The last light of summer fades into fall.  The air has become crisp and stern, as if it’s giving you a final warning lecture before it really takes you to task in December.   The leaves will soon burst into yellows and oranges, and plaid-trousered alumni wander the campus and point out where things aren’t.

(At least on campuses with proper climates.  Mutatis mutandis for pleasant weather.)

But it’s also the time of year where the first assignments of the semester come due, and the students, busy with papers and tests, come dead-eyed into class.  If your class is the one giving the exam or requiring the paper, all their attention is focused on that, not on lecture or discussion.  If your class isn’t the one currently assessing them, your class just dropped off the priority list.

What tricks do you have to keep the classroom engaging?