6th grade is typically the first year of middle school, full of changes and challenges. Your students need support and guidance as they grow into little adults. Here are 10 of our favorite ideas and activities to help your students feel safe, engaged, and motivated. Try them out in your class today!
1. Get Outside
One sure-fire way to get your entire class excited is to take them outside. There are plenty of ways to incorporate outdoors and nature into your class activities. One fun idea is to create a memory relay race (for progress checks regarding previous material).
Learn More: Education
2. TED Talks
By 6th grade, students are hearing about current events, politics, social justice, and change. It is important to get them engaged and interested in their world so they can contribute to society. You can include essential questions and insights into every class by having 10 minutes dedicated to a short TED Talk where important concepts and issues are being addressed and students can share their thoughts and brilliant ideas.
Learn More: TED Blog
3. Anti-Bully Brigade
Middle school is unfortunately a time where a lot of students struggle with bullying. Whether your student is the bullier or the bullied, here are a bunch of bullying resources so you can be informed and support your students through this challenging and oftentimes overwhelming period in their lives.
Learn More: Stop Bullying
4. Books 4 Brains
Every grade level needs its own age-appropriate book list for its students. Find library books you can keep in your classroom for students to pick up when they finish assignments early. Suggest they bring in a copy of their favorite book to class so they can share their interests and ideas. Build a class library that encourages every student to be a bookworm.
Learn More: Bored Teachers
5. Circle Up!
Sometimes it’s nice when all your students can see each other face to face. Rearrange your desks into a circle or move the class into a room with a circular table for a change of atmosphere. Many activities are more conducive to this type of layout, especially ones that require students to pass information around or remember and recite previous material.
Learn More: Creative Team Building Activities for Kids
6. Daily Diary
Encourage your students to express themselves and analyze how they are feeling on a daily basis. Many times 6th graders feel overwhelmed and do not know how to share their thoughts or emotions. Encourage your class to spend the first 5-10 minutes in each class writing in their diary about anything that is on their mind. This is a subtle way you can show them you care about their well-being and if the students wish to share with you, they have an easy opportunity to do so.
Learn More: The School Run
7. Blog It Out!
Encourage your students to contribute to a classroom blog with each blog post dedicated to an important issue or topic. This can be part of their daily-weekly homework. Their entire post can be a few lines of research and a few of opinion so their peers can read and comment on each other’s ideas. Here are some writing prompts to inspire you and them!
Learn More: The Edu Blogger
8. Students Choice
Take a little pressure off of your lesson planning responsibility by having your students play a role in what activities you complete on which day. 6th graders have many moods that change all the time, one day they are full of energy and want to talk, and others they want to sit and be quiet. Prepare a list of activity ideas and have a class vote.
Learn More: Hechinger Report
9. Sponge Activities
Sponge activities soak up the extra time you may have once you’ve completed all you have prepared for that day’s class. It is important to have a list of simple and fun activities to fill in the space. Here are some ideas to use the next time your lesson plan runs fast.
Learn More: Scholastic
10. Never Board
Utilize your wall space by incorporating various boards into your classroom scheme. Besides the important dry-erase boards, you can also hang up bulletin boards with important updates and student achievements. Another fun idea is getting a class board with magnets students can move around like an interactive bulletin board. The opportunities are endless!
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