If you are like me, you have a love-hate relationship with Homecoming.
I love the passion and excitement I see in students during Homecoming week. I love seeing the high school students spend two frantic hours on Sunday evening decorating halls. I love seeing the junior high students celebrate their dress up day winners. I love hearing the elementary students cheering loud and proud at the pep assembly. I love seeing the cheerleaders and football players dressed up in their blue and white, proud to be Wolverines. I love seeing the Homecoming Court and their parents announced before the game.
There’s just so much about Homecoming week to be excited about and love!
But that leads me to the hate part of my relationship with Homecoming. It seems like we are constantly trying to redirect students to focus on the lesson we are teaching. With all the excitement of Homecoming activities, how do we as teachers accomplish anything academic this week?
So how do we take this passion--this hunger--that students have during Homecoming week and build on this throughout the rest of the year?
Let’s take some of the concepts that make Homecoming exciting and bring them into our classrooms! Here are 5 strategies that you can use with your students for an exciting year:
5. Competition--Students get excited about creating the best poster or having the best hall or door decorations, so incorporate some healthy competition into your classroom. Game-based learning is on the rise. Check out these game-based learning resources on edutopia. You can also use games like Jeopardy or Kahoot for pre-assessment, formative assessment, or review. (A small prize is nice but not necessary!)
4. Fun--Dress Up Days are all about FUN! And who doesn’t like to have some fun? Use student interests to connect to your curriculum. Take time to do something out of the ordinary. Laugh. Create fun and interesting bulletin boards and activities. Here are a few that I have already seen around the district: Homeworkopoly (Check out Terri Brown’s board!), painted ceiling tiles (Check out the HS art room!), and relaxing reading corners.
3. Collaboration--Have you ever noticed how when we have the whole student body cheering at the pep assembly, it just seems so much more exciting? Bring the collaboration to your classroom. Consider co-teaching a lesson or unit. Plan and teach a cross-curricular unit that brings in more resources and more voices. Don’t forget...instructional coaches are available to collaborate with too!
2. Victory--There’s just something about winning...especially at Homecoming! In teaching, when students learn, we win. So, what goals are we setting for students? Are we helping ALL students reach the standards that we ask of them? Differentiating is a great way to ensure that all students are getting what they need in order to learn. Check out our differentiation page as we add more ideas throughout the year. Instructional coaches or model teachers can also help you with ideas for differentiating for your students.
1. Celebration--There’s nothing better than celebrating a Homecoming victory than with a dance! The dance is the final event of a busy, exciting week. So, we celebrate! Be sure to celebrate victories--big or small-- in your classroom. Recognize the success students are having as they are victorious in achieving their goals. Give stickers or prizes. Bring treats. Have a party. Dance!