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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and author of Meditation in the College Classroom: A Pedagogical Tool to Help Students De-Stress, Focus,...
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Summer Fever

Lets face it many of us feel exhausted by this time of the school year.
Others have mentally checked out.
Your students, in similar fashion, are dreaming of sandy beaches, lemonade, sleeping in late, and playing video games until their fingers hurt.
I call it the Summer Fever, and like germs, its highly contagious. With standardized testing complete, many students begin to feel like the school year is over. The problem is, its not. We are left with the demands of teaching, even if the climate is not supportive of that mission.
Id like to dedicate this post to ways we can stay motivated and keep the children motivated as well during these last few weeks. If you are familiar with my posts, many of my suggestions come from best practices in gifted education, others from experience and the experience of other educators.
Lets begin:
Allow students to work on interest-based projects. This should be a time when students can research their own topics and interests and develop talents.
Form enrichment-type clusters for an hour or so a day, allowing students to come together based on shared interests to develop products. Perhaps they could start a business, form their own club, conduct a community service project, or film a commercial.
Invite former students or older students to prepare your class for the upcoming grade-level. For instance, when I had my own classroom, I invited middle school students to speak to my fifth-grade students about what to expect in middle school in regards to homework, elective courses, etc. You will find that students are much more willing to listen to speakers closer to their own age group.
Engage in a simulation based on the current or recent curriculum. Place students in a scenario where they must form countries and solve world problems or have them pretend to be scientists trying to solve environmental concerns. For more ideas, visit http://theconnectedclassroom.wikispaces.com/Simulations.
Invite guest speakers on various topics. Have adults in the community give demonstrations for the purpose of exposing students to topics that might not have been covered in the general curriculum.
Use arts and crafts to liven things up. One year, I had students use glow-in-the-dark paint to illustrate science and math concepts.
Have a Talent Expo, where students research their talents and prepare presentations that are showcased in the classroom during an expo-type event. Students can take a tour of the expo and learn about each others talents.
Survey students to determine what lessons and projects they enjoyed most during the school year. Ask for suggestions. Use this information to improve your classroom during the upcoming school year.

Please share your ideas for curing Summer Fever.