With schools around the country getting started around this time of year, we wanted to help you out with a few fun ideas to keep your students excited and engaged in the classroom. Check out an excerpt from this Edutopia article below, and read through the full post here.
It's the end of summer. Kids' minds have been on autopilot for three months, yet we expect them to walk into school on that first day ready to learn. It used to take me weeks to develop a relationship with the kids and get them engaged in class. After a few years of frustration at the time wasted getting them psyched for school, I came up with a plan to get the kids so excited that they'll be breaking down the doors to start class. Here are some of the ways that our staff is firing up the kids for their first day.
1. Exciting Podcasts
The biggest question on each student's mind at the beginning of the year has to be, "What is my teacher like?" I try to answer this question the moment they show up for registration in July. Each student receives a flyer welcoming them to the school and directing them to a website with links to podcasts. Through this medium, the teachers introduce themselves and explain why they love teaching. The kids love hearing their teachers' voices and quickly learn that they'll be working with adults who are energetic and excited to work with them. I don’t post the podcasts all at once -- instead I stagger them throughout the summer to build student anticipation.
2. Welcoming Web Page
Most teachers load their class websites up with a wealth of resources, web tools, apps, and videos. During the school year, this is a valuable practice. During the summer however, this can be overwhelming. Students want to see what makes you excited to teach your content, not the link to the dictionary you want them to use. The website that we share with kids at registration is simpler than our usual website. It's a welcome page with pictures, videos, and links to sites that show how much fun our students will have in the coming year. I also include things like a timer counting down to the first day of school, the introduction podcasts with a picture of each teacher, and a quick video tour of the school. For an example, check out my school’s welcome website.
3. Snail Mail Invitation
Kids love getting things in the mail. It doesn't matter what it is. There's just something special about opening the mailbox to find something waiting for you with your name on it. A week or two before the school year begins, we mail a letter to all students telling them how excited we are for them to join us in August. It's also a great way for us to include a few quick reminders about upcoming dates (our "Meat 'n' Greet," the first day of classes, etc.).