Question Detail

Keeping Kids Engaged Through the End of School

Apr 15, 2013 12:59pm

With the school year winding down (just a little over a month to go for traditional calendar schools in our district) how do you keep students engaged during the last weeks? What strategies do you use to ensure behavior doesn't spiral out of control?

  • Arts / English Language Arts / Foreign Language / Math / Physical Education / Science / Social Studies / Technology
  • Pre K-12
  • Behavior / Engagement

11

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    • Apr 18, 2013 10:31am

      I agree that having a reward to work towards and earn is a great motivational incentive. Perhaps have a jar that you can put beads (or other small object) into or remove from based upon behavior and effort. If the jar is full by the end of the year, they have earned the reward!

      As something else to keep their heads ready to learn, be sure to provide ample movement breaks and activities throughout each day. When children (and many adults) sit for too long, their brains shut off and concentration can be lost. This doesn't have to mean extra recesses or filling the day with brain gym. You can find ways to move that will help to teach the curriculum such as moving their bodies through the path blood takes in the heart, or laying out a maze of numbers on the floor and having them jump across the path by landing only on prime numbers, for examples.

      • Apr 18, 2013 11:21pm

        I have a clip chart that promotes positive behavrior. It resembles the traffic light system where everyone starts on green.However, students that exemplify excellent behavior go to a "better" color than green. I have a cloud that is blue and I say they are out of this world. Or I say they are off the chart. I use clothespins with their class numbers. For May and June, as an extra incentive, my plan is that if they go above and beyond the "blue" expectations (better than blue) I will wear their clips on my id lanyard. It really is incentive to try harder. This signifies that they have reached new heights:) I tell them they are on "Switek World". "Switek" is my last name. As educators we always have to find ways to change it up and keep it interesting:) This idea comes from a program on the internet called "Clip Chart" behavior incentives.My program has been modified from the original example, but it works the same way.

        • Apr 21, 2013 4:14am

          One of the best ways to keep them engaged is to make sure you have a handy set of engaging lesson plans to use throughout the year. I can understand the temptation to say "let's do something fun" but on the other hand, that would belittle what you have done for the year and make students wonder, "Why didn't we do this at the beginning of the year or, all year long?" Every year, I refine about 180 lesson plans that I have and reserve ones that utilize the entire class or groups of 10-15 students for may and June. But that doesn't mean that the fun ends or begins, it continues. And so do the standards.

          If you would like some ideas, feel free to email me at ericpollock@yahoo.com and I can send you some capstone and culminating projects for the semester.

          • Apr 16, 2013 7:29pm

            I agree with Lauren- you want to keep them working. I like the idea of having the fun activity be learning based because it keeps learning relevant but they also don't have free time to act out. At the end of the year in 7th grade, we have a celebration of learning, so students must also research and prepare presentations to share with parents and classmates. Since this is the big part of their grade, they can't just check out mentally and move into party time.

            • Apr 20, 2013 1:16pm

              Go Outside! You have to plan ahead and come up with a specific activity (that goes along with your PASS/Common Core objectives of course), and give students a rubric so they stay on task.

              • Apr 20, 2013 1:20pm

                I teach High School so my students have to continue studying for their classroom final. I will use a variety of activities to keep reveiw engaging.

                • Apr 22, 2013 7:25am

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                  • May 11, 2013 12:00pm

                    I found my students are never bored or tired of doing art. So I always design some art projects that are related to our learning objectives of the week to keep them busy. They communicate, collaborate, and even have their own competitions with each other during the process of completing the project. Praises and rewards definitely work wonders in this time of the year too. Use it all the time with students who behaved well and the rest of the class will follow the example. Hope it will work! :)

                    • May 16, 2013 12:50pm

                      If you have not already taught your students how to participate in Socratic Seminars this could be a great time to start. Socratic Seminars build on students' social needs (to be heard, to have a voice, to express ideas) while at the same time getting them to explore provocative, or challenging texts.

                      • Sep 5, 2013 10:04am

                        When I taught high school computer technology classes, I had all students help design a final class project. This gave them ownership of the project and helped reduce "senioritis". This helped us all get through the final weeks of school and hold the students' interest in completing the project.

                        • Jul 14, 2014 1:04pm

                          I teach Juniors and Seniors and believe me the Seniors check out as soon as those AP tests are completed. After the mandatory state testing is complete end of April--early May I begin projects with my Astronomy classes that involve researching topic, developing PowerPoint presentations, models of their subject, and then class presentations. This keeps them busy for a couple of weeks. My Physics classes have their field trip to the local theme park at this time and have to select lab activity, build equipment, complete lab at the park. Back in class they work as a team to complete lab presentation to class. I try to make this time fun for them but keeps them involved in class objectives.