The HappyEdugator

The HappyEdugator
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

I'm back! 10 End of the Year Ideas for Tired Teachers and Students

Hello again! I had my surgery in March. The recovery from this second neuroma surgery has gone well. I am finally starting to feel better and I am walking better every day. The horrible nerve pain is gone, thankfully. I have just not had it in me to write at all, especially since I was diagnosed with diabetes, too. I have been spending a load of time learning how to eat better and take care of myself. Proud to say I have lost 26 pounds since February! :)

I was thinking about what I could write about since the school year is almost over, and I thought about how the last weeks after testing can be draining. The students are no longer motivated, teachers are tired, and everyone wants to do something fun to relieve the stress. Everyone is counting down to summer vacation. Yet, we still have to stay on task and have creative lessons that will keep students learning and engaged (without spending hours of planning!)...so what can we do?

Although I left teaching a year ago, I still remember how difficult those last weeks can be. If you are a new teacher, or if you just need some fresh ideas, here are ten ideas to help get you through those last weeks!

1. The weather is getting nicer, so take your class outside if you can. At our school, we just had to notify the office if we were going to be outside. I liked to carry a walkie talkie with me so I could communicate with someone in the building, in case of an emergency. Of course, you can also use a cell phone, but the walkie talkies were very convenient and you could just call a team member quickly. We also had a covered area with picnic tables called the "outdoor classroom." Just make sure you have a planned activity, so the kids aren't just thinking this is a recess. There are lots of things you can do outside...read under a shady tree, write poems, do a nature scavenger hunt, use colored chalk to figure math problems on the sidewalk or draw maps of places being studied. For a great STEM activity, construct paper kites or airplanes, and then fly them and see which ones fly highest, furthest, longest, etc.

2. Have the student write a speech and present it to the class. My students always liked to complete a "How to..." assignment where they were the experts on something and could teach the class how to do it. This can be done in any grade level. Make sure they have specific requirements, a clear rubric, and keep students who are in the audience engaged with an evaluation form, so that they are participating, too. Here is a link you might like:

Middle School/High School

Speech Presentation - Teacher Evaluation Sheet

FREE Speech Presentation Teacher Evaluation Sheet

End of the Year Speech Assignment

End of the Year Speech Assignment

Public Speaking

Public Speaking PowerPoint

Expository Writing - How to Project Assignment

Expository Writing - How to Project Assignment

3. An ABC review is a good way to review a book, a unit, or even the whole year. Students can write about something that begins with each letter of the alphabet from their book, their lesson, animals they have studied, or what they remember from the year. If they do the latter, they can make it into a memory book and illustrate it, too! Here are links to some ABC review sheets for various grade levels if you need one...

Middle School/ High School

ABC Summary Sheet or Summarizer

FREE ABC Summary Sheet
ABC PowerPoint Project for Any Novel
ABC PowerPoint Project for Any Novel

Elementary

Free Animal ABC Book

Free Animal ABC Book


ABC Book

ABC Book

4. Make a memory book...if you don't use the ABC review above to make one, print out memory book pages for all your students and then have students complete one each day. After a couple weeks, they can be put together to make a nice memory book and then students can autograph them. Take a class photo to include in it.  Here is a link to a memory book if you don't have one...

End of Year Memory Book

End of Year Memory Book

5. Have your class do a service project for the school. Maybe the grounds need weeding, a wall needs painting, or a tree needs planting. Check with your administrator for ideas on what needs to be done to help spruce up the school.

6.  Write an end of the year poem. My students enjoyed making Poet - T's, and they can do this in any subject, not just ELA. We also wrote "I AM" poems like we did at the beginning of the year and then compared them.

"I Am" Poem

FREE I Am Poem

End of the Year I Am Poem: Make a Poet T - Shirt Craftivity

End of the Year I Am Poem-Make a Poet T-Shirt Craftivity

7. Play some interactive PowerPoint games  or do some gallery walks. Getting the students up and moving in an engaging activity will help them use up that pent up energy that can get them into trouble, and time will fly by before you know it! You can quickly and easily make your own games with these PowerPoint game templates:

PowerPoint Game Templates BUNDLE

PowerPoint Game Template BUNDLE

8. Do activities in connection with things students love. Perhaps have ice cream with some ice cream writing activities? Make a cell out of different kinds of candy? Take an imaginary vacation in math?


End of the Year Activities

End of the Year Activities


End of the Year Math Activity PowerPoint - Imaginary Vacation
End of the Year Math Activity PowerPoint-Imaginary Vacation-132603


9. Use menu choice boards to give students an opportunity to choose an activity to work on. Students who have a choice will be more likely to be engaged in their learning. They will feel empowered and put their best effort in their work.

End of the Year Assignment Menu

End-of-the-Year-Assignment-Menu

Multiple Intelligence Choice Board

Multiple Intelligence Choice Board

Students can also evaluate themselves or their classmates...

Multiple Intelligence Self-Analysis

Multiple Intelligence Self Analysis

End of the Year Superlatives: Most Likely To Succeed

End-of-the-Year Superlatives- Most Likely To Succeed

10. Finally, make sure you take time to enjoy your students and let them be creative. If you are reading a novel, or perhaps studying animals in science or a country in social studies, have them make clay models. My seventh grade class read The White Giraffe one year, and we fashioned animals out of modeling clay. It was so much fun!  And here's a tip...all those blank transparencies you no longer use that you may have tucked away in a closet or drawer gathering dust...use them as place mats on the student desks. They throw them away when they are done, and the desks stay much cleaner!



Another option is to have students create songs, raps, PowerPoints, art, games, etc. to review the year. One year, I provided lots of magazines and let them make collages about the book Where the Red Fern Grows, which we had read in class. The creativity was amazing! They enjoyed it, they were learning, and time flew by!




You can also discuss with your students what books they might enjoy over the summer. Here are some reading lists you can give them to help them make some choices. 

Summer Reading List Grade 4 - 6


Summer Reading List Grade 7 - 8



I hope I have helped you with ideas that will inspire you, so that you can enjoy these last few weeks of school with not stress! Don't forget, while your students are working on their engaging activities, pull out those early finishers to help you with end of the year organizing, decluttering, packing, etc. Then you will have a stress-free summer, too! 

Best wishes for success always, 
Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator










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