How to Keep Kids Engaged and Avoid Winter Classroom Blahs
We are closing in on one of the most difficult times of the year for everyone. The days are shorter, the weather is colder, it’s often dreary, and it can feel like the season is never ending. Winter doesn’t always lend itself to energy and motivation in the classroom, but take heart! Flipping the script and adding in different types of “mental fitness” is a great way to occupy your students. With a few tweaks you can challenge your students and boost their interest in more than just snow days.
Memory games are a great way to engage your students and help them work on improving concentration, short-term memory, and visual recall. For students who have trouble with remembering tasks, memory games are the perfect opportunity to help reinforce memory skills. Memory games can be used for all grades and age groups, in addition to most school subjects.
Time to Move
One of the easiest and best ways to get their brains working is to get your students moving.
Many students will show improved work habits when they can get stored up energy out of their system. Try taking the class for a walk around the school, or better yet take them outside. Play some music, or look for physical activities that you can do in the classroom. An active body will promote an active brain.
If you need something a little more low-key for your students, but you want them to use creative thinking skills, try having the class work on a craft project. Crafts are great for gross-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and the overall creative process. With the wealth of project ideas available online, you should be able to find several options that fit in with the season, all of which can be tailored to line up with what you are currently teaching.
Puzzles are an excellent way to boost mental fitness among your students. Puzzles can come in a variety of formats, and there is no lack of options on the internet. Puzzles are great for improving critical thinking, concentration, and spatial awareness, not to mention hand-eye coordination when putting together jigsaw puzzles.
Using strategy games with your students will definitely help get the gears turning in their brains; you can even try incorporating part of a current lesson plan. Strategy games come in many different forms, and they can be applied to most subjects. Card games, role-playing games, board games (chess is always a good option). Games of strategy are highly beneficial for improving critical thinking skills and concentration. Even though interactive physical play is always better, if your students have access to computers or tablets in the classroom, consider looking into different apps and games that can incorporate lesson plans.
Trivia games are the perfect way to test your students’ knowledge of current subjects, and these kinds of games are certain to get everyone’s attention. Try turning it into a quick recall edition with teams, or make it like a game show and use prizes for “motivation.” The beauty of trivia games is that they can work for just about any subject.
Scavenger hunts don’t need to be saved for Fall or Spring; these can be incorporated into your lesson plan even in the winter. Scavenger Hunts are great in that they combine physical activity with critical thinking skills and teamwork. Scavenger Hunts are versatile and can move outside of the classroom and throughout the school, expand to the outdoors, they can be linked with other classes, and there are plenty to be found online.
Larry Mager believes in the power of regularly exercising the brain. Give yours a workout with some fun, brain-stimulating games at ReadyBrain.net.
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