We have another 1 1/2 months of school, and the kids (and teachers) are definitely seeing signs of the upcoming summer months. The weather is improving. The last of the school year activities are in full swing. The seniors are counting down their days and are suffering a full-blown case of Senioritis. We've all been there. It's the time of year where it'd be really easy to slide into a proverbial pair of house slippers and kick back. We know the kids, and they know us. We've got the routine down as a group, and the kids know the expectations. However, in knowing and understanding comes the time for a little preventative medicine... It's time to chuck those slippers to the side and put on the dancing shoes! Make your classroom a place kids want to go.
Keeping kids fully engaged from bell to bell is not easy. Sometimes, it's downright hard. But--it's important. Especially now. Downtime means boredom, lack of learning, and a time for discipline issues to rear their ugly heads. Edutopia has a superb list here of tips for keeping kids at the top of their game, even at this stage of the year.
I'm a huge proponent of bell-ringers (or whatever you happen to call them). Not only are these short bursts of learning a great way to get the mind active and acclimated to the day's lesson, they can serve as activities for early finishers as well. There should never, in my outspoken opinion, be time where students are wondering what they could or should be doing. Ever. Attached here is an entire Pinterest board by Jennie Anne Davis FULL of superb activities for such engagement. Additionally, here is a list by Kristin Bowers more suited for upper level students.
What thrills me even more are the techie twists for activating student thinking. Start your day with a QR code scavenger hunt tied to a review of the previous day's learning. Use this site from Classtools.net to quickly make your own. Use Padlet to make a mock Twitter feed of an event. Make a fictitious SMS exchange between Shakespearean characters (or whomever you're studying). It can really make the mundane exciting, and it's our job to ensure learning. Make the most of these last weeks of school. Bask in the moments of organized excellence and enjoy the dance. (And remember, you can't dance decently in slippers).