A Teacher’s Guide to Student Engagement

You may think having students who want to be at school and learn from their teachers sounds to good to be true. But that’s what schools that focus on increasing student engagement are seeing. More than coming to class and turning in homework, engaged students are enthusiastic about their education and have a desire to excel in their classes. If you want to see your students succeed, you must figure out how to engage them in the learning process.

A custom sign with classroom rules and a plaque with an inspirational quote, each designed to increase student engagement.

What is student engagement?

In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education.

How does student engagement affect learning?

Multiple research studies have found that students who arrive on time, pay attention in class and complete assignments are more likely to get higher grades and graduate on time. On the flip side, studies have found that students who do not pay attention or participate in classwork have lower grades and are less likely to graduate on time. Because student engagement directly impacts student performance, it is essential for teachers to recognize when students are engaged and increase that level of engagement.

How can you tell when students are engaged?

There are three types of student engagement: behavioral, cognitive and emotional.

Behavioral Engagement is when students actively participate in the learning process. They show up on time, turn in their homework and bring the materials they need for class. They also participate in class discussions, do what their teacher says and consistently try their best.

Cognitive Engagement is when students try to learn as much as they can. Not only do they pay attention in class, but they also ask thought provoking questions and go beyond what you ask them to do.

Emotional Engagement is when students have a positive outlook on their educational experience. You can tell students are emotionally engaged when they treat you and their classmates with respect and approach schoolwork with optimism.

To know how invested your students are in their education, look for all three types of engagement. If you only concentrate on behavioral engagement, you may overlook students who feel left out or need to be intellectually challenged.

What makes student engagement challenging?

Custom ribbons with a school mascot and logo attached to an apple, used to increase student engagement.

Keeping students engaged is hard, both in a classroom setting and an online learning program. In a classroom, you have to teach all of your students at once. This makes it hard for you to determine how quickly you should go through a lesson. If you go too fast, some students will get frustrated as they fall behind. If you go too slow, other students will lose interest as they wait for the next activity

The difficult part about teaching students online is that they can get easily distracted. Not only can they get lost in browsing the internet or playing video games, but they can also get disrupted by other people who do not realize they are in class.

Online learning also makes it hard for students to connect with the class emotionally. If students feel that they don’t have a relationship with you or their classmates, then they are less motivated to participate in discussions or do their homework.

Student Engagement Strategies

Now it is time to plan how you will increase student engagement. To help you get started, here are some ideas that apply to almost every grade level. And they work for classroom and online teaching.

Behavioral Engagement Strategies

Students will know how to behave when you give them class rules to follow. List your class rules on a custom sign or plaque, and hang it where students can see it. Make sure to include a rule about students treating each other (and you) with respect so that everyone has a positive experience.

Get more students to participate in class discussions by putting each student’s name on a name tag. When you have a question for the class, draw a name tag out of a box and ask that student to answer it. This strategy prevents the same students from answering all of the questions. It also motivates your students to stay alert because they never know when their name is going to be chosen.

Another way to get students to stay alert is to use blank ribbons as attention signals. Hold up one color ribbon to say when it is time to listen and another color when it is time to discuss. Using these visual cues helps your students know what to do and stay engaged throughout the lesson.

Cognitive Engagement Strategies

Motivate your students to do their best by coming up with learning objectives for your class. Learning objectives show your students what they can achieve if they pay attention and complete assignments. Once they understand how your class benefits them, they will take it seriously. To keep these learning objectives on the forefront of their minds, add them to a custom sign or plaque for all your students to see

Keep your students focused on their schoolwork by making educational bookmarks for them. Use Custom Top Ribbons to make full-color bookmarks that teach grammar rules or math formulas that will help students with their homework. Your students are sure to appreciate these learning tools and use them for textbooks and other class materials.

Part of keeping your students engaged mentally is giving them a chance to unwind. To make this easy, customize name tags with a wide variety of mental breaks (e.g., sing a song or play rock, paper, scissors) and put them in a jar. When it is time for a mental break, take a tag out of the jar and have your students do that activity.

Emotional Engagement Strategies

Get your students excited to learn by decorating your classroom with ribbons, plaques and more. Even if you teach online, decorating the room you are in with bright colors and custom designs will stimulate your students’ imaginations. Hang a ribbon chandelier from the ceiling or drape a ribbon garland along a wall. Give your whiteboard a little flair by lining the edges with a brightly colored ribbon. To decorate your desk, customize an acrylic plaque or desk wedge with an inspirational quote and graphic.

Emotionally engage your students by helping them get to know you and their classmates better. Customize badge ribbons with a wide assortment of positive characteristics, such as Life of the Party or Proud Computer Geek. Have each student wear these ribbons during class by attaching them to their shirt. (Don’t forget to wear ribbons that describe you.) By using these descriptive ribbons, your students will emotionally connect to you and their classmates as they see (literally) how much you all have in common.

Students will have a positive attitude toward learning when you make it fun. Use paper inserts to play trivia and other games with your students. While you are at it, why not throw in some friendly competition with spelling bees and other contests. Don’t forget to pass out Achievement Ribbons so your students will always remember the fun they had in your class.

What engagement strategies have worked for you? Share them in a comment so other educators can benefit from your expertise.

Improve Performance Through Student Engagement

No matter if you are teaching online or in person, keeping your students engaged in the learning process will improve their school performance. They will earn better grades, score higher on tests and graduate on time. So what are you waiting for? Put custom name tags, ribbons, plaques and signs to work for you so your students will reach their potential.

Education and a Lesson in Giving

Giving is more than just taking something (money or product) and donating it to someone in need. It is also about adding to our community and raising our standards. More importantly, it’s about educating ourselves about what is needed in our community. And, while we are receiving this education, we are also providing it to others.

Here at Coller Industries Incorporated, our primary focus is meeting our customers’ needs and providing a better future for our community. As such, we have a constant desire to give back to those in need. And what better way than investing in the education of our children?

The Granite Education Foundation

The Granite Education Foundation

The mission of Granite Education Foundation is to improve educational outcomes by strengthening the Granite School District Community. This is accomplished through the engagement of business and community partners in the support of Granite School District and the academic achievement of all its students.

Who we are. Granite Education Foundation is a coalition of engaged business and community leaders with a passion and understanding of the importance of an education.

What we do. Granite Education Foundation seeks to improve the academic success and well being of each student with a particular emphasis on supporting students at risk of not graduating.

How we do it. In collaboration with Granite School District, concerned individuals, and community partners, Granite Education Foundation provides basic needs, programs and educational enhancement services that have been shown to improve the chances of student academic success and well being.

In 2009, we started giving to The Granite Education Foundation.

We are happy that we have been able to continue in this giving tradition, so last year we donated again. The knowledge that this money goes to help the children in our community is what keeps us giving. It isn’t about the money; it’s about the future of our kids and where they will lead us because they were able to obtain a good education.

We believe in giving toward the education of our children and our future. And because of that, we have enjoyed receiving something back for the past 11 years. Each year, as a thank you for our time and money, Granite Education Foundation has some of their school children write and send a personal thank you. We are always thrilled when our special letter arrives.

This year, the note that came with our Valentine’s card read:

Valentine's Day card from the Granite Education Foundation and a school child

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Granite Education Foundation and students from across the district wanted to express a heart-felt thanks for all you do. Enclosed you will find hand-made Valentine’s Day cards our students created with YOU in mind. Thank you for being a part of our success. We look forward to working more with you.
Yours truly,
The Granite Education Foundation Team

The Valentine’s Day card that came with this letter was handwritten with a simple message of, “Thank you for donating to GEF.” These two letters were included in a gray, felt heart shaped envelope. And we love it!

Gary Coller, President of Coller Industries, said, “We donate because it’s the right thing to do. We do it for the children in our neighborhood.”

While it is the right thing to do, we see the benefits it has on our community.

The monetary donation goes toward a scholarship fund for students in the Granite School District. And, with more than 50% of Granite School District’s 67,000 students living at or below the poverty line, we need to be doing what we can to support our community.

This donation also goes toward coats, gloves and shoes for these school kids. Backpacks are also filled with school supplies at the beginning of the school year and given to the kids who need them the most. We are proud to help support these efforts of giving.

And, we want to say thank you to the GEF for all of the outstanding work they do for our education system here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our children benefit every day from their kindness and dedication toward learning.

Education Continues To Celebrate Excellence

Due to Coller Industries Incorporated’s continual support and donations, we were able to be a part of the “Excel Evening of Honors” on April 13th. Granite Education Foundation presents awards each year to exceptional teachers and administrators working in their district.

It all starts with the smallest of donations: TIME.

Since Granite Education Foundation’s inception in 1988, educator recognition and support has been a key priority. The Excel Awards are a prestigious honor given to the top 10 educators of Granite School District and has been sponsored by Granite Education Foundation since the beginning. Students, administrators, parents and colleagues nominate educators that exemplify the values of Granite School District.

coller industries enjoys giving back to our community through donations to granite education foundation

“Watching the videos of each teacher and their stories and how they make a difference in the kid’s lives was the best part of the evening,” Hannah, Customer Service Manager and Coller Industries Incorporated, said.

Being a professional educator isn’t an easy job. Sometimes it can even be a thankless job. But, thanks to these amazing teachers and administrators, public education continues to excel.

Each year, GEF supporters gather to recognize outstanding teachers, administrators and community members whose personal commitment and contribution impacts 68,000 students in the Granite School District. The Excel Award is bestowed upon nine teachers and one administrator that have been nominated by school administrators, colleagues or students.

Here are the 2018 Excel Award winners.
Congratulations to these incredible educators!

the 2018 granite education foundation excel award winners(Top to bottom; left to right.)

Leah Tarrant – Taylorsville High School
Lori Lindford – Bennion Elementary
Jill Thackeray – Skyline High School
Jodi Larson – Upland Terrace School
Stephanie Varoz – Crestview Elementary
Amy Winder – Elk Run Elementary
Katie Pearce – Rolling Meadows Elementary
Brandon Kerby – Cyprus High School
Janice Wayman – Hartvigsen School
Archer Birrell – Hillside Elementary

These individuals are then put through a rigorous review and observation process by experienced education specialists who ultimately identify 10 teachers and administrators from all over the district. In mid April, up to 300 individuals from Granite School District, supporting businesses, community members, and local leaders gather to recognize and honor these 10 winners in the Night of Honors a dinner and award ceremony.

As Coller Industries makes generous donations each year to the foundation, we were able to attend this gala not only as distinguished guests but also as an award presenter. After explaining Coller Industries to the attendees, Hannah proudly presented Archer Birrell, a 3rd-grade teacher at Hillside Elementary, with his Excel Award.

While our role is small in comparison to each of these educators, we are beyond happy that we get to take part in this fantastic award opportunity. In a nutshell, “We donate money for clothes and shoes for the kids in the Granite School District. Then we get to honor these great teachers for their excellent work by presenting the award on behalf of Coller Industries and the Granite Education Foundation,” Hannah said.

customer donations coller industries and granite education foundation excel awards galaThe Granite Education Foundation Excel Award

Each Excel Award recipient received a sculpture, designed by local Utah sculptor Matt Glenn. This sculpture comes in two parts. The bottom portion has the four Granite Education Foundation hand icons from their logo. Each hand symbolized educate, give, volunteer and advocate. The top portion is a student’s hand reaching for a teacher’s hand. This piece is also reversible so that the teacher’s hand is extending up toward the student’s hand.

“Educational awards, such as the GEF Excel Award, are awesome because children are the future,” Hannah said. “Teachers are important and deserve this recognition for what they do for our children.”

And, we agree. These teachers are very deserving of this prestigious award. We want to thank these teachers and all the others who work endlessly for the welfare of our kids. You all make a huge difference!

Creating Unity Through Education

Granite Education Foundation (GEF) and Coller Industries Incorporated are working together, again!

Due to our donations and continual support, Granite Education Foundation invited Coller Industries to attend this year’s Excel Evening of Honors. The “EXCEL Evening of Honors” was held on April 21st.

Granite Education Foundation (GEF) and Coller Industries Incorporated are working together, again!Every year, Granite Education Foundation supporters gather to recognize outstanding teachers, administrators and community members whose personal commitment and contribution impacts 67,000 students in the Granite School District.

The annual EXCEL Award publicly honors and recognizes educators who raise the bar of their profession. The award recognizes teaching that incites intellectual curiosity in students, engages them thoroughly in the enterprise of learning, and has a lifelong impact.

Winners are nominated by school administrators, parents, colleagues and students through an intensive application process. A selection committee then reviews each application. Members of this Excel Selection Committee then surprise each winner at their school with the announcement. This interaction was recorded and shared at the presentation event.

The committee received over a thousand nominations and had to select only ten winners.

Gary Coller, President of Coller Industries, said, “I look forward to this every year, it’s an honor to be around great educators and dedicated professionals who support them. (With ten great teachers honored), and I was able to present an award to a teacher whose mother has also been recognized as a teacher of the year.”

Granite Education Foundation (GEF) and Coller Industries Incorporated are working together, again!Emily Lehnardt believes that children are perfect candidates for her to “awaken” the human spirit to love life-long learning. She feels children exude great curiosity and seemingly limitless creativity.

Emily applies Dr. Einstein’s teaching philosophy in her classroom. She believes Dr. Einstein lived in creative expression and knowledge. His creativity through experiments gave the world cutting-edge information.

“Ms. Lehnardt is exactly what my son needed in first grade. Her passion for teaching and learning shines through and really inspired him to love going to school.” -Parent

Ramona Braunberger, Marketing Manager for Coller Industries, said, “Emily is the educator you want (for your child). It is very apparent that she cares about the kids and is excited about teaching.”

During the gala, each winner received a special “Excel Award,” a gift basket, a monetary award, and other generous gifts to recognize their achievements.

“Every year we have the phenomenal opportunity to recognize educators who exemplify the values and mission of Granite School District,” said Dr. Martin W. Bates, Granite School District Superintendent.

“These individuals have demonstrated exceptional teaching skills and a commitment to student success. In addition, they provide meaningful contributions to their school community, and are constantly seeking ways to improve the educational experience of their students,” said Dr. Bates.

Congratulations to the 2017 GEF Excel Winners!

Emily Lehnardt – Cottonwood Elementary
Sheri Coats – Armstrong Academy
Sarah Wilson – South Kearns Elementary
Zachary Layton – Eisenhower Jr High
Wendee Johnston – Whittier Elementary
Yvonne Miller – Fremont Elementary
Rhonda Small-Oakes – Hartvigsen
Anita Ardi – Churchill Jr High
Callah Morrey – West Kearns Elementary
Craig Stauffer – Hunter High

Why Honor Teachers?

Research shows that students with high-performing teachers can progress three times as fast as students with low-performing teachers. Effective educators can influence the climate of the entire school. Their commitment, passion, expertise, and creativity are infectious. Students love them because they make learning fun and engaging. Administrators love them because they get results. Parents love them because they affirm their student’s potential.

In the face of increasing class sizes and insufficient funding and resources, the majority of Granite District teachers are dipping into their own pockets and their own time to bridge the gap for their students. Educators are finding progressive and engaging solutions to institutional problems and changing the world, one child at a time.

Coller Industries is proud to be a part of this process. While our role is small in comparison to these educators, we are still happy that we get to take part. Our children’s education has a direct impact on our business as we like to focus on working in our community. Helping out our local community is a large part of what defines the generosity of Coller Industries Incorporated.

Granite Education Foundation (GEF) and Coller Industries Incorporated are working together, again!

Donations: Mrs. Smithson’s Kindergarten Class

Getting a quality education is important to
Coller Industries. So are donations!

As your go-to specialist for personal identification needs, Coller Industries strives to make a difference in our community. Part of this is to donate our time, products and solutions to those in need. Recently we were contact by someone in great need of our assistance.

“Teachers spend a lot out of pocket and having this donation helps (our) eight kindergarten teachers out,” said Michelle Smithson, Kindergarten teacher at Overall Creek Elementary in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Coller Industries donated lanyards and badge holders to help these classrooms with their needs.

“We will be using these lanyards for the students to have their name and library and lunch numbers printed on a tag to be able to independently type in their numbers on the keypad. Even in Kindergarten we, as teachers, are not allowed to help them type this number in for them. Having the lanyards gives them the visual to be able to look and see their numbers. Also having a lanyard helps to easily put them on and for storage,” said Smithson.

Round Corded Lanyards

Cord badge lanyards have length of 36 inches with a J-hook fastener, ideal for badge holders and ID Badges. These simple and inexpensive lanyards come in over a half a dozen classic colors.

Light Weight Badge Holders

These badge holders are a common size (2.25 x 3.5 inches) for meetings, schools and visitor passes. This is an economical vinyl option. The 8 mil vinyl is sturdy enough for light use and provides a few fastener options.

Smithson also explained, “We are in the ‘kid business’ doing our best to instill a love for learning and inquiry through (our) STEAM curriculum.” The donation will help them to stand up to their school goals: to assure academic & personal success for each child.

When given to such a great cause, Coller Industries loves providing these donations. We stand by our customers and strive to help in our community. All of our donations are something that help us stand out from our competition. And the best part is working with wonderful people like this!