You have made it past the first quarter…Your middle school students have fallen into a routine, expectations have been established, and the students are working hard on a daily basis. The first report card may have just gone home or is ready to be shared at fall conferences. Students are setting goals for that next quarter. School life for both students and teachers is in full swing and going well. Then BAM…
…and our students think that their winter vacation has already begun. Work levels decrease, student enthusiasm wanes, and all of those awesome routines take a back seat to holiday excitement.
Don’t let all of that amazing fall work go by the wayside. Instead, keep your students inspired, motivated, and enthusiastic to learn throughout the holiday season with these fun student engagement tips for BIG KIDS!
Tip #1: Get your students up and moving!
I love to use reader’s theater on a regular basis throughout the school year, but even more during the holiday season. Through the use of different scripts, reader’s theater keeps my students’ attention with performing, has them working on and building fluency, enhancing vocabulary through word work, and strengthening comprehension and writing.; It is my go-to ELA tool with my students. When they observe that it will be the focus of the day, cheers erupt! Grab one of my Reader’s Theater lesson plans and watch student engagement soar!
This week we are doing some focus on holiday-centered short stories. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant are two amazing texts that will get your students talking about the true meaning of the holidays through theme, plot structure, and character analysis.
Tip #2: Every task doesn’t require technology or paper/pencil. Get students TALKING!
As novels are getting completed, don’t have those students take another test, give them something that encourages creativity. I love using chit chat cards because they give students a break from the normal comprehension work. Students have nothing to write down or record (AND YOU HAVE NOTHING TO GRADE) because they are discussing their thoughts about characters, setting, plot, theme, etc. Your students will LOVE not having to worry about writing in complete sentences or paragraphs because their main focus is speaking and listening. Check out this print and go reading tool here:
Tip #3: Get your students involved in service learning.
Work with your students to develop a clothing, coat, food, or blanket drive. Local shelters, churches, women’s centers, and food pantries could really use as much as they can get during the holidays. Have your students vote on some sort of drive that they would like to pursue and encourage them to bring in whatever items they can contribute to the cause. Most of these places are happy to pick up any of the items donated. Your students will feel empowered that they are able to help others.
This time of year is festive and exciting, but learning is a priority! I would love to hear ways that you work to engage your students to be their best during the school year.