Welcoming students back to A Grade Ahead after the holiday break has been wonderful. I have been fortunate to hear what each student did during this important respite.
After a demanding first semester, students use holiday break to relax, enjoy time with friends and family, and have fun. But going back to school after a break can be difficult. Students can experience burnout, which happens when students experience constant stress or frustration with little opportunity to relax and recharge. Avoiding burnout is possible if students are given a reasonable set of goals. These include creating timetables, keeping engaged, taking breaks, maintaining positive attitudes, and staying healthy.
There are just a few strategies that teachers and parents can use to maintain momentum and motivate students from the previous semester. They can also help students succeed through the end of the school year.
Set Achievable Goals
After a long break it is easy for students to become discouraged about what is ahead for them. In order to help keep them focused, encourage them to set short-goals. Help students find the best way to achieve their goals. This could be a chart or worksheet allowing them to visualize their endeavors. Help students by defining goals and discussing why they are important. Give examples and encourage them to understand that goals should be attainable.
Create Routines and Expectations
Classroom practices and routines provide numerous benefits to students. They create a sense of order and predictability, which can make students feel more confident in the classroom. When students know what to expect, they are more likely to stay focused and productive. An established routine will direct student movement, so they know the class structure. They can think of this similarly to when specific time is set aside for English, math or science homework. Students feel more at ease following the routine.
Prioritize Movement Breaks
Not moving for more than thirty minutes is not a good habit, just from a physical standpoint. There is a correlation between mental and physical health, particularly among children. When students spend more than thirty minutes sitting idle, their ability to stay focused soon declines. This may then result in behavioral problems and affect their learning experience. Movement increases blood flow in the body and brain. There are many benefits of movement in young children and older kids. These include increased alertness and the ability to focus, improved fine motor skills and physical development, and increased emotional well-being. Not to mention, moving makes learning fun!
Students who receive positive reinforcement may be enriched and then motivated to challenge themselves. Every victory, no matter how small, deserves to be celebrated. Any accomplishment, whether that be finishing homework or doing chores, should be acknowledged.
Keep in mind, giving students as much grace as possible during a sometimes-difficult return will allow for an easier transition to school.
What do you think? Is your child feeling motivated to finish out the school year? Are there any tried-and-true methods you have for getting students back on track in the new year? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!
Author: Pamela Crum, Lead Teacher at A Grade Ahead, Inc.