Education Corner: How to Beat the Winter School Blues

edcornerThe holidays are over and school has resumed. While parents may have been excited to get their little ones back into the classroom, children may not be as enthusiastic. Are your students as motivated about school as they were in September? Often, parents and teachers find that at this time of year many students experience the winter school blues. As a teacher, I referred to this as the “third quarter slump”. Here are a few things to consider to help your students snap out of it (or even prevent it!):

Atlanta author and columnist Adlen Robinson, and mother of six children, offers tips to help adults address those winter blues with their students:

  • Speak to your child’s teacher to get the true picture. Ask if your child is struggling in a particular area and how you can help.

Teachers are always happy to discuss ways to remedy or head off problems before they fester.

  • Buy some new school supplies. Remember how excited children are to buy school supplies for the first day of school?

Try letting your child pick out a new notebook or other items. This would also be a good time to examine the current notebooks and folders. Maybe their entire organizational system needs a checkup.

  • Take an interest in what your child is studying. Talk about what subjects you liked when you were that age.

Similarly, admit what you struggled with. My children all knew about my childhood struggles with certain subjects

  • Start a reading club in your family. Choose a book that you can all read and then discuss during dinner.

The classics are great, of course, but try alternating who selects the book. Keep an open mind when they ask you to read their latest favorite.

Read more tips for parents here

The National Education Association recommends that teachers re-energize the second semester with things that will keep up the momentum of the school year:

  • “A Sneak Peak” – Before winter break, review what has been learned up to that point and provide a teaser for what students will be learning after they return

“This created anticipation among his students, says [Carl]Clausen. “When do we start?” they would eagerly ask. “

  • “Ownership Over Learning” – “I stress how grown up [the children] are, and I recognize their maturity as students,” [Michelle Wise Capen]she explains. “I have shown them a number of ways to work on spelling words during the first semester. In the second semester, I ask students to assess how they learn best and allow them to choose a learning approach on their own. Since the classroom expectations are still the same, children begin to take ownership of their learning without it being micromanaged by me.”
  • “Nothing Works Like Space and Technology” – Vicki Vieau’s class at Salem Grade School in Salem, Wisconsin, participates in the NASA cloud cover project, in which students record observations daily about the weather as the CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System) satellite passes over their town.

Read more tips for teachers here

There are many ways to help your students beat the winter blues. Check out the resources and re-energize!