Keeping Students Engaged

26 April 2015 / 2 comments
Hello! I'm Tara from Looney's Literacy. I'm super excited to be a part of this amazing group of bloggers and can't wait to share ideas with you.

I'm not sure about you, but in my neck of the woods we're nearing the end of our school year. That time when we're in the middle of standardized testing and/or local assessing. The kids know the end is in sight. The weather is changing and everyone needs to take a break.

In my building, our exceptional leader has led us to believe and share with our students that we still have 14 days of learning left with no time to waste. So what to do?

We don't want to start a new unit in our text books that will not wrap up nicely before the last day. Not only that, we need to be honest here, keeping our students engaged this time of here is tricky. So....

To keep my fourth graders engaged we are reading the One and Only Ivan by Katherine AppleGate. If you haven't read this book I highly recommend it. If your like me and prefer to read the book before you share it with your students, have no fear, it's a quick read. This book contains many opportunities to practice those "vital verbs" that assist in critical thinking and creative problem solving. I've created a quick little journal that allows students to practice as they listen to the text being read aloud. The verbs I included are: analyze, persuade, compare, contrast, summarize, demonstrate, describe, explain, interpret, and infer.  You can download your free copy here: 

This can be used with any read aloud. 

The kindergarten class in my building is using Mo Willems to keep the kiddos engaged and on track. 

You can choose a theme or a topic and extend your lessons across all the content areas. You could choose summer as a theme. Find read a-loud's about summer for reading.

Have them make lists of things to do in the summer,  pretend they are vacation and they need  to write a letter home to Mom and Dad, or write in  "journal style"  about their best summer vacation ever!

For math (with older kids)  they could calculate how many miles it takes to get from home to a vacation place or they could create a budget for said trip.

Science and Social Studies are a given with planting, community, geography and maps.

Follow Laura Forsyth Fanucchi's board Book Activities on Pinterest.

For older students: Have them brainstorm a list of projects they could do in the next  2-3 weeks. They can even create the guidelines and rubrics.

For younger ones: give them a list of projects or activities that they could do and teach them how to manage time and space. Teach them how to communicate. How to think creatively and problem solve independently.

I hope this helps you make it through the end of the year! Best of luck!

Until next time,


  1. HEYYYY Blogger buddy! Great ideas!!! I love the ducks!! Upper grades love novel read alouds probably as much or more than little folks! Ivan is perfect for making them THINK!!


  2. Yes, Ivan is quickly becoming my favorite teaching tool!


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