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Depending on where you work, you probably have somewhere
around 40 instructional days left in the school year. It seems like yesterday that we were getting our rooms ready for our precious angels. But spring is in the air and we have almost made it. We are rounding 3rd base and heading for home (Yes, I’m a baseball fan from Chicago. You guessed it, a Sox fan!). You may be experiencing students beginning to lose interest (slightly) and the fight to keep them focused increases day by day. So what can we do to keep them engaged?
Focus on the 3 things to keep students engaged
Sense of Purpose
Toward the end of each school year, we tend to rush through the material so we are able to cover that ever-so-important content. Instead, go through your remaining units and begin to focus on the skills that you want your students to master. Is it problem-solving, drawing conclusions, resolving conflicting views, or reading for purpose? The point is that if we focus on developing proficiency of specific skills, there is a good chance that there is content that can be taken out. What is the non-negotiable content that best matches the skill the students are learning? Focus on that content and strip away the rest. Students will appreciate not having to race through content and perhaps enjoy having opportunities to analyze and apply it to new situations.
Face it, our patience runs thinner this time of the school year. Those little things that may not have bothered us at the beginning of the year are now getting under our skin. We are the adults and it is still our responsibility to act with dignity and have a sarcastic-free zone. If a student does act inappropriately, handle the situation in a respectful manner. Each student has the potential to be a leader. When they become adults, they will have responsibilities, as a spouse, parent, co-worker, manager, or leader. It is our job to help build those leadership qualities in all of our students.
Trust students to live up to their potential
We may tend to lower our expectations as the end of the school year nears. It is important to continue to have high expectations for all your students throughout the school year, from day 1 to day 180. As educators, it is our responsibility to help our students grow academically so they are prepared for the next level. Keep encouraging students to do the best work they can do and not slack off. Don’t accept zeros. Hold students accountable by making sure they turn in all work and complete all assignments. Finally don’t assume students know their current performance in class. Hold quick meetings to make sure they know what their current grades are in class.
By focusing on these 3 pieces, we can have a smooth end of the year.
How do you keep your sanity this time of year?
If you are interested in learning about an RtI System of Support, click here. My colleagues and I created a system that is helping students who are struggling academically and it was published by Reading Rockets.
We are always looking for new subscribers. It is free. Would you like to know more about implementing the Common Core State Standards into your curriculum, click here. If interested, we can send you our free e-book titled Overview of SACI, which can provide background information on the importance of building a skills-based curriculum around the Common Core. Email us at email@example.com and we’ll email you a pdf of the e-book.