#1. Time Restroom Breaks!
This is a fun way to start a little competition in your classroom. I start timing our classroom restroom breaks in the spring, to help prepare my students for middle school. As a class, we try to "beat our time" each day. This is a win-win situation because my students dawdle less, meaning more classroom instructional time for me! They LOVE holding my phone as the timer too!
#2. Go Outside!
You know the expression if you can't beat them, join them? When the weather gets nice, there is nothing better than taking my class outside to learn. I love taking them outside for independent reading time. They can feel the breeze, get some much needed vitamin D, and enjoy their book!
#3. Incentives and Goal-Setting!
These spring months tend to be the time when my students stray away from focusing on their goals. So, I ask most of them every day what their goal is for each subject, time period, etc. Then, I check back in with those students. It helps keep my students focused and keeps me engaged with what they are trying to accomplish. When all of them feel "on the hook," productivity is better and I am less stressed! I also add in fun incentives for my entire class such as "Flashlight Fridays," where they get to buddy read with a flashlight during independent reading time! Little things like that make a big difference!
I try to never miss a morning class meeting. (More on that here). In the spring when kids want to talk, talk, talk, it's so important to give them some time to share their thoughts with each other. Don't skip those valuable community builders in the spring!
#5. Decide Consequences Together!
Let's be honest. Your students are going to have some really rough days. I know for my kiddos, it was Valentine's Day week. We had a lot of cootie problems going on in our classroom, and by Friday I had had enough. As a class, we sat down and composed an email to parents detailing how school was not the place to bring our boyfriends and girlfriends gifts, etc. and that we had a job to do while we were at school. It was so much more meaningful deciding our consequence as a class, and as a result my students and parents felt more connected to the decisions being made in our classroom. Don't be afraid to ask your class or a student what they feel an appropriate consequence is!