How do we get those tired teens ready to learn?Yes, I'm well aware that the person under the covers could be you. But it's likely most of your students too. After a long break, it's hard for all of us to get back in the game. Yet, when you teach in a semestered system, the transition from vacation to work has to be fast: exams are looming in the near future, so we can't spend too much time easing those teenagers back into the daily grind.
A little thought and planning can make the transition much easier. We do need to get them re-focused, but if we can do it in a way that includes a little fun and/or gets them up an moving for a bit, then we are much more likely to get engagement.
1. If you're still in the middle of a text or unit:
You might choose to dive right back into a text or an activity, especially if you weren't able to finish a unit before the break (like me). Last year, I created this activity to get my students thinking about Animal Farm again. They filled in the first sheet and then I got them moving, using the post-it note activity. You can grab it for free at my TpT store. This time, I'll be using it to do a quick review of Macbeth before we move on to Act IV.
I'm also going to begin class with this quick grammar/writing review. I always attempt to make these a little less dry by creating a story that might grab their attention. You can grab this one too -- it's editable so you can change it up if you like.
2. If you're ready to start something new:
Whether it's time to start your next unit - or even to begin review-
ing for finals - the first day back is not the best day to do that, because the kids are still half asleep. Why not try some learning stations designed to get their heads back in the game? You can create your own review stations by posing different questions at each one, or you can save yourself some time and check out my latest product. It helps kids get organized and focused, requires them to review the feedback you've given them, and allows them the opportunity to creatively represent what they know. Most importantly, stations will get them moving around on a day when they are in zombie mode!
Regardless of what you do on your first day back, I hope you had a restful and rejuvenating holiday. All the best in the new year!