Updated: Jan 15
It's summertime, which means that many students are enjoying much-needed summer breaks. For teachers, this break can be a time to relax and take care of themselves. But for students who have been away from the classroom for weeks or months on end, returning to school can present some serious challenges. Not only will they need to catch up academically with their peers after being gone so long, but they will also need an engaging way to reengage socially in order to get back into the swing of things at school once again. This blog post will share ten engagement strategies that educators can use when students return from summer break or winter vacation!
Help students get organized
One of the best ways to start engaging students is to help them get organized. This means setting up a designated place for them to store their belongings, providing them with a class schedule and syllabus, and helping them to become familiar with the classroom layout and expectations.
Help students get situated in their new surroundings
Give them a class schedule and syllabus to help them stay on track
Establish rules and expectations for the classroom
Provide a designated place for students to store belongings
Help them become familiar with the layout of the school
Assign short projects at the beginning of the school year
Giving students a short project to work on as soon as they return can help them to become reengaged in the classroom while also easing them back into the routine of things. Projects can be related to what students were working on before they left or completely new assignments.
On the first day of school, elementary students can expect to do a variety of activities to help them get to know their classmates and teachers. Some of these activities might include filling out a student biography sheet, taking a photo for the yearbook, and completing a classroom scavenger hunt. This is a fun way for them to get to know their classmates and teachers.
Encourage student collaboration
Working together in groups can help students feel more connected to one another and the classroom. It can also provide a sense of accomplishment when students can complete a task as a team.
Plan fun activities for after-school clubs, sports teams, or other extracurriculars to help students make new friends and explore new interests.
It's important to be flexible with students who have just returned from a long break. This means allowing them more time to complete assignments, providing catch-up tutoring opportunities, and understanding if they are struggling to get back into the swing of things.
Small successes should be celebrated in the classroom, which is especially important when students have just returned from a long break. Celebrating accomplishments can help to build confidence and encourage students to continue working hard.
Encourage student participation
Active participation from students is essential for a thriving classroom environment. This can be encouraged through class discussions, problem-solving tasks, and other engaging activities.
Visuals can be a great way to help struggling students stay engaged. This could include charts, graphs, diagrams, and illustrations.
Change up your teaching style
When students return from summer break or winter vacation, it can help to change things up a bit in the classroom. This might mean changing how you teach a specific lesson topic so that students are getting something new and fresh while also returning to an old approach they were familiar with before summer started. It could also mean trying new teaching strategies that you haven't used before.
Get students moving
When students are sitting at a desk for hours on end, it can be challenging to stay engaged. This is why it's important to get them up and move around periodically. This could involve giving them time for physical activity or incorporating movement into classroom activities.
Finally, it's important to maintain a positive attitude in the classroom at all times. This will help to create a supportive environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes.
Educators can use these a few engagement strategies when students return from summer break or winter vacation. By using various techniques, educators can help students feel comfortable and reengaged in the classroom as soon as possible.
Although it would not necessarily be considered a teaching strategy, it is important not to assume that all students are joyous and happy events while on break. Do a temperature check around the room and be aware of students' body posture and interaction level during conversations. For example, if a student is quiet, it does not mean that they can't hear you. Likewise, if students talk to one another instead of participating in class discussions, they don't necessarily want to be left alone; some kids need time and space to process things.
If students don't come back from summer break with the same enthusiasm they left, it is our responsibility to help get them back on track. Reengaging students after a long break can be challenging for both educators and students alike, but using the strategies listed above can help to make the process a little bit easier. Remember to be patient and positive, and celebrate every small success along the way!
What are your favorite engagement strategies for returning students? Please share them in the comments below!
What strategies do you use in the classroom?
If you have any questions or comments, please post them below! I'd love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading my blog posts and leaving your feedback on how a summer break affects student engagement in school.