The December holidays have come and gone, and a new calendar year has begun. During the holiday period, we often prioritise spending quality time with family and friends, reflecting on the past year, and setting our sights on what is to come during the year ahead. After this period of rest, students return to the classroom refreshed and rejuvenated, often bursting with energy! To help your students to refocus this energy on school and to re-engage with your class, here are four fun and clever ways to reintroduce school to their everyday routines:
A fun game with a helping of a little healthy competition is a great way to get those brains working again! See how much information students remember from what they studied prior to the break. You can set up the questions in the style of Jeopardy!, or organise them so that all the answer options are True/False. To add to the challenge, feel free to mix in some questions from topic areas you are going to cover in the near future. Put the students in small teams to keep the game manageable. Whichever way you choose to format the game, students will enjoy having the opportunity to take a more light-hearted approach to their revision.
This one is a bit different, but can be a truly effective way for students to make connections between course topics and learning outside the classroom. Ask students to keep their eyes and ears open for instances where previous or current course topics are discussed in the real world. These could include a student finding a literature reference in a book being read in another class that explains the concept you’re learning, or noticing types of mathematical patterns that are happening around them. Once they experience this serendipitous moment, get them to write it down ready for your next class. For a few minutes each week, set aside some time for students to present their findings to the class. This will allow students to stay engaged even outside the classroom, and to make underlying connections so that they see how integrated the world really is!
Get the creative juices flowing and add a bit of humour by having your students act out a topic recently learned in class! Acting is a relaxed and often funny way for students to show their understanding. This can be done in several ways. One way could be through a game of charades. The day before the game, ask students to pick a topic at random and then overnight or at the weekend to think of ways to act it out. Then, the next day, get the student to act out the topic and ask the rest of the students to guess what is being demonstrated.
Alternatively, divide students into small teams. Have the team pick a topic at random, and give them 15-20 minutes to come up with a way to act it out. After the time is up, bring the class back together for the groups to present their skits. The students can explain what they are presenting before acting it out, or the other students can guess what their classmates are doing. You and your students will have a good laugh, all while reviewing what was discussed prior to the break and preparing to learn new content!
This one challenges the brain while getting the students moving around a bit! Create a scavenger hunt or brain-teaser for them to solve. Develop three or four clues based on previous topic areas for students to work through in order to figure out what they are going to be studying next. This can be used as either an individual or a team activity. Studies have shown that exposing the brain to these puzzle-like activities improves levels of concentration, accelerates processing speed, and increases longevity.
Not every idea is going to work for all students, but these are just a few of the many ways you can re-engage your students with a fun, light-hearted activity! Try a Strength Battle tournament or a Strength test competition perhaps?
This weeks blog post was guest written by Amanda Rock. Amanda is a trainer here at Kognity, working to familiarise students and teachers with the Kognity platform. Prior to joining Kognity, she worked with a top-tier university in both Asia and the United States.