Keeping students engaged in the last few weeks of school

November 20, 2012

The final weeks of the school year are a time for celebration and reflection, however they can also be some of the most challenging weeks for both students and teachers. School fetes, end of year social events and awards nights and associated late nights, on top of final assessments and report writing, bring additional stress and fatigue. At the end of the year motivation is often lacking for some students and teachers are likely to be tired. This is a time when challenging or grumpy behaviours from  students are more likely to appear.

To help you out, here are a few ideas you can use to keep your class motivated and engaged in learning in the final weeks of school.

  • Maintain an academic focus. Remind students school work will remain the priority, but some flexibility will be available as part of the lead up to end of year programs.
  • Introduce relaxation exercises. Relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or guided visualisation can help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and fatigue. Use these techniques immediately after lunch, or when the class is unsettled, to help refocus and calm students (and yourself) ready for planned learning activities. See Smiling Mind for free relaxation audios for all ages, andPsych4Schools for relaxation scripts.
  • Implement one minute breaks. Regular class stretching or wriggling can help to keep students alert. Simply standing up, taking a deep breath and stretching your arms high above your head can revive your energy levels. Alert students are more likely to stay engaged and focused on their work. 
  • Incorporate group activities. Group activities provide students with a constructive way to complete work; and offer a chance to engage productivity with one another. 
  • Take a lesson outside. Teach a few lessons a week outside. This also provides opportunities to incorporate physical activity and games into your lessons.
  • Make some activities about the students or their interests. One of the best ways to keep students engaged is to plan learning experiences around areas they are interested in or about themselves. Allow some time for students to talk and share their interests.