How to Keep Classroom Sleepers Awake
When I was a teenager, I had trouble sleeping. Bedtime meant boredom, then exasperation as my brain replayed scenes from the day, including failed jump shots, unrequited crushes, perceived slights, and unsatisfactory hair. There were a few occasions when I sleepwalked to the kitchen and made myself a peanut butter sandwich, but other than that, bedtime meant boredom and exasperation.
At school, I was a zombie, coming in and out of awareness at random intervals. There was a day when I was in the middle of the second period of high school science class when the teacher yelled, “Wake up!” “Finley! Wake up! Is the monotony of my voice getting to you?” It was inappropriate for Mr. Smith to take my drowsiness as an insult, but I do wish that one of my other instructors had questioned me about my sleeping patterns. It is possible that it would have prevented me from suffering from undetected sleep apnea for twenty years.
Academic performance is negatively impacted by a lack of sleep due to the fact that consciousness is necessary for the learning process. Even when the children are awake, the condition makes it difficult for them to concentrate and perform other cognitive tasks. Depression is one of the other impacts, along with an increased appetite and subsequent weight gain, an increased risk of accidental injury, and an increased propensity to develop a dependent on nicotine.
Mokkseaton High School in the United Kingdom moved its start time from 8:50 to 10:00 in the morning, which resulted in significant improvements in both academic performance and attendance rates. The decision was based on research conducted by Russell Foster, which is frequently cited, showing that adolescents naturally tend to stay up later and sleep in longer. The results of students in middle school in North Carolina who participated in the study conducted by Finley Edwards showed that their scores on standardised tests improved when the start times of their schools were delayed. This was especially true for students whose academic abilities were below average. Edwards proposes that a policy of delaying the beginning of middle school and high school could be one approach to reducing the disparity in academic achievement.
I developed this list of prevalent causes that contribute to chronic teen sleeping in class based on a number of papers that I read on the topic, which are as follows:
Keeping unnaturally late hours (often attributed to games, TV, or social media)
Taking the role of a night worker
Having concerns with their health or suffering from sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, or sleep apnea
Being uninterested due to the monotony of the class activities
interactions between parents and children that are traumatic, as well as other distressing events
Being too hungry
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
According to a number of different experts, the majority of adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep in order to function normally, while anything less than eight hours is insufficient. Only 8% of teenagers say that they get the recommended amount of sleep each night (PDF). Even more at danger are adolescents, who physically mature at a faster rate than adults because they naturally have a reduced sleep drive (PDF). Check out the brief interactive tutorial that the Harvard Medical School has created on the topic of sleep drive and alertness if you want to learn more about the subject.
Arousing them and maintaining their level of activity
The following is an example of a considerate method to wake a pupil. While the rest of the class is preoccupied with the think-pair-share activity, gently touch the sleeper on the arm. This will allow you to sneak up on them undetected. Suggest that she take a sip of water, stretch her muscles at the far corner of the room, or sit with her back against a cool wall in order to assist her in remaining alert.
When you notice that your kids are beginning to zone out, switch them over to an activity that demands them to walk around.
Waking Them Up and Keeping Them Active
Have the pupils take part in a quick role-playing activity.
Utilize Chat Stations, a concept originated by Jennifer Gonzales, in which students stand and discuss topics prompted by posters displayed in various places of the room. After a few minutes, each of the smaller groups will move on to the next station in a rotating fashion.
Experiment with a different game from the Game-Based Learning section of Edutopia: The Summing Up of Resources
Taking energising breaks, often known as energizers, can help improve alertness and lower stress. The following is a list of some of my favourites:
1. The objective of the team Bubble Blow Challenge (PDF) is for groups to collaborate in order to transport the maximum number of bubbles from point A to point B. The only member of the team who cannot proceed past point A is the person responsible for blowing the team bubble. Each team has sixty seconds to examine different strategies after each round has been completed.
2. Students form a circle and face each other while playing Question Ball. A question is to be posed by the person who catches the ball after it has been bounce-passed to them by the facilitator. “Your home is on fire, and the only thing you have time to save is a single possession. What do you bring with you to protect yourself?” The ball is then handed back to the person who is facilitating the activity, who then passes it to a member of the circle who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to ask or answer a question. This continues until each and every person has had a chance to speak.
3. In Which Sentence Does the Adverb Appear? From the book 100 Ways to Energize Groups, one activity suggests sending a student volunteer into the hall while the rest of the class comes to a consensus on an adverb. Possible choices include cruelly, tensely, suspiciously, tragically, selfishly, and so on. When the volunteer comes back into the room, she instructs the other students to complete a variety of activities “in that way.” Examples:
Papers should be dispersed in such a manner.
Imagine you are holding up a bank by doing so.
This is how you should greet a friend.
Examine the individual’s footwear in such a manner.
When the volunteer gives an answer that is accurate, the round will come to a close.
And If the Sleeping Continues?
Assuming that you have: a) had a conversation with the classroom sleeper about why she can’t stay awake; b) notified the child’s parents about which days and how often you’ve observed the problem; and c) that your lessons incorporate variety and movement, send these sleep hygiene routines to the caregiver if the problem continues to exist. In the meanwhile, make sure that your classroom is properly lit to boost attentiveness, especially for those meetings that take place earlier in the day, and try to make use of natural light wherever it is available. In the event that you have any other recommendations, kindly submit them in the comments area.