Summer-time; hot weather, bubbling excitement for the end of term and holding classes outside.
Sounds perfect. A sun drenched alternative to the freezing cold lessons spend huddled near the radiator all winter, right? However, the term before summer is often a struggle for teachers everywhere, keeping the attention of your class can be tricky so take a gander through these helpful tips.
- Keep it interesting, plan a range of different activities
One way to ensure that you keep your class engaged and learning to the best of their ability is to really put some extra thought into your summer lessons.
With the end of term in sight, it’s easy to want to give your students and yourself a well deserved break with some less taxing lesson ideas but work still needs to be taught and learnt.
Try mixing your class plans up a bit, keep it interesting and come up with new ways to demonstrate ideas and theories.
Get the class to channel their creative spirits and set work that makes them think but is also getting their creative juices flowing. Teaching World War II in history? Why not get your students to design posters or write letters to loved ones as if they were part of the war.
Teaching fractions or algebra in maths? Get your pupils to grab some coloured pens and make charts or equations that are colour coded to make them stand out and help them grasp the topic.
Studying a difficult novel in English? You could get your class to each stand up and present to the rest of the class about what they think about the novel, who their favourite character is and why and what they think other could learn from the novel in modern society. Keep it interesting and mix it up where you can to ensure the class stays focussed.
2. Pay attention to the mood of class
It may be stating the obvious, but try to keep an eye on the overall mood of the class. Yes, you might have a really in depth lesson planned and to some extent it is always good to stick to your plans, but if the class is lethargic and its a boiling hot summers day where no one is giving you their full attention, your lesson plan is going to be ruined.
Cut yourself and your students some slack and adapt your plans when plausible. If you’re teaching a science class, is there any way you could conduct some experiments outside, take your art class to do some live drawing within nature or allow your English class to sit outside whilst reading or studying.
3. Mix it up with some peer teaching or group work
The key to getting your class to stay motivated is to switch it up, as mentioned earlier. This can mean slotting in some peer teaching time or group work.
Peer work helps in a multitude of ways but is great for your class as it means they are learning from each other, formulating their own opinions and grasping a topic more firmly as a result.
Group work may seem like a treat for your students but it actually aids their learning in ways they may not fully understand yet.
It allows them to hear other people’s thoughts on a subject and take that into account whilst thinking about their own understanding of the topic. Therfore, its a great way to switch up your class on a blistering Friday afternoon. A change to the regular lesson structure will also make sure they stay engaged and listening.
4. Stay enthusiastic
Another good tip for keeping your class on track is to practice what you preach.
Stay enthusiastic yourself and your pupils will find it hard not to catch your good mood and positive energy. Use the points above to plan a varied lesson and don’t let the heat get to you. Stay compelling and enthusiastic especially if it’s a difficult topic or something that might take a while for the class to grasp.
Making sure to keep an eye on your tone so it stays engaging will make a huge amount of difference as no one focuses well if they are being spoken to in a monotonous way.
5. Make sure everyone is hydrated
This may be another obvious one, but during the hotter months, when you’re all cooped up in a stifling classroom, make sure you and your class are properly hydrated. Have a bottle of water nearby at all times and make sure you’re regularly drinking enough water, encourage your students to bring water into lessons and allow them to fill up water bottles. Open all the windows to let fresh air in and that in itself will help you and your class feel more awake and energised.
Obviously you can come up with your own take on these tips but hopefully the ideas above may inspire and help towards getting a firm handle on those last weeks before summer so you and your class can enjoy the term, learn what needs to be learned and then be rewarded with a well-deserved break at the end of it! Almost there now!