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May 26

Spring Fever & Student Behavior

Posted by Pamela Jones in Fair Is Not Equal on May 26, 2013

Survival Tips for Teachers

Recently, one of our students said, "You wouldn't believe how wild and out-of-control the students have been this week! What's up with them?!!" In reply to this impassioned plea, another student who was within earshot said simply, "It's spring fever." While scientists have yet to identify the spring fever gene, we teachers know that it exists because when the sun comes out and there's a gentle breeze, our students transform. Even students who are usually calm and even-keeled seem to be affected by the spring fever bug and by the end of any given week, teachers are at their wits end. Feeling like all hope is lost? Well never fear, because there are things that you can do to redirect your students' energy and maintain your sanity.

In a Responsive Classroom article about behavior challenges that arise during the "homestretch," Wilson and Anderson (2010) suggest a strategy called interactive modeling. Interactive modeling is about reminding students about key behaviors such as voice volume control, responding to a signal, or walking in a line (just to name a few).   

Taylor (2012), in her Scholastic article about what to do when your students catch spring fever, recommends giving kids brain breaks, reinforcing classroom rules and expectations, and getting outside. These may seem obvious but sometimes, it's the more obvious strategies that elude us when we're flustered and feel tapped out.

A teacher whose classroom we've visited over the course of this academic year believes in the power of body breaks to help kids re-align, readjust, and refocus. Body breaks are movements that help students change their alertness level. Just the other day, as her students were fidgeting in their seats and having trouble focusing, she said, "It's time for a body break; everybody up!" They stood up, the music started, and they began moving their arms and legs in response to cues provided by their peers—as this class has been doing body breaks all year and students are now fully acquainted with this strategy. In a few minutes, the students seemed more alert and ready to get back to the task at hand. Check out this booklet on body breaks to learn more about how you could integrate them into your classroom to combat spring fever!

Are your students experiencing spring fever during this home stretch? Let us know what you are doing to support your students and maintain your sanity. Inquiring minds want to know!

tagged behavioral support, body breaks, spring fever
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