With testing culminating and the end in sight, we often have a spring in our step (and many of our students have a few springs!!) Often our narrative in May reflects this nearing end… “They’re checking out. They’re done. I’m done. There’s too much going on.”
This brings us a great opportunity to work with our mindsets to reframe and acknowledge what might also be true or more true… “They have so much energy. They have built really strong friendships. The trips and events are great opportunities for exposure and learning. I love these kids!”
With a shift in mindset we can be more open to embracing what IS– lighter energy (perhaps disguising itself as a loss of focus), the joy of relationships, the nostalgia that comes with culminating grades, and the excitement of events and trips. And once we really own what is, we can capitalize on the opportunities and notice how they are primed for collaboration, social emotional learning, building empathy and self-reflection.
And remember, May is like nearing the finish line, don’t slow down before you get there, RUN THROUGH THE LINE!
5 Ways to Engage in May
1. Strengths Survey: Often it seems nothing is more engaging than learning something new about ourselves! This free,10-minute survey can serve as a catalyst for reflection, summer goals, and rich dialogue about our strengths and positive perspective. (5th-12th grade)
2. Meaningful Media: Check out Bending the Arc; it inspires empathy, and instigates the thought-provoking discussions your students are craving. (Middle/High School).
3. Teacher/Admin Report Card: Capitalize on the strong bonds you’ve built and model life-long learning and growth by giving your students a Teacher’s Report Card (principals- give your teachers one!). Be intentional about what you want to learn about their perceptions and experiences in your class or school. Remind them, “I’m still learning and will grow based on your feedback.” And if the vulnerability feels too much, check out Brene Brown’s work or her Ted Talk – you’ll be inspired to feel vulnerable!
4. Increased Opportunities for Predicting: The brain likes to be challenged and students get hits of dopamine (a feel good chemical that engages learning) when challenged! Note where you can simply shift your introduction to include some predicting and notice the increase in motivation for your awesome lesson!
5. Add Movement: (Another dopamine booster that engages and ignites learning.) Support whole-child development by getting them up and moving. Do a stretch, put on some music, teach a yoga pose or invite a student to lead a ‘follow me‘. Then build in time to reflect on self-regulation… “Notice your energy level after moving. Are you more awake, settled? When else might you need to move some energy so you can feel more focused and calm?”
To enjoying May!