Spring has finally arrived in Madrid, which means you’ve got antsy students in your sunlit classroom. Keeping students interested and motivated as we race toward the end of the school year can be a challenge. While you and your students count the days until school is out, here are five ideas for how you can get your students moving, learning, and enjoying as we approach summer.
Great for CLIL science classes, nature walks are a enjoyable and easy way to generate student interest in biology and botany. The students need drawing notebooks, pencils, and good behavior. As the teacher, you have a lot of freedom to choose the topic. You could ask your students to focus on leaves and have them draw and label the parts of the leaves they find. You could shift your focus to rocks, trees, or flowers. Some teachers even have students bring fallen leaves into the classroom to trace and complete a rubbing. This student art could be the next thing to grace the school’s walls. The objective is to get your students outside, observing the natural world, and drawing what they see. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
2. Bring Class Outside
Those afternoon classes can be the toughest for kids. The young learners especially vacillate from being tired to antsy to energetic all over again. Take advantage of the sunlight and their energy to introduce them to sports from your country. Whether it’s baseball or rugby, dodgeball or field hockey, students will learn new vocabulary and skills while also learning about sportsmanship and culture. If they’re not up for sports, give the students a new challenge of having to invent a game or a short skit in English and presenting it to the class. They’ll get their time outside, practice their speaking skills, and be active.
3. Create Shape Poems
While this project can be done year-round, it’s especially fun to complete in spring and summer when the students can apply their prior knowledge and learn new vocabulary related to the season. Shape poems can be done in three easy steps. First, have the students draw the basic shape they want to write about. I like to emphasize words about spring such as raindrop and butterfly or words about summer such as sandcastle and flip flops. Next, encourage students to use a dictionary to discover new words and string those words into sentences that follow the shape they drew in the first step. Finally, tell the students to erase the original lines so that only the words make the shape and then color as they wish. You’ll love the finish projects, which can be hung inside the classroom or out in the hallway for the rest of the school to see. Not only will your students exercise their creativity, they’ll also learn new words and give poetry a try.
4. Perform Summer-themed Role Plays
There’s no doubt that you and your students are daydreaming about summer. Why not turn those dreams into a learning opportunity? One of the best ways to make the language come alive is through roleplays. Students will learn new vocabulary and grammar structures while also showing off their acting skills. Role plays are also very adaptable for different language levels if you’re working with a variety of age groups. Because summer is approaching, you could focus on using the future tense and throw in vocabulary related to the beach, camping, and more summer activities. Don’t forget to bring in props to make the experience come alive!
5. Wrap Up the School Year
A school year completed is one to be proud of, for teachers and students. Giving yourself and your students a sense of closure will help them appreciate the work you all have done together over the year and how far you have all come in the learning process. One of the best ways to bring everything together is by making a portfolio or a scrapbook of their artwork, writing, worksheets, and more. Once they’ve compiled the year’s work, they’ll feel a boost of confidence in what they’ve achieved in English. Even better, they’ll be able to take their collection of work, nicely organized and presented, home to their parents.
As we’re advancing toward summer, now is the time to get your students out in nature, teach a class outside, talk about vacation plans, and continue creating. At the end of the year, wrap up your work and have them reflect on their brogress by making a folder, portfolio, or scrapbook to display their work. You’ll be able to look back and appreciate all the work you’ve done as a teacher in organizing and implementing the activities. Your students will feel proud of they work they’ve done and how far they’ve come in English. After all, spring is the time for growth and change.
Alexandra Hartline , MA in Bilingual & Multicultural Education 2017-2018