Student engagement ebbs and flows over the course of a typical school year, and 2021–2022 has been anything but typical. How can teachers get their students reinvested in their learning now that there are just a few months left in the school year? In this post, we offer four tips teachers can use to make this time of year feel productive while putting enough pep in students’ steps to help them stay invested through the spring.
1. Help Students Self-Reflect through Data Chats
Carve out a few minutes each week to have short, individual check-ins/data chats with students who need more personalized motivation.
Discussing goals and growth with students has numerous benefits. It challenges them to take ownership of their learning, fosters growth mindsets, and encourages metacognition (i.e., thinking about thinking).
- Resource: Student Data Chats Pack
2. Start a New Seasonal Challenge
Think of spring as a chance to restart and refresh. Begin the new season by making learning a team effort. By tracking class progress and growth and using friendly competitions, you can challenge students while also helping them feel like they are part of a larger learning community.
- Resource: Student Engagement Recipe Card
3. Recognize and Celebrate Growth
Before asking students to turn their attention to growth goals for the rest of the year, take time to celebrate how much they’ve grown so far.
Use public announcements, bulletin boards, certificates, or rewards to highlight when a student or class has reached a goal and/or made progress.
- Resource: Student Certificates
4. Check Out What Other Teachers Have Done
If another teacher’s students got really excited about their i-Ready data wall or you’ve heard that friendly competition, students’ interest-based lesson trackers, etc. have been a hit with other classrooms, consider trying out some of your colleagues’ ideas. If it worked for them, odds are these practices will work in your classroom too.
5. Bonus: Think about Your Engagement Too
Okay, so this tip will make my list five items long, not four, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind teachers to rekindle their engagement too. As my colleague Danielle Sullivan wrote in How to Stay Connected When We Are Apart, “If we can focus on self-care today, we’re able to handle what could happen tomorrow.”
- Resource: How to Stay Connected When We Are Apart
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