Reaching the end of the school year is a significant accomplishment for both students and teachers alike. However, it is common for students to lose motivation in the weeks leading up to summer break. With the transition to remote teaching, it is more important than ever to motivate students to stay focused through the end of the year.
One thing that many students enjoy about summer vacation is the freedom that they feel after a long year of coursework. It is helpful to encourage students to be creative with the end of the year projects. Set down a few parameters or guidelines and allow students to come up with their own projects. The freedom to be creative will be a welcome break from the usual structure of academic work. It is also beneficial to offer students the choice to work independently or in groups. Groupwork may be harder due to technological limitations.
One simple way to keep students interested in the last week of school is to save the best for last. Whether it is a well-loved short story, an exciting science experiment, or a little-known chapter in history, students will be thankful to end on a high note. A lesson can become truly great when a teacher is passionate about teaching it and when students are interested in the subject. When thinking about what topic to end the year on, consider past student favorites as well as what you are the most passionate about teaching since passion can make even the dullest subjects seem more appealing.
It may be tempting at the end of the year to stick to what has proved “tried and true” throughout the year. However, the end of the school year is actually the perfect time to change up the routine. During the weeks leading up to summer break, students are susceptible to falling into a comatose state due to the consistency of the same routine. Due to technological limitations, things like physical demonstrations and experiments may be difficult to do. One way to shake things up for students is to offer them choices. By allowing students to choose whether they would like to do assignment A or assignment B, you allow them to exercise some of their own agency. Instead of churning out the same assessments as in weeks past, allowing students to choose to complete whichever assignment is more meaningful or more fun to them is a great way to keep them motivated.
The end of this school year is unlike any year in the past. With summer rapidly approaching, students and teachers are feeling the pull of vacation. Keeping students interested in school through the last couple of weeks of school may seem like an impossible task, but there are ways to make the learning process more fun and exciting. Allowing freedom and creativity during projects, saving the best for last, and changing up the regular routine are all great ways to keep students motivated through the end of the year.