Do you want to do more activities in your classroom to build engagement?
Are you trying to challenge your students’ creative and critical thinking skills?
If so, the Reinforce Phase of AES’ curriculum framework might be the phase you want to focus on. It specializes in using unique and fun ways to help students build upon the information they learned in previous phases.
However, the Reinforce Phase is one that teachers sometimes have trouble using to its fullest potential.
In this article, you’ll gain guidance on what the Reinforce Phase is and learn ways to use it in your classroom.
What Is the Reinforce Phase?
We’ll begin with the Four Phases, which is a learning framework designed to maximize student understanding while saving you time with planning.
The Four Phases our curriculum is divided into are:
Learning & Practice
Each phase of this framework is intended to perform a certain objective to serve the greater purpose of helping students retain key information for the long term.
The Reinforce Phase is the final component of the Four Phases. It is primarily composed of student-led projects designed to enhance understanding of concepts and skills.
In this phase, the student is pushed to take the lessons they’re learning and apply critical thinking to the module’s concepts to complete a project of their own.
Over the course of completing these projects and activities, students also learn soft skills like presenting, research, teamwork, writing, and comprehension.
Reinforce Phase activities also help to build upon and reinforce skills students have learned in the Learn & Practice Phase, as well as cover additional standards that might not be in the Learn & Practice Phase.
Tips to Use the Reinforce Activities and Projects in Your Classes
1. You Don’t Have to Use Every Activity in Every Module
Remember, all of the components of our curriculum are there to make it easier for you to teach your class. They’ve been designed for flexibility so that teachers like you can fit them more easily with your teaching style or existing course material.
With that in mind, don’t feel compelled to use projects that won’t fit well in your class.
Depending on the needs of your class, you may want to focus on one specific course standard, or maybe you want your students to hone their teamwork skills.
In those cases, it might be a good idea to use projects to reinforce those concepts or skills.
However, if a Reinforce Phase project encompasses soft skills or topics you don't need to cover, feel free not to use that project.
2. Try Using Reinforce Activities in Conjunction with the Learn & Practice Phase
Although our Four Phases are in a specific order, that doesn’t mean you have to teach them in the order in which they’re presented.
Again, the curriculum is designed for flexibility in your class, and bits and pieces of each phase can be changed around to fit in with others.
Projects from the Reinforce Phase often directly expand upon the concepts of a particular unit in the Learn & Practice phase.
By incorporating these projects between the units of the Learn & Practice phase, you can help students solidify their understanding of a concept before moving on to the next lesson.
3. Make the Projects Your Own!
Don’t be afraid to change projects to better fit them into your class.
For example, if you admire the framework of a project, but don’t think it fits in well with a particular lesson, then change the project to cover a different topic you think would be a better fit.
Alternatively, you can change some of the logistics of a project. Perhaps there is a group project that you think would serve your students better if it were completed individually or vice versa.
As long as it’s the best fit for your classroom, alter the projects however you need to in order to make them your own!
4. Assign the Current Event Reports as Homework
Current event reports are short research assignments that students complete that connect the subject matter they’re learning with prominent events happening in the world. Typically, topic ideas accompany these assignments, supplied either by the curriculum or by you.
If a module contains a current event report assignment, consider assigning it as homework, as these reports serve well in that role.
These assignments can be invaluable in helping your students form connections between their lessons and the wider world. This makes your course material seem more pressing, relevant, and timely.
5. Replace a Test with a Project
All too often students are overwhelmed by test fatigue and make the mistake of cheating on their digital tests by Googling answers to test questions, or by other methods.
This is an issue we hear from teachers like you often, as it runs the risk of defeating the purpose of your class entirely.
One way to combat this issue of cheating and test fatigue is to consider replacing some of your tests with a project from the Reinforce Phase.
After all, Reinforce Phase projects are a great way to build engagement with your students, as well as get them to enact creativity and use critical thinking skills.
Many students even prefer completing these projects to taking tests. And, unlike tests, projects are much harder to cheat on.
Looking for More Ideas on How to Use Reinforce Projects?
You’ve learned a few different ways you can use Reinforce Phase projects in your classroom, but why not take a look at more specific examples?
Consider visiting our Facebook group to see how our community of teachers uses these projects every day in unique ways to teach their classes and enhance their students’ understanding.