TEACHER TIP: Keep Science Instruction Going During Winter Break. Avoid Academic Slide!
Nov 25, 2022

Most schools or districts have two to three weeks off for winter break. Maintain your science instructional momentum by hosting a Winter Break Challenge! Use our editable School Break Challenge document to customize your own school Penda challenge to keep your students learning while they are home from school. Get them excited about using Penda and mastering their science standards while they compete for a chance to win prizes or incentives at your school as well as school-wide recognition for their hard work. Click here to download the editable school break challenge documents.

To get the most out of your Winter Break Challenge, try the following:
  1. Identify 2 low-performing standards. Analyze the results from a diagnostic or formative assessment activity to find 2 standards of concern.
    1. Haven’t assigned an assessment activity yet? Then use your class or grade-level mastery reports to look for standards that could use some more practice.
    2. Or, assign activities for standards taught at the beginning of the school year before you were using Penda with your students.
  2. Assign the Developing, Achieving, and Exceeding activities for the 2 standards you have selected.
  3. Run and analyze a report upon returning from the break to see how your students did on the Winter Break Challenge.
    1. With our new reports enhancement coupled with the date range filters, we have made it substantially easier for teachers to run a report for a specific class period and identify students based upon set criteria:
      • Sort hours column to honor students with the most amount of time.
      • Sort total activities column to honor students with most activities attempted.
      • Sort green activities count column to honor students with the highest achievement scores.
  4. Here are 2 possible frameworks to build and incentivize the challenge:
    1. Option 1:
      • Reward students based upon the following 3 criteria (for which students can be recognized more than once):
        • Hours of engagement (task hours)
        • Activities attempted (effort)
        • Activities mastered (achievement)
      • For each challenge criteria, do 'shout-outs' for students in the top tier (perhaps the top third of students in that category) and provide them with a raffle ticket that goes into a big fishbowl. Students get more chances for drawings the more hours they put in, the more activities they attempt, and the more activities they master.
      • Draw various prize/incentive items from the fishbowl - front of the line pass, free homework pass, extra points on quiz or test, McDonald's gift cards, Amazon gift cards, Nintendo Switch for a school-wide give-away.
    2. Option 2:
      • Reward students based upon the number of activities they've mastered that are part of the challenge.

    To make it easy for students to find the challenge:
    *Create one assignment that includes “Winter Break Challenge” in the name and includes all activities for the challenge.
    *Give the Winter Break Challenge start and end dates that cover days off for school break.