Ways to Keep Students and Teachers Motivated During the Winter Months

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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

-Galatians 6:9 NIV

How Many More Days Until Spring?

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For educators and students, it is hard to keep students motivated during the winter. The days are still quite short, it can be cold outside, and you may not see the sun for a few days because of the weather. These factors can bring anyone down during this time of year. The good news- we have less than two months before it officially is Spring! On the other hand, we also need to stay motivated and keep our students motivated as best as we can during this time of year.

For our own benefit and for the students, it is important to keep things lively during this time of year. Teaching strategies that worked early in the fall may not work with students as the year progresses.

Keeping It Fresh For Students and Staff

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Whether you teach elementary or at the secondary level, by the time late January and February come around, students and teachers are starting to feel impact of winter in the classroom. I have found that students and teachers can become more irritable, less motivated, and exercise less in the winter months than they do the rest of the year. In order to combat these feelings and actions, we need to be intentional with our mindset and the activities that we provide for ourselves and our students.

Below are a few things that we can do to liven things up a little bit both for teachers and students. If we implement a few of these activities in conjunction with other positive behavior supports, students and teachers will find more enjoyment in their work and will be able to bridge the gap until the return of spring and the warmer weather.

Activities to Make Winter More Fun

  • Get up and Move!- Students could take a quiet lap around the hallways in the school. GoNoodle is a good site as well. I like this Fitness Dice Game, where you roll the dice and whatever you land on you complete the exercise.
  • Brain Breaks– Allow students to color, get a drink, and stretch out for 3-5 minutes before getting back to work.
  • Classroom Challenges- Come up with a competition between classrooms around the building to build up morale and have some fun.
  • School Spirit Days- Check out these 50 cool ideas to boost school spirit
  • Hands-on Projects- Bring in Legos, Playdough, Kinex, Lincoln Logs, even handheld or power tools to help your students build something.
  • Read to Students– Reading is powerful. It allows us to relax, use our imagination, and take a break from the stresses of teaching and learning.
  • Research Projects- Students can research something they enjoy or someone they are interested about. This project can hit many of your classroom standards across the curriculum. Check out these examples for some ideas to get started.
  • Celebrate Growth– Since many of us administer benchmark assessments in the winter, this is a great time to celebrate growth for students. Have a party or a fun movie to celebrate all of the hard work these students have put in so far this year.

Find Time For Yourself

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It is most important of all that you, the teacher, are able to take care of yourself. If you are feeling sick, worn out, or just plain burnt-out, then the students will not be getting the most of what you have to offer.

Take time to relax and try out a hobby or two. Find something that you have always wanted to try, but have not gotten around to it yet. There is plenty of snow this time of year so you could bundle up and enjoy some winter activities. Looking for more activities to do with students and your own family? Check out these great activities to beat cabin fever. Make sure you are also getting enough rest and Vitamin C because students and staff often get sick this time of year. I know we have been battling the cold and flu around my house the last few weeks!

Hang in there, whether we get snow days or not in the next few weeks, we do know that we have less than 60 calendar days until Spring! We can do this!

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Want More Strategies and Support Each Week?

Do you go into the classroom on Monday overwhelmed at the week ahead of you? The Momentum Monday newsletter is like a Snickers bar for teachers. Each week, there is great information for what you need right now in your classroom. There are student engagement strategies, teacher self-care, a teacher tech tip, and a Q & A section with actual questions that I have received from teachers. Click to view the latest issue of Momentum Monday and subscribe to future issues and view our past issues!

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