Teaching is not just about standing up in front of the class and presenting information on different subjects. It is about creating a warm, welcoming environment for students. Furthermore, it is about getting to know the students and finding different ways to keep them engaged during lessons. Thus, the importance of student interest inventories cannot be stressed enough. Student interest inventories are one of the best ways for students to open up to the teacher! By taking the time to have students complete these, teachers can truly look at their class as individuals.
Importance of Finding Out Students Interests
There are so many benefits to knowing what students like!
Benefit 1: Relationships
When teachers know student interests, they can develop stronger relationships. For example, a teacher can ask how a dance class went or what new karate technique was learned. Students love being asked about their interests! Thus, they are excited to come to class and update their teacher. Whenever student interest inventories occur, stronger relationships are being formed. This will also lead to fewer behavior issues and more engaged students during lessons!
Benefit 2: Content Connection
Due to how much is going on in students’ lives, they need to feel a connection to the content. In other words, they need to see how the content relates to them. By knowing their interests, teachers can bring in real-world connections.
Benefit 3: Student Choice
Whenever lesson planning, it is always great to bring in opportunities for students to make choices. When they do this, they are more excited about the lesson and cannot wait to learn. However, in order to truly give students a choice that they love, student interest inventories are key. Teachers can take those results and then see common trends among students. By doing this, their interests are fully embedded into lessons.
Different Ways to Complete Interest Inventories
Since every classroom is different, there is no right or wrong way to have students complete interest inventories.
Option 1: Poster Surveys
For this technique, write a question on a large post-it. For instance, My Favorite Special Activity is… may be written on the paper. Under it, there are different options. Students may then be given a sticker and be able to mark their pick. This is a great way to pick a reward when students earn one!
Option 2: Scavenger Hunts/Task Cards
Students can be given a list of questions for a student’s interest inventories. For example, one may be looking for a classmate with the same birthday month or who likes the same color. Students will have a blast walking around and finding common interests! As a teacher, stand back and observe how excited the students are at finding a match. Then, collect the surveys and review the results.
Option 3: Classroom Activities
There are several quick ways to gain knowledge on student interests. For example, develop a few questions and options. Then, divide the class into four squares. After reading off the question and answers, students can move to the square they prefer. This is a great way to let everyone see the results! Before starting, just be sure to remind students to be honest and not feel they need to follow a friend.
Option 4: Getting to Know You Inventories and Rating Scales
This resource is filled with different ways to complete interest inventories. There are various styles of worksheets and rating scales. The worksheets will allow students to tell the teacher all about themselves. Additionally, the rating scales are great ways for students to quickly provide their overall feelings on a topic. By collecting these inventories, teachers can look at students as the individuals they are.
Ways Teachers Can Use Interest Inventory Results to Their Advantage while Teaching Reading
Idea 1: Interest Articles
Once the inventory results are reviewed, teachers can use the results to bring in different readings. For example, there is often a desire to have a greater focus on nonfiction articles. However, students often find these boring and hard to understand. Thus, use the results to assign one based on student interest! Whether fiction or nonfiction, students will be excited to read when the passage is on a topic they love! Even better, they will be so excited to see that the teacher is actually using the information from the inventory!
Idea 2: Progress Monitoring
Teachers strive to help students improve skills as the year progresses. Thus, using the results to assign interest-based articles is a great way to bring in progress monitoring. For example, students can practice reading fluency. Or, they can practice comprehension by answering general questions about the article.
Idea 3 Groupings
Developing relationships in the classroom is a focus of all teachers. When students have friends, they are excited to be at school. However, making friends is hard! Thus, the results can form groups based on similar student interest inventories. Additionally, this will help classmates form friendships by getting to know students they may not have initiated a conversation with.
Why interest inventories are the best?
Student interest inventories allow students to become individuals. You might also like interest inventories. They give each individual student a way to find a voice within the classroom. Additionally, they provide an enormous amount of insight for teachers. Ultimately, teachers can use the information to learn about each person in the classroom, help build relationships, and focus lessons on students!
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