When it comes to a new school year, many teachers would probably agree that getting students enthused about learning is one of their biggest challenges. Here we've compiled six sure-fire methods that teachers can use to up the excitement factor for their students as the new school year begins.
Although it might seem like summer just began, teachers and students everywhere are gearing up for the new school year, which will be here before we know it. So, what can teachers do to make this one of the best school years yet? How can they get their students excited about learning and coming to school? Check out the list below for some pointers.
1. Create a Classroom Website
While snail mail welcome letters are definitely the norm, teachers can take their introductions to the next level and boost engagement by creating a classroom website that students can visit prior to school starting. One of the best things teachers can include on the site is a short, enthusiastic welcome video that introduces themselves and lets students know what to expect.
Other possible elements include school supply lists and links to online learning games that students can play to get ''warmed up'' for the school year. By taking the time to create a website, teachers let students (and their parents) know that they genuinely care about their job, which in turn can get students excited to come to school. As the year progresses, the site can be updated to showcase what's being learned in class.
2. Plan Introductory Activities
The first few days of school are typically reserved for not-so-fun stuff, such as going over classroom rules, passing out books and so on. Teachers can boost excitement during this time by planning some introductory activities for their students.
One cool idea is for students to create individual time capsules, which can be made out of paper towel tubes with paper covering the ends. These should include a picture of each student on the first day of class, along with a sheet of paper that includes things such as their height and what they hope to learn during the school year. At the end of the year, teachers should take an updated picture of each student. The capsules can then be opened so that students can see how much they changed and if they learned what they had hoped to.
3. Involve Students in Lesson Planning
Another way teachers can get students excited about the new school year is to get their input on how things are taught in the classroom. While teaching units obviously have to meet certain learning objectives, the way(s) units are taught can often be flexible.
For example, teachers can ask students how they'd like to cover certain topics and what interests them about the topics. Then, they can incorporate some of the feedback into their lesson planning. By involving students in the process, teachers can learn what they prefer and how they learn best, and students can feel appreciated and heard. Sounds like a win-win all around!
4. Set Classroom Goals
Setting goals as a class can go a long way towards creating a collective sense of excitement and encouraging students to always do their best. Whether the goals are short or long term, having something to reach for is a great way to get students enthused about school and learning.
Some possibilities include reading a book in a certain amount of time or all students achieving a certain percentage on a test. When a goal is met, there should be a reward so that students see the results of their hard work.
5. Make Use of Technology
Given the overwhelming popularity of technology today, it's really no surprise that using technology in the classroom can get kids excited for the school year. By incorporating technologies that kids already know and love, learning becomes engaging and relevant in ways that weren't possible in the past. If students can look forward to utilizing technology as a learning tool, they may become more motivated, and their performance may improve.
6. Always Be Positive
Last but not least, teachers should always remember to be as positive as possible at all times. Although it might seem like this doesn't have much to do with students being excited about a new school year, it really does. Students want a teacher who is cheerful, genuine and enthusiastic (but not overly). Although it can sometimes be difficult to put on a happy face every second of the day, a positive attitude can have a huge impact on the success of students and can encourage them to model similar behavior.
By putting these pointers to use, teachers should have no trouble getting their students pumped about the new school year. If students can maintain this excitement throughout the year, there should be success stories all around!
Have you been searching for ways to boost excitement and engagement in your classroom? Be sure to check out Study.com's Teacher Plan, which gives you access to thousands of video lessons in every subject out there.