5 Tips to Increase Engagement in Daily Classroom Routines K-5

If you look out at your class, what do you see? I’m sure all of us recognize the disengaged faces that pop up during lessons. If you want to turn your classroom from disengaged yawns to wide-eyed engagement, then you’re in the right place! I have five powerhouse strategies that will infuse engagement in daily classroom routines. One of them is a game-changer that you want to miss, so keep reading! 


Keeping Engagement in Daily Classroom Routines

When you are working towards total engagement, you have to make various activities part of your daily routine. Keeping engagement in daily classroom routines builds habits like critical thinking and problem solving the norm. So, when they are doing something that is less engaging by nature, like state testing, these habits are already formed. So, what strategies do I have for engagement in daily classroom routines? Let me show you!

1: Move It! 

Classrooms are often very stagnant by nature. However, they don’t have to be. You can increase engagement in your classroom by incorporating movement into learning. As a K-5 teacher, you know that children are naturally active. Therefore, movement is a great way to engage students. Having short brain breaks where students can stand up and stretch are great. Better than moving brain breaks is using movement as part of the learning process. For example, have students walk around the room to collect data for a math problem. You can also use interactive games like Crazy Professor to act out a scene from a story. 


Other ways you can incorporate movement and have engagement in daily classrooms routine include using “Simon Says” and dance moves. When you play “Simon Says” you can have students practice pointing to various shapes or sight words depending on what you’re working on. As far as dance moves go, there are countless lessons and ideas that use dance and song to help put things into memory for students. If it’s great weather, you can also take it outside. Instead of having science inside, go on a nature walk and find different plants, rocks, or bugs. You can also have students go on a walk and have them draw inspiration for writing a story. 

2: Create Engagement in Daily Classroom Routines with Check-Ins 

Sometimes knowing how engaged students are can be as simple as asking a question when you’re taking attendance. This can be something like, “What’s your favorite book?” or “Name one thing you’re grateful for today.” This sets a positive tone for the day and students can see that you care about them and their opinions. 

Other ways you can check to put engagement in daily routines is a mood meter or a simple question of the day. Your mood meter is a place where students can show how they’re feeling through colors or emojis as they walk into the classroom. You can also have a question on the board that students respond to on sticky notes and put them under the question or in another area. 

3: Use Farrah Henley Education’s Spiral Review 

This third tip is something I’m super proud of. My daily spiral review units are designed for first, second, and third grade. These units have 20 days of spiral review for math and literacy. Each has 10 units which will cover your whole school year. The idea behind spiral review is to continually reinforcing and reviewing previous skills as well as new ones. This keeps students engaged and active in their learning. As a bonus, teachers who have used these units report significantly higher engagement and achievement scores.


You can use spiral review as a way to have engagement in daily routines during your morning work to get your students’ brains active right when they get into the classroom. You can also add them to your small group rotations as a center that you’re working on in the first, second, or third grade classroom. Finally, you can use them as an exit slip. This reinforces what students learned throughout the day before they go home. 

4: Use Interactive Digital Tools for Engagement in Daily Routines 

Students today are digital natives. Therefore, incorporating technology can naturally increase engagement because they understand the tool being used. Using Kahoot or Blooket for quick quizzes or apps like ClassDojo to provide real-time feedback. However, remember this should be a lesson enhancer and not a distractor. 


Beyond Kahoot and Blooket, you can have students use Flipgrid to give speeches or respond to lessons, prompts, or to complete verbal tasks. You can also use Google Earth and incorporate technology into geography lessons. By using this, students and virtual visit places they are learning about. Finally, you can always find interactive eBooks or apps that let students manipulate elements or solve puzzles that go along with what you’re learning in the classroom. 

5: Make It Matter with Real-World Applications 

Our final tip of the day is to make engagement part of your daily routines by making it real-wold relatable. When you can relate your subject to real world ideas, your students have a deeper understanding of the concept being taught. For example, if you’re teaching addition and subtraction, why not use buying groceries? You can talk about the cost of objects and even bring in real objects to enact scenarios. Have students add up the amount someone would owe. Subtraction comes into play when students have to give change back or if someone has a coupon for an item. This is a great way to bring real-life into the classroom. 


In addition to the grocery store, you can also use cooking to teach fractions. Students can measure ingredients for a recipe and learn how important those fractions are.You can also use board games like Monopoly to teach about money and investing your money. Beyond math, you can hold a mock election to learn more about history and social studies. 

Increasing engagement in daily classroom routines is simple with these five powerhouse strategies that are sure to win your students over. With little prep, you can make any lesson memorable by adding movement, going outside, making it real world relatable, or by simply creating a comfortable community. By doing any of these, your students will be more engaged and involved in their learning. So, what are you going to try in your classroom to increase engagement? Leave it in the comments! 

Until Next Time…

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