By Teachers, For Teachers
If you are feeling that mid-year slump, you are not alone. Keeping your students enthusiastic about school mid-year can be quite a struggle. You do not have to follow that old adage “This, too, shall pass.”
Instead, you can get up and do something about it. You can enliven your classroom mid-year by trying some new teaching strategies, including a new activity, trying something different and unexpected, and taking a break from your normal routine. Here are several teaching strategies that do just that.
You have most likely been doing the same activities all year long so far. So this is the perfect time to dig out one of your old favorites that you learned in college or from a colleague. Find an activity that you love teaching, and that you know your students will love doing. If you loved the strategy “Sketch-to-Stretch,” where students visualize the text and interpret it through drawing, then try it. “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson is the perfect book to use this strategy with. When you try something new, you will be able to feel the energy in the room brighten.
Elementary students love to have a book read to them, so you should dig out your favorite children’s book and read it to your students. If you have an upper elementary school grade, and you think they would rather read themselves, then you can change things up and have them choose a book instead of your choosing the book for them. Some great mid-year read alouds are “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “Little House on the Prairie.”
Mid-year is the perfect time to try something different that you have never tried before. If you have always wanted to try brain breaks in your classroom, then now is the time. Elementary students would love a break to get up and get moving, and Go Noodle is just the thing to try. It’s a fun and interactive way to get kids moving. If you have always wanted to try choice menus in your classroom, but never have gotten the chance, now is the time. Be creative and design a choice menu where students get to choose how they will learn the topic you are teaching.
One of the best and easiest ways that you can re-energize your students is to get their input on what is going to make them happy. Design a mid-year survey where students can give their suggestions on what, and how they will learn. Your students will love that you value their opinion and that in itself will help re-energize your classroom.
Introduce the unexpected to re-energize your classroom. Routines are beneficial, especially to the little ones. They always know what to expect which in turn provides a nice classroom flow, and helps deter any classroom misbehavior. But by switching up your daily routine you are re-energizing your classroom, which is a real effective way to enliven your students mid-year. Think of a way to really wow your students. You can surprise them with a movie mid-day, switch their morning meeting or bell work until the end of the day, or just take a break from your regular routine altogether.
These are just a few ways that you can re-energize your classroom and avoid the mid-year slump. Getting students up and out of their seats, while trying something new will allow them to gain some much needed perspective for the rest of the school year. It is also essential that teachers show their enthusiasm for school. By keeping your energy and excitement up mid-year, you will show students how to follow suit.
How do you re-energize your classroom midyear? Do you have any tips or tricks that you use? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.