It's that time of year again. We all can't wait for it, but also dread it at the same time. The end of the year is coming and on the last day of school it was all worth it, but boy, those few weeks before it's all done sure can be hard. Especially for middle school students!
How do I keep them engaged the last few weeks of school? Talking! That's right, we talk, talk, and talk some more. Not me lecturing or teaching at them. Nope. They are doing the talking. But, it's all highly structured, educational talking.
What type of talking do we do?
Everything in my classroom revolves around cooperative learning or group work. We love using structures to keep everyone involved and talking. If you'd love to read about some of the structures I use in my middle school classroom the posts can be located here. A class favorite is Rally Robin to review content from the day before.
Reader's theaters have become a favorite of my students'. We read them for just about everything we learn. I blogged a little bit about why I love using reader's theaters for middle school students and you can read it here.
We LOVE games and debating (debating becomes a game to middle schoolers- am I right???). Games allow the students to talk, play around a little bit, be a little bit less structured, but still learn! Vocabulary games are really important in our room. According to Marzano games are associated with a 20 percentile gain in student achievement. Plus, they keep students engaged. Think about all of the times they play games throughout the day. They play them on their phones, and in video games, so why not at school? Class favorites are Vocabo!, Histopoly, Histopardy, and roll that die.
And debating - middle school teachers - need I say more? It's something that just comes natural to a middle school student. So, we tend to debate controversial topics, or topics that lend themselves easily to debating. One favorite is debating which bill of right a scenario falls under. Interested in this activity - click here.
Middle school students love to talk and by letting them talk, and using structures, the end of year jitters can be harnessed a little!