Every week you work hard at carefully creating meaningful lesson plans for your students. However, regardless of how much planning you do, there will be a student (or two) who will finish the assignment or lesson early. So, what do you do for these students? And, equally as important, how do you ensure that the activities you’re providing are relevant and enriching to their learning?
Before you begin providing enrichment, it is important to consider the age of your students as there are certain strategies you can leverage to better ensure a positive experience, depending on which grade span you are teaching to. Below, we’ve compiled a few suggestions for structuring your enrichment opportunities, segmented by grade levels.
- Provide limited choices and transitions, especially for grades K–2.
- Use a thematic approach (term 1 = arts; term 2 = STEM, etc.) for better comprehension.
- Embed project-based learning into extended core classes.
Students in this grade span are most receptive to simple and intuitive enrichment. Rather than calling out enrichment, simply infuse it into activities for students who are ready for it. Providing opportunities to connect career awareness, curriculum, and instruction will unite academic and social themes and begin to introduce careers in the classroom. Scheduling your enrichment in a thematic approach will help with comprehension and enable students to engage more quickly.
- Make programming sequential so that students can participate over multiple years.
- Find partners who bring new faces and resources into the school.
- Partner with local high schools to ease transitions and prepare students for grade 9.
Middle school is when the opportunity for enrichment really starts to flourish and career exploration begins. You can help students to map out sequential pathways and programming so that they can monitor progress. Also, introducing outside resources is always a great way to spark energy for these students.
- Find community organizations and businesses to provide apprenticeships and internships.
- Embed traditionally after-school activities like clubs and athletics into the school day.
- Partner with local colleges and universities, including dual-enrollment opportunities.
Continue to build off enrichment programs from middle school, and allow students to identify which areas most interest them. High school students can embark on their career-aimed curricular journey by taking a coherent sequence of CTE courses designed to scaffold employability knowledge, skills, and experience and to concurrently support their interdisciplinary needs.
At Edmentum, our programs provide comprehensive support for enrichment by providing age-appropriate content and resources. We believe that the level and complexity of the curriculum should always match the readiness and motivation of students.