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[Student Engagement] Using Courseware for Winter Break Skills Recovery

[Student Engagement] Using Courseware for Winter Break Skills Recovery

For most middle and high school students, the winter break means the end of the semester—time to put finals and the previous semester behind for a fresh start in the new year. However, most core content courses are two semesters long. So, students who struggled during the first semester, the lull of winter break can be a bit difficult. Not only do they have a bad grade hanging over their heads, but also, they have the stress of feeling ill-prepared for success throughout the rest of the school year.

With Edmentum’s solution, Courseware, you can work with struggling students over winter break to help them master the skills they struggled with in the first semester and possibly earn some extra credit to boost their grades. You’ll all return to the classroom feeling more confident and positive about the new year and a new semester of learning!

Identify Learning Gaps

The first step to helping struggling learners is identifying their areas of need. Courseware offers a variety of user-friendly reports to help you access and act on your students’ data, review their performance on specific topics, and analyze their performance on the end-of-semester exam. Whatever you choose to focus on, use the results to identify three to four topics for each student that he or she needs to master in order to be successful in the next semester.

Use Flex Assignments for Personalized Content

Once you have determined each student's weak areas, create personalized assignments based on these topics using the Flex Assignments feature in Courseware. Remember, don't give students more than three to four topics total; winter break is only typically two weeks long, and you want to make sure that students still have time to spend with their families and rest.

Give Students Clear Instructions and Incentives

It’s important before you send students off with their assignments to make sure that they understand the expectations and how it benefits them to meet those expectations. Depending on how grading works in your district, you may be able to offer students some extra credit toward their first semester grades. For students who didn't pass the semester, this will be invaluable, as it can mean that they won't have to make up an entire semester. If this isn't possible, consider offering students points toward the upcoming semester so that they have an opportunity to start out ahead instead of behind. Whatever incentive you choose, be sure that students understand it and what exactly they need to do to meet expectations.

Schedule Individual Follow-Up Meetings for Struggling Students

After break, schedule time to meet with each student who worked on review topics. In this meeting, review the expectations, the student's results, and the incentive received. Additionally, use this meeting as an opportunity to prepare the student for what will be coming in the next semester. Talk about what topics and skills he or she can expect to work on, and review options for receiving extra help if he or she is having trouble, such as after-school tutoring or open office hours. This can help prevent students from falling behind in the new semester.

Using the winter break to allow students to review and receive credit for concepts that they didn’t master during the first semester can be a great strategy to increase motivation and teach students about the importance of hard work and persistence. Courseware makes it easy for you, as educators, to identify students in need of these opportunities and deliver high-quality instruction to them outside of the classroom. Ready to get started? Learn more about Courseware here!'s picture

Carmen Palmer lives in the Minneapolis area and serves as a Marketing Manager on the Edmentum team. She graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida with a degree in creative writing and literature. Carmen loves to read and is passionate about literacy and education.