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Tips for Keeping Students Focused Before Summer Break

Tips for Keeping Students Focused Before Summer Break

Longwood University's education professor Christopher Jones understands the difficulty in keeping students focused during the last month of school, where testing has ended and summer is creeping up. He also understands that certain practices can help both teachers and parents keep kids on track and ready to learn despite the challenges.

For the teacher's end, Jones encourages teachers to use the last month of the year as project time. He says creating fun and exciting projects to supplement curriculum is the way to go, and gives an example of "how taking students outside to explore the school grounds can make a previous lesson about ecosystems very real and help them retain that knowledge."

This also is in line with his suggestion to "get up and move around." He says teachers should take advantage of student restlessness to enjoy the nice weather and tie outside excursions into lesson plans.

"Develop projects that utilize a variety of spaces you have available—moving students around gives them an extra jolt of energy. If you need to stay inside the classroom, develop shorter modules in different areas around the room. When students are finished with one, physically moving to another area of the classroom motivates them to give some extra attention," he said.

His final suggestion for teachers is to avoid temptation and try to cut back on homework in the final stretch to let students unwind at home and therefore become more engaged throughout the day in the classroom.

While at home, Jones suggests that parents give children plenty of playtime and well-established goals to optimize what children do in class. Jones says keeping children on task with small, daily goals will benefit their classroom performance.

“'The trick is to avoid words like try or the best I can do. Use definitive phrases like 30 minutes or finish something. As parents, you can back these up by asking your children how they did on their goals instead of the usual, ‘How did your day go?’ If the child didn’t accomplish or forgot the goal, that’s no problem, just reuse it the next day.'”

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/06/2015

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