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Every teacher knows the drill. Once May arrives, little minds switch to summer mode. It’s even more challenging if you teach seniors dreaming of going away to college or starting their careers. Your ultimate goal is to keep your learners productive and on-task. Consider the following four activities for the end of the school year to keep students engaged.
1. Multidisciplinary Studies
This tip works best in schools that arrange student sections into teaching teams, although you can do it with any like-minded colleague willing to work with you. Multidisciplinary learning encourages students to take a deeper dive into topics by exposing them to various facets of a complete whole. Students enhance critical skills such as problem-solving, communication and writing, and teamwork that transfer outside the classroom.
For example, a multidisciplinary unit that revolves around WWII might have history teachers sharing timelines of events, English learners sharing novels such as “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and math and physics instructors detailing the formulas that created the first atomic bombs. Instead of learning these things separately with no context, students can form a more holistic understanding of these events and eras.
Such units keep students engaged by allowing every learner to showcase their unique skills while gaining a sense of responsibility. Collaborate with your colleagues on various evaluation techniques. No law says that a student who struggles on tests has to demonstrate their understanding through that medium alone — how can you and your team let every student indicate their comprehension?
2. Independent Deep Dive
Some teachers stay away from independent study, fearing that it will only encourage those students who have already checked out mentally more time to slack. This process does require you to maintain active engagement but offers an unparalleled opportunity for one-on-one instruction and guidance to give reluctant learners the inspiration they need.
Independent study engages learners by letting them explore something they feel passionate about. You can also integrate technology, which is helpful if some or all of your students are distance learners.
For example, a science student might choose to experiment to test a theory they originate. Part of the learning and evaluation process entails following the steps of the scientific method, controlling variables and establishing control groups. Their final project might consist of creating a website where they outline and analyze their results.
3. Career Exploration
Career exploration is the perfect activity to engage those learners who have a case of senioritis. They might tune out of every lecture you attempt starting at the beginning of the spring semester. However, you’ll capture their attention if you bring in a speaker from the HR department of a local employer who provides tons of jobs.
You can use multiple activities to guide your students in determining the best career choice for them. You also want to give them meaningful, actionable information.
For example, many schools barely touch upon basic financial literacy, but determining how — and whether you should — pay for college is a decision with lifelong ramifications. Can you connect with a certified financial planner who can help your students decide if the investment is right for them? They’ll listen much more to someone who makes a living telling others what to do with their money than they do to their daily instructor.
On an institutional level, connecting with local businesses to establish internship opportunities is another option. Some schools have students attend traditional classes for half the day, then spend the afternoon working in various fields to determine what suits their interests and abilities.
4. Perfecting Portfolios
Many schools now opt for a portfolio-style evaluation in place of or in addition to final exams. This collection of accomplishments isn’t only to make the grade, however. It can become a powerful tool for your students to carry in their briefcase when going on job interviews.
Therefore, why not devote instructional time to helping your students assemble and polish their portfolios? Part of the process might entail uploading and converting documents to PDF files so that learners have an electronic record of their best work that they can print or submit as part of an electronic application.
This activity keeps students engaged in a project that is meaningful to them while individualizing the work pace. Those learners who finish assembling their portfolios more quickly can use the additional time to search for jobs online and polish their resumes.
Use These 4 Activities for the End of the School Year to Keep Your Students Engaged
Keeping your learners productive as the semester draws to a close is a challenge every teacher understands. Why not try one of these four activities to keep your students engaged for the end of the school year?