How to Take Control of Engagement During a School Closure
UK schools closed on the 20th March (and some before this date). It's weird to think, but that was 2 months ago! Since then everyone has had to become a lot more self-motivated. For some, that is an easy task and I am definitely a member of the fortunate few who have endless energy (or maybe it's just the 5th iced coffee of the day?). However, for my students, I can't say the same for all of them. So, I thought I would share a few ideas of what I've been doing to motivate my students during this time.
Not sure if I'm alone in this one, but I've been tracking scores from each task (this is less impressive than it sounds, you can download the excel document from MS Teams and copy it over). However, I quickly realised that this document was useful to me and only me. It wasn't useful as a class overview when filling out school documents and it definitely wasn't helpful when considering contacting parents/carers. So I spent a day on excel, taught myself a few new formulae, and voila! You can see a preview of the spreadsheet below.
Last week, I put some time aside for my year 7 class and creating a pdf report for each student and emailed them to parents/carers. It goes without saying that not everyone replied back! But those that did were grateful to hear about their child's progress, good or otherwise. My students have been better at handing assignments in this week as a result. It has also opened a dialogue with learners and their families which has highlighted other issues at home that the school isn't aware of. I will continue doing this during closure. I love this spreadsheet and how it generates what I need - I might try and repurpose it next year for homework? Watch this space.
Alongside a handful of these reports, I included a certificate for a few students that deserved recognition. Some of these students are working above and beyond what I would expect during this manic time. Usually I would dig into the reward drawer (yes, I need a better name for this) and hand something out at the end of a week - but we must adapt. Those who have received the certificate have been very happy and parents/carers have been very grateful for the boost it has given them. It's the little things that count!
Finally, I spoke briefly about this in my April post but competition is the biggest driver into an assignment so far. We're doing HegartyMaths MemRi competitions and Kahoot! challenges between classes, and the engagement has been really good so far. I'm looking forward to finding (or making) new methods and resources to keep pushing my students until it is 100% safe to have them back in front of me with my rewards drawer!