Teacher’s Corner: Engaging the Low-Energy Student
Low-energy may be caused by any number of reasons: sickness, fatigue, lack of sleep, low tone, boredom, sensory processing issues, and more. Talk to your students’ parents for better understanding. But for the most part, there are some simple things teachers can do to help engage their low-energy student in the classroom. Here are 10 tips:
Engaging the Low-Energy Student
1) Movement Breaks: movement movement movement! You can have 5 minute breaks throughout the day and have the children do simple activities such as jumping jacks, running, and pushups before they get back to their work.
2) Snacks & Drinks: have some cold drinks and snacks accessible. Another option is chewing gum. Discuss it with parents before offering anything edible. It is best to have parents provide the food.
3) Visual Schedule and Timer: having a set amount of time to complete a task encourages some students to stay on task and focus. You can try and make a game out of it, e.g. “You have 5 minutes to complete your worksheet. How many problems can you solve in 5 minutes?”
4) Music: you can try using headphones during individual work.
5) Tone of Voice: examine your energy and tone. Remember the teacher in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? The point is to be dramatic, exciting, and energetic. Yes, you will be exhausted at the end of the day but the energy of your classroom will definitely change.
6) Surprises: keep things somewhat unpredictable so the children don’t get used to routine and become bored.
7) Visual Stimuli: it helps to have bright colors and bright lights in the classroom. If possible use natural lighting.
8) Multi-sensory Workstations: have alternating work stations. You can use a therapy ball or move-n-sit cushions on their chairs, standing tables in the corner, or a slant board to write on.
9) Breaks: giving your students regular breaks can keep them stay engaged and keep their energy up.
10) Engaging Work: Move around the class when you are teaching, do something meaningful and purposeful (e.g. add a project as part of the session that is interesting to students)