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5 Ways to Reenergize Students After Summer Break

School is back in session, and students are decked out with their new backpacks, lunch boxes, and water bottles cluttered with stickers. But you may find that your student's enthusiasm for a new school year is already beginning to lack as dreams of summer days filter through their minds.

Many educators have discovered it doesn't take rocket science to reignite your student's enthusiasm; consider these five ways to reenergize your students after the summer break. 

1. Introduce Brain Breaks 

Jessica Meacham, a first-grade teacher in Wisconsin, strongly advises that educators should introduce brain breaks to their classes. Further, a fellow teacher of Meacham, Lisa Mattes, counsels educators to incorporate yoga-type stretches, jumping jacks, or jogging whenever they have time.

Incorporating such brain breaks will allow your students a momentary pause in learning to move their bodies or stretch their brains in a fun and creative way. Younger students may enjoy a brain break video, while older students may simply want a 5-minute break to stand up and talk to friends.

If you introduce brain breaks into your classroom, ensure that you have a foolproof way to get your students back on track. 

2. Adopt Hands-on Learning

You may have realized your students' diminished zeal likely owes to tedious, repetitive class work. Instead, take a break from the regular 'textbook regime' and radically change your class format. Create a fun environment with games, projects, and other hands-on learning. 

Students thrive when they can share their own perspectives. Adopt more projects, such as casting current actors as characters from your current novel. Or have class Kahoot sessions before your weekly tests; you may want to invite your students to create the quizzes. 

Keeping your students on their toes with your various projects or other hands-on learning strategies will keep their enthusiasm for school at its peak. Students are eager to learn in the right environment, and it is our job as educators to create and foster that environment in our classroom. 

3. Seek Your Student's Opinions

Deanna Jump, an avid education blogger and seasoned kindergarten teacher, advises:

"Brainstorm a specific list of topics with your class. Next, take a class vote to identify topics that seem to be more interesting. You'll quickly discover when the kids are really excited about what they're about to learn, you'll have a significantly high interest in your lesson and experience less class disruptions."

While learning topics may not work for every class, you can still seek suggestions for review sessions, class projects, presentations, etc. When students feel involved in their education, they will be more likely to pay attention and be excited about learning. 

4. Brainstorm Classroom Functionality

Ask your students for their input when problems arise in your class, such as a traffic jam when turning in homework or the lack of space when hanging up backpacks. Similar to asking for study topics as mentioned in number three, seeking classroom functionality advice shows you are interested in your student's ideas. Students will be proud to see their ideas implemented. 

You can also take the same approach when creating your classroom rules; while all classrooms have similar rules, each has unique rules regarding seating, cell phone use, eating, turning in assignments, etc. Students want to feel valued, and when you listen to and implement their ideas, you will quickly see their enthusiasm for education rise.

5. Encourage Debates and Discussions

Admittedly, class debates may be more suitable for intermediate and older learners. But such debates have a distinct advantage; they get the entire class talking!

Offer the class some prompts by suggesting topics like social media's impact on their lives, junk food advertising, or climate change. Likely, your students will be excited to talk about issues directly touching their lives. You will need to tie these discussion topics into your areas of study, but relating current issues to your study is essential for students to make connections and have their learning actually stick.

Final Thoughts

As you seek ways to reenergize your students post-summer, don't forget to seek their input. Students are much more eager to learn when they feel they have some say in their education. Take breaks for learning, hold your class outside, have a guest teacher, or have students lead the discussion. Whatever you choose to spike your student's love of learning will be worth it. 

Written by John Ndar
Education World Contributor
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