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“You win a car! And you win a car!” Oprah was famous at using this to engage her audience and build excitement. So we can’t give away cars to our students in class nor to our educators during our professional development. But we can find ways to engage our audience in more meaningful and consistent ways.

With a few strategic ideas, you’ll have everyone’s full attention. You'll have a behavior management that runs itself. We also learn more when we’re focused. According to Schlechty (2002)*, there are five levels of attention:

Five Levels of Attention

1. Authentic Engagement is genuine interest.

2. Ritual Compliance for an extrinsic consequence such as an ‘A’ grade.

3. Passive Compliance to avoid negative consequences.

4. Retreatism where students withdraw and put no effort into doing any work.

5. Rebellion is a student who actively avoids work by engaging in non-related activities.

Most traditional classrooms consist of ritual and passive compliant students with a sprinkling of retreating and rebellious students. For those rough years, it’s a class full of rebellion. We’ve got a few tricks to help create authentic engagement in a Be GLAD classroom. If you’ve got a rough group this year, try these strategies:

Observation Charts

Gets students actively discussing and interested in learning about a topic from a real worldview.


Inquiry Chart

Establishes background knowledge and lists out their questions which highlights their curiosity about the topic. It's a great place to later provide meaningful feedback to students about their thoughts.


Signal Term

Essentially ‘Simon says’ to get students to wait until the end of instructions before starting them; who doesn’t like a good game.



Frequent pauses with time to interact during direct instruction gets students to refocus

You've got to move it!

Say it and Do it with me TPR, movement, and gestural sketches keep students interacting with you during direct instruction not just between segments.


Input Charts

Our direct instruction is done at a very healthy pace, don’t slow down. Studies show teaching quickly actually helps (Carnine & Fink, 1978; Ernsarger et al., 2001).*


Living Walls

Students fill in missing pieces on our input charts to relieve cognitive dissonance.

Interactive Journals

Build a relationship with students to get better buy in through journals between you and your students.


Home-School Connections

Get students to talk about classroom topics at home with family members and those closest to them.


Home-School Connection from


We know they’ll help you make the most out of every instructional day with these strategies.

To get more information our award winning strategies and about Project GLAD check out:

Online training

In-person Professional Development


* Hurst, Stacy. (2013). Seven Ways to Increase Student Engagement in the Classroom. Reading Horizons Blog.

Carnine. D., & Fink, W.T. (1978). Increasing the rate of presentation and use of signals in elementary classroom teachers. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11, 35-46.

Ernsbarger, S.C., Tincani, M.J., Harrison, T.J., Frazier-Trotman, S., Simmons-Reed, E., & Heward, W.L. (2001, May). Slow teacher/fast teacher: Effects on participation rate, accuracy, and off-task behavior by pre-K students during small-group language lessons. Paper presented at the 27th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis. New Orleans. LA

Schlechty, P. (2002) Working on the Work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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