“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.” – Yvonne Woon
As the end of the year approaches, you might find that your students are driving you crazy. Don’t worry! You are not alone in this feeling. Students often get restless towards the end of their classes. After completing their necessary tests and completing the majority of their coursework, they tend to listen less and lose their initial motivation and focus. They anticipate their school break and want to get in plenty of quality time with their friends who they might not see during their time off from school. What can you do to regain their interests and ensure the learning continues? Below, are a few ideas that will get your students to reflect on their learning and goals from the past year. Some ideas will have your students passing on their learning to future students. Other ideas will take your students outside of the classroom to explore new places, countries, and cultures.
Invite Guest Speakers
Just like children begin to tune out their parents when asked to clean their rooms or do other chores, they also tune out their teachers. Right now is a good time to get your students learning from others. You can invite parents, community leaders, celebrities, authors, or professionals to run a workshop, demonstration or other lesson with your students. If you can’t find someone locally, try finding an expert virtually. You can Skype experts for free, interview experts through Google HangOuts and Help-outs, or host an interview through Twitter. Sylvia Tolisano, for example, had her students share a picture of animal skeletal remains found on the school ground with forensic pathologists and biologists on Twitter. Find more ideas and resources in my recent presentation recording, Inspire Learners by Inviting Guest Speakers.
Students can play classroom games to get them moving and learning. Classroom games help students review vocabulary, facts, and content in a fun way. Often, the students do not realize they are learning. Your students can even create their own board games with templates from Bogglesworld. Find many classroom games listed in this post, Tips for Getting Students to Play Games and Learn.
You can also get students to play learning games on their mobile phones or on the web. The Digital ELT Play site is full of language learning games and lesson plans for all ages. You can also check out the Kindersite and the ELT Sandbox for more free resources, lessons, and games to get your students learning by playing. Try free web tools and apps like Kahoot trivia maker, FlipQuiz game show style quizzes, and Quizlet to get your students and you creating your own digital games.
Get Them Moving
Get your students out of their seats and moving in every class. Find free, quick activities with GoNoodle brain breaks. GoNoodle has activities to help students focus, calm down, or get energized. These activities take only a few minutes.
You can also get students moving with icebreakers, warm-ups and fillers. We have hundreds for you to try that take only a few minutes and require very little set-up. The following resources will help you get your students learning on their feet:
- We Like to Move It! Active Learning
- Getting to Know You Activities for Kids
- Getting to Know You Activities for Teens and Adults
- Activities with a Ball
- Active Games for Young Learners
Take Them on Virtual Field Trips
What better way to grab your students’ attention than by taking them outside of the classroom through virtual field trips! Your students can go on historical or cultural tours with Google’s Cultural Institute that features World Wonders, Historical Moments and Art Projects. Find many lesson plans and ideas to get you started here.
You can also take virtual trips to many museums, landmarks, and tourist destinations. Google Lit trips will take you through destinations in popular literature. Find many resources in this recorded presentation, Lesson Ideas and Resources for Virtual Trips.
Connect with a Class Virtually
With free video conferencing tools like Google HangOuts and Skype, teachers can easily connect with classes worldwide. Try hosting a Mystery Skype or Mystery HangOut with another class that turns the experience into a guessing game. Connect with teachers worldwide through the Link to the World project. Maria Josè Giavedoni, a teacher in Argentina, started this project in which teachers introduce their culture through videos, writing, or web tools. The great thing is you get to choose how to introduce yourself to the other classes and you’ll find many examples of what other classes have created. These are posted in a Google Community. You can also try finding schools to connect with through Skype’s Education site, EPals, and the Global Classroom project.
Advice for the Next Class
Get students to leave tips and advice for the students that will come after them. They can do this through a capsule, letters, or a collaborative video. You could have students leave the advice digitally through Voicethread, Padlet, Linoit, or Voxopop.
The end of the year is the perfect time to encourage students to look back at their experiences and learning throughout the year. Reflection gets them to see what they accomplished and determine how they can improve themselves. The following activities will get students to reflect in meaningful ways:
- Collages and Scrapbooks – Students can post memories, important dates, images, quotes, music, and more in digital scrapbooks and collages. With tools like Buncee, Biteslides, Smore, Glogster, and Pinterest these collages can host their images, stickers, music, and so much more! Students can view each other’s digital scrapbooks and leave comments.
- Magazines and newspapers – As a class create a magazine or newspaper highlighting your class or school’s memorable events. Students can add polls, survey results, interviews, images and more. Digital tools like Flipboard, Glossi, Mixbook, and Issuu help you create digital magazines and newspapers that can be embedded in blogs or websites.
- Revisit goals – Get students to recall their initial goals at the beginning of the year. You can find activities related to goal-setting in this post, Motivating Language Learners to Set and Achieve Goals.
In what ways do you motivate yourself and your students as your classes come to an end? If you want to receive more of Shelly’s tips for online resources for teaching English, then subscribe!