; it’s you! That’s right; from something as simple as using a student’s name the first week, asking about their educational or career plans, or even being available outside of class.  Small things make a big difference, which is why we’ve put together five research-based class activities that are easy to implement and will help your students:

PauseImplement the Pause Principle

  • Get started: If your courses are primarily lecture based, after every 10-15 minutes of lecture, take a 2-3 minute break. Allow students to stretch, chat, or check their phones. This simple pause will improve their ability to focus after the break and leads to increase information retention.
  • Go deeper: Instead of just giving them a 2-3 minute break to stretch, implement a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT) in that brief break. Have students discuss a question with a neighbor, write down questions they have about the content, or solve a problem during that break.

Focus  – Breathing and visualization

  • Get Started: Help your students focus before a test by having them complete a two-minute visualization and breathing exercise. Ask students to close their eyes and focus on their breath. After one minute of taking deep breaths, have them think about one of the best days of their life. Give them time to think about it and ask them to capture that positive feeling as they return to the classroom.
  • Go Deeper: Build breathing, meditation, and visualization into your course on more than just test days. Help students learn to focus, breathe, and relax. Walk students through your own experience or use one of these recordings –

Check-inEarly semester feedback

  • Get Started: During week 4 or 5 of the semester ask students in your class what you should start doing, stop doing, and continue doing. Administer this brief survey online, on paper, or in a face-to-face discussion.
  • Go Deeper: After students have shared their thoughts, organize their responses and then share them out with the class and let them know the changes you plan to make. Ask them to answer the same questions for their own student success – what should they start, stop, or continue doing?

Give Advice“Saying Is Believing”

  • Get Started: Ask students to read the Nervous About College blog and respond to at least one letter that mentions concerns resonate with them. Encourage students to share their experiences in college, how they have adapted and their methods to overcome the areas of concern.
  • Go Deeper: Have small in-class group discussions where students share the issue they read about and then their advice. Have students write a reflection about the concerns they read and the advice they gave to the younger student.

ConnectStudent study and support groups

  • Get Started: During the first few weeks of class, ask students to organize in a group of three. Ask them to exchange contact information and encourage them to share notes, ask each other questions, or to check on one another if they are absent.
  • Go Deeper: Group students by times when they can meet or learning styles. Encourage students to sign-up for and use a program like StudyBlue to share notes, flashcards or other content.

Give one or more of these ideas a try and see how small things can make a big difference for your students!

Related research:

Pause: Ruhl, K. L., Hughes, C. A., & Schloss, P. J. (1987). Using the pause procedure to enhance lecture recall. Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 10(1), 14-18.
Focus: Bryan, T., & Bryan, J. (1991). Positive mood and math performance. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 24(8), 490-494. doi:10.1177/002221949102400808
Check-in: Nicol, D.J. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Students in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218. doi: 10.1080/03075070600572090
Give Advice: Aronson, J., Fried, C.B., & Good, C. (2002). Reducing the effects of stereotype threat of African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 113-125. doi:10.1006/jesp.2001.1491
Connect: Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297-308.

Shared by: