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Switching Things Up in the Classroom
By ISJL Education Fellow Shira Muroff
One of the best ways to push students, mad’richim, and teachers to the end of the year is to show them just how much they learned over the course of the school year. By letting students and mad’richim take charge of their own learning, you are sure to have an engaged group until the school breaks for summer. When April rolls around, and you see your mad’richim dreaming of summer and sleepaway camp, bring their attention back by letting them take more leadership roles in the classroom.
There are many ways to do this, one of which is to give the mad’richim a full day to be the teachers, while the teachers spend the day as the mad’richim.
This not only gives the mad’richim a chance to put to use all of the classroom management and instructional lessons that they learned from their lead teachers throughout the year, but also lets them remember how much they actually impact the students they work with. When they are working with the teachers acting as mad’richim for the day, they see how much mad’richim are really a necessity in the classroom. This is the perfect thing to do towards the end of the year when mad’richim might be burnt out and might have forgotten what they contribute to the class that they work with. While the mad’richim are getting the boost of confidence, the teachers are also able to see how the classroom has changed throughout the year. They will be able to see how much their mad’richim have progressed in terms of class leadership, and while they are stepping back, they also have the chance to observe their class and see how their students have progressed.
Just as the mad’richim can use the end of the year as a chance to see what they’ve accomplished, so too can the students. While the class may be structured for most of the year, the end of the year can be switched up a bit to regain the students’ interest. One way to do this is to give them part of a class session to submit any questions that they may have garnered from any of the year’s topics. Then, entice them with the promise (making sure to follow through) of a using a section of each of the remaining class times to answer those questions, whether or not they require some outside research. Showing the students that, even at the end of the year, you respect their curiosity can help keep them engaged until the summer.
The end of the year might require more innovation to keep everyone’s attention, but there are definitely ways to get through the post-Passover push.