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Spring has just sprung and it can quickly change the dynamic of your school classroom. The students will often act like they are animals just emerging from hibernation from the long winter months. They are full of energy and mischief, which is fine; however, it can lead to a difficult classroom. Their restless spirits can be tough to contain for these next three months before school lets out, but by following some of the advice I have listed below, you stand a fighting chance of surviving.
Why Fight It?
There is actual science behind the symptoms of spring fever. The extra daylight triggers the hormones in your body, including melatonin. Melatonin works with your sleep cycles and your mood. All these combined together increase a person’s energy level.
The key is to not fight against their extra energy, but to try to put it to use effectively. Create a few lesson plans that have the students making projects. I used to have the students make dioramas on chapters that we covered in History. The kids would become really excited and their creativity was astounding. Brainstorm with other teachers on fun, educational projects students can do to burn off some of that extra energy.
Give Them a Break
When spring fever erupts in the classroom, you are forced to become a bit of a negotiator. It’s like when the police squad comes in to try negotiating with the bank robbers holding up the bank. You just want to make everything peaceful once again. To keep the students on task, give them goals to meet during the week. If they accomplish all the goals, allow them an extra recess or free time at the end of the day on Friday. Don’t make these goals impossible, but then again, don’t make them too easy either. Something like “Keep Classroom Clean” or “No Missing Homework Assignments”. This negotiating tactic is excellent for controlling enthusiasm and aiming it properly in the right direction.
Incorporate More Technology
Students usually enjoy assignments more when technology is involved. Often times, the kids actually know how to use the technology better than the teachers in the classroom anyway. Research new technology apps as a class on the smartboard and when you come across one that could be handy, have the kids add it to their device. After adding up to ten apps, give them time to experiment with each one. Once they have had ample time, ask them for ways to use these apps effectively in the classroom. There are so many educational apps emerging weekly, it is difficult to keep up with all the great ones. By doing this every now and then, you will be able to stay on top of technology better.
Use Media to Your Advantage
We have all heard the saying that music can soothe the savage beast. I’ve got news for you! It can do wonders on students in the classroom as well. When they are busy working on assignments in class, putting on some soft music can actually help them focus better. It is a background noise that blocks out all the other noises that may distract them. Plus, once the music goes on, fewer students will try talking to the person next to them. Another tip is to show more clips on the smartboard that goes along with your lesson plans. Students are able to sit still and pay attention longer, it seems, while watching videos.
Have a Game Day
Once again, this should be a goal for the students that they need to achieve through their hard work. The last couple of years, I have had a “Game Day” as a reward for their behavior. It has always been done on a Friday and we just make up the work that they usually would have earlier in the week. Basically, we bump all the tests up to Thursday and have classroom projects due then as well. By choosing the right games, you can find some that are educational and entertaining. Plus, a game like “Risk” is helping them improve their critical thinking skills. I have always had the game “Connect Four” on my desk during this day and there was always a long line of kids that wanted to play the teacher.
Use What You Learned
The bottom line is that there are only two to two-and-a-half months of school left at this point. You have had these students all year. So you, more or less, know what to expect from them. They also know how the classroom operates by now. Use this to your advantage and put them in charge of more things around the room. A little responsibility goes a long ways in a trusting relationship with the students.
by Ryan Crawley
Ryan Crawley is an education and fitness guru currently making his home in Illinois. He always tries to look on the humorous side of things as he has spent years teaching, training, and writing.