Refocus Your Class for Quarter 4!

Dana GoodierBlog, Differentiate Better, Innovate Better, Lesson Plan Better, Manage Better, Reflect Better, Teach Happier


  • Spring quarter can be challenging with warmer weather and distractions.
  • Tips: Refocus after break, use problem-based learning, and allow student-led projects.
  • Get outside, link content to themes, and enjoy teaching for better engagement.

Navigating Quarter 4

By the time you’re reading this, you’re likely returning from spring break. You are hopefully rested and refreshed and eager to get quarter 4 underway in your classroom. Many educators feel like this quarter is the most difficult, as you have warmer weather, spring fever, standardized state testing, and field trips planned. The business of this quarter doesn’t mean learning will stop or we lower our expectations for student engagement.

Here are some tips to start quarter 4 off on the right foot in your classroom!

Many educators feel like this quarter is the most difficult, as you have warmer weather, spring fever, standardized state testing, and field trips planned. Click To Tweet

#1. Refocus and What It Can Entail

Conduct a class refocus as students return from spring break. This can be in the form of a class discussion, a short slideshow, or a homeroom/advisory SEL activity. The refocus should address any behavioral issues that ramped up last quarter that you’d like to bring up and put a stop to.

#2. Problem-and Project-Based Learning

Incorporate more problem- and project-based learning into your classroom during the last weeks of the year. If you’re using a district-specified curriculum, you may have completed your scope and sequence a few weeks before the end of the year. Work with your content-area teammates to determine which types of projects would support your curriculum as a end-of-year activity. PBL is also a way to get out of the ordinary as things wind down the school year despite multiple distractions to the schedule that may occur at the end of the year such as state testing or field trips.

#3. Student-Led Learning

Give your students the chance to design their own learning. This can be an offshoot from PBL, in that it gives students the chance to take learning into their own hands. You can develop a set of objectives and guidance on how they can meet those objectives, but ultimately, your students will show their learning in a manner that shows how they best processed the information.

#4. Fresh Air

Take your students outdoors! This allows them to engage their senses while completing tasks. All you need are paper, pencils, and clipboards (Chromebook screens may be difficult to see in the sun). Begin by introducing the prompt and guiding students to explore the surroundings for ideas. For example, I once conducted a memorable poem-writing activity outdoors in my high school English class. If your school had an outdoor classroom used during COVID that’s now neglected, consider revitalizing it for regular use this spring.

[scroll down to keep reading]

#5. Link Content to Larger Themes

Incorporate monthly/weekly themes into your content. These could include Random Acts of Kindness (see my previous blog post), Asian-American Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, Mother’s Day, Easter/Passover/Ramadan, etc.

#6. Enjoy what you’re doing!

Have fun! It will keep you motivated as well as bring up the attitude of your students. When you have fun with the content, whether it’s something that you’ve taught for many years or it’s your first year teaching the material.

Have ideas to add to this list? DM me on X @danagoodier or IG @outoftrenchespc. I’d love to hear your thoughts on keeping students engaged this last quarter.

About Dana Goodier

Dr. Dana Goodier has 23 years of experience in education. She has taught World Languages and English and worked as a middle school administrator. She completed her doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership early 2020. For her dissertation, she researched reasons parents were opting their students out of high-stakes testing at middle schools and how that affected the district accreditation rating.

She often speaks at conferences, providing educators with techniques to minimize off-task behavior and to increase time on task. Goodier is the host of the “Out of the Trenches” podcast, which features educators who share their stories of resiliency. She is also the author of the book, “Out of the Trenches: Stories of Resilient Educators.”

Follow her on Twitter @danagoodier and visit her website at: