It’s that time of the term again! We are approaching the holidays and the cherubs have very little else on their minds! However, this poses a bit of a problem for us teachers who need to get through the last of the term’s work and make sure it’s sinking in. So how do we get the most out of our students in the last week of term? Here are seven tips for engaging students at the end of term.
Setting goals is a great way of making sure your students know what needs to be done before Friday afternoon of the last week rolls around. Once they understand what needs to be done, they will be more motivated to complete the work promptly. Some goals you could set for your class include making sure they have their workbooks completed or have submitted their assessment task.
Give students choice
Giving the students choice between different activities to complete during lessons can help to maximise your students’ engagement at the end of term. Organise a variety of activities and allow the students to pick which one they would like to complete. This will allow them to feel a sense of control over their learning, which will consequently motivate them to finish the tasks.
Have students conduct self-checks
The end of term is a great time for self-reflection, so use it as a way of engaging students at the end of term. There are a few ways you can do this.
Ask the kids self-monitoring questions
Provide your cherubs with some self-monitoring questions to have them reflect on their learning behaviour over the course of the term. Some questions include:
- Have I been listening properly this term?
- Have I been engaged during lessons this term?
- Have I been trying my best?
Check against learning intentions and success criteria
This self-check will encourage students to reflect on whether they have been meeting the standards you set for your students’ work. Ask them questions such as:
- Have I used full sentences?
- Have I used correct grammar, spelling and punctuation?
- Have I responded correctly to the key terms?
- Has this work been completed to the best of my ability?
- Have I included examples where appropriate?
Introduce the three takeaways reflection to your lessons. At the end of each lesson, have your kids ask themselves:
- What is something you learned?
- What is something you are curious about?
- What is something you would like to know more about?
All of these self-checks are a great way of engaging students at the end of term and it will also provide them an opportunity to discover what areas they can improve on next term.
Set extension activities
Your students might be tempted to complete their set tasks as quickly as possible towards the end of term. They are already starting to wind down, and they know the sooner they complete their tasks, the sooner they can get back to unwinding. But we certainly don’t want that in our classrooms! You can prevent your students from racing ahead by setting extension tasks. These tasks will either act as a deterrent for rushing through the main activity, or it will keep your speedy students busy until the end of the lesson.
If you suspect your student is deliberately racing and hasn’t completed the work properly, you can hand them a ‘speeding ticket’. The ‘speeding ticket’ should include some self-check questions to allow them to reflect on whether they have completed their task properly and how they can improve the work they have submitted.
Remind your students of the importance of summarising notes
This tip is particularly pertinent to senior students. It is important for them to make some notes after covering each dot point of the syllabus to reinforce what they have learnt. Encourage your seniors to write out these notes during any spare time they may have at the end of the term. Remind your Year 12 students that the more notes they make now, the easier studying becomes in the lead up to the HSC. It’s also a good idea to get your Year 11 students into the habit of note making early!
Maintain high expectations
Your students may think it’s time to start winding down, but make it known to them that you don’t have the same view! Keep in place the same rules and standards you set throughout the rest of the term. If you lower the expectations you set for your students at the end of term, they may expect this to continue when they return, and it will make your job harder when it comes time to focus again after the holidays.
If all else fails, turn your lesson into a game! Games are a great way to keep the kids engaged and it is so easy to incorporate your content and syllabus dot points into games. There are plenty of fun games on the Teacher PD store. Browse through your subject area to find some great syllabus-driven games to play with your kids.
Engaging students at the end of term can be difficult, but hopefully implementing these seven tips will help you to have a productive last week!