By the time May comes around, the Lord of the Flies is in full effect in schools everywhere.
It's not just students, either. Teachers and support staff are also starting to feel the malaise brought on by the ides of March. Even the most diligent students and dedicated educators risk descending into the mayhem of spring fever.
With a little extra attention (and some creative energy), you and your staff can keep the chaos of spring fever at bay.
Create a Building-Level Buzz
If it’s not relevant to students right now or in the foreseeable future, they’ll probably tune it out. Create a school-wide engagement spike with these events:
College & career fairs: It’s never too early to expose all students – not just juniors and seniors – to their college and career possibilities. Find nearby fairs to attend or plan to host one locally. Make sure there’s something for everybody by inviting local businesses, colleges, tech schools, summer camps, and community clubs and organizations.
Pilot programs: Have you been wanting to test out a new cell phone policy, add 15 more minutes of recess time, or introduce read alouds to all grades? Pilot a program now and gather students’ feedback as you go. The benefits are twofold: students will know that their opinions matter and you’ll have valuable input to consider over the summer.
Building-level challenges: Get student leaders involved in planning building-level challenges that include all students. Homeroom Olympics is a crowd favorite. Find your students’ hidden talents as relay-racers, chess masters, card house builders – the sky’s the limit! Just set up a bracket and choose representatives from each homeroom or class to go head-to-head in each event.
Another fun challenge is a penny-silver war. Grade levels or homerooms compete to earn the highest score – pennies are positive and any silver coins are negative. The winning team gets a prize and the right to vote which local cause receives all proceeds. Bonus points if you volunteer to let a student from the winning team duct tape you to the wall or send you to the dunk tank!
Shake Up the Classroom Routines
It’s easy for teachers to coast into June practicing the same routines that have made them successful all year. But to keep students on their toes, it can be helpful to mix it up. Administrators can really set the tone for their staff by finding new ways to interact with students that are outside of the usual routine – joining in on a lunchtime kickball game or stepping in as a guest teacher for an hour. Teachers can get in on the action, too:
Do a teacher swap: If students are tuning out familiar voices, teachers can switch places for a day or an hour. An art teacher could take over a science class to share techniques for better lab notebook drawings, or perhaps a fifth grade teacher could provide a sneak peek at the next school year for current fourth graders.
Use structured discussion strategies: Channel students’ extra energy with structured, student-led discussion strategies like Socratic Seminars, pinwheel discussions, or Conver-Stations. If their liveliness just can’t be calmed, try out a silent chalk talk first to let them get all of their thoughts in writing.
Try new tech tools: Test out some new technology and find out what's worth incorporating into your plans for next year. We have three easy-to-learn tech tools that can help reengage students, parents, and teachers!
Open the Doors!
If all else fails, maybe the kids are right – it’s time to get out of the building! Connect with local businesses and organizations to create community experiences that enhance in-class learning. Make it easier to get your students out of the building by simplifying the procedures for bus transportation and field trip paperwork, and then consider these ideas:
Plan a volunteer day: Plan an annual whole-school volunteer day. You could center the day on a theme, like saving the earth or being a good neighbor, or plan a variety of opportunities for kids to lend a hand.
Put them to work: It’s not too late to teach even the seniors a thing or two – especially on a job site. Programs like school-to-work, apprenticeships, and job shadowing can hold the attention of even the most checked-out soon-to-be graduate.
Look nearby: Field trips don’t have to be expensive or extravagant to be worthwhile. How many potential learning sites are within walking distance of your school? From the public library to the cemetery to the forest, there are great places for experiential learning all around.
Can spring fever and senioritis be cured? Probably not. But order can triumph over chaos with the help of engaging challenges, relevant topics, and community interaction.
Simplify Paperwork with Custom Forms
See how Skyward can help make it easier to take students off campus with Custom Forms for transportation, permission slips, and more!
Check out these recent articles!