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Tuesday, December 3

How to Keep Your Students Engaged Before Winter Break


Are you ready for the final stretch? Are you ready to pull out every student engagement strategy and XL coffee cup you have left? That’s right folks, we teachers are gearing up for the ever so tricky stretch between Thanksgiving and winter vacation. Student energy is on high and motivation is low, but I am here to tell you there is a way to turn all that around and still rock your lessons until the last bell before break. Increase student engagement and your next few weeks will be jam packed with rigor and fun! Ready for some student engagement activities, tips, and tricks to keep your train rolling until break? Let’s get this (almost) holiday party started!

Student Engagement Strategies to Use Before Winter Break


My favorite strategy to increase student engagement before a break is to be unexpected. This does not mean I forgo routines. Keep the routines and schedules, but by all means ramp up your delivery. Starting a new mini unit? Why not do your introduction lesson dressed in a way that brings your content to life! Dress like a festive character for a day. Instead of standing at the front of the room, deliver a lesson from the back, or on top of a table! Do something a little out of the norm or unexpected each day. 

Another student engagement strategy I like to use this time of year is the power of art. My students always love when I include an art element into a lesson. This time of year allows for a little more flexibility in my daily schedule. Thus, I am able to incorporate winter or holiday themed crafts in more regularly. These are simple strategies you can implement tomorrow and hold student engagement until winter break begins.

Student Engagement Activities


Let’s get our hands dirty! As we all know, kids love to get their hands on things, so why not let them? Before each break I like to do a Project Based Learning unit. What is project based learning? PBL is a hands on, interdisciplinary approach to learning. It allows students to explore and build something too. For example, before Thanksgiving break, I introduced a create your balloon parade unit. They studied, budgeted, and build their own balloons to “fly” in a parade (which we proudly marched through the hallways). Do you want to know the best part? My students enjoyed every minute of this mini unit! Even through the budgeting and planning process, my students were all in and all hands on deck. 
The last few days before winter break my students will be starting a new Project Based Learning assignment, building gingerbread houses! I can not wait to share the excitement and fun with them as they research, design, plan, budget, build, and create amazing gingerbread houses!

Sound like fun? If you want to do this with your students as well, just click the picture below to check out the ready to use Project Based Learning pack that I will be using!

How to keep Student Engagement Alive Before Break

 Are you ready for the best way to keep your students engaged the very last few days before winter break? Lean in close, I’m about to drop a knowledge bomb on you… let them share. The last couple days before the holiday break your students will be full of excitement. Let them share all about it! Children love to share their holiday traditions! Do Venn diagrams, picture graphs, discussions and more. Find ways to let them share across all of your subject areas. Let students who celebrate different holidays stand up and teach a lesson. We are teachers, educational rock stars at that, I bet if you but you’re thinking cap on that you will be able to come up with many creative ways to let your students share before the break begins. For example, last year I decorated my shelf like a fireplace and we sat around the “fire” and shared holiday memories and traditions.

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