Spring break has probably either come and gone for you, or it is ending this week. Insert tears, screams and large glasses of wine here.
The stretch of school between spring break and the end of the year can be BRUTAL. There are little to no days off, warmer weather which means antsy kids, and still SO much to do. Keeping kids engaged gets harder because (1) they know the end is coming and they've started to mentally check out and (2) you know the end is coming and your eagerness to spend every free moment planning and creating amazing lessons is dwindling. Ok, so maybe you haven't ever wanted to spend every free moment planning, but you get my drift.
Here are some tips to help get your students (and yourself) through these last few weeks.
- Movies. If your school allows movies, play the doggone movies. Of course, make sure they relate to your content... you can find a movie that goes with ANY topic. Play it in sections and stop to ask questions. The students will appreciate the break. Erin uses movies - and you should too!
- Get more hands on. Even if you haven't been an INB fan or taken the time to really push foldables in your classroom... this may be a good time to try. Interactive activities keep students more engaged because they require cutting, coloring, glueing and creativity... more than basic worksheets. Mel & Gerdy have an End of Year Interactive Notebook Activities resource that works for ANY (yep) subject.
- Projects, projects, projects. Give your students assignments that span a few days. It's great for them to work on something that comes together over a period of time - plus projects provide great opportunities for collaboration. Students can explore a topic on their own and then work together (or alone) to demonstrate their understanding or complete a task.
- Choice boards. Give your students choices as the year is coming to an end. They've been required to show understanding in ways you've chosen (graphically, written, using technology, worksheets, etc.) so why not give them the choice. You don't have to use something formal - just provide them with a few different options for demonstrating their understanding of a specific topic or skill. I personally LOVE choice boards because students have a little bit more excitement about what they are doing since they were able to pick what to do.
- Plan as many outdoor activities as possible. Kids are wiggly and distracted in the room. Outside they are often more focused. Consider taking them out for a few minutes just to review notes or complete activities using clipboard.
- Just enjoy your students. They'll be moving on soon so try to carve out a little time to do something enjoyable with them. Take the last 5-10 minutes of class one day a week to just let go and take a break. Play a quick game together or just chat!
- Have them write letters to future students about your class. These are SO funny to read! I have a template for the letter in my EOY Activities resource.
- Put them to work! Getting your room organized at the end of the year can be (and often is) a nightmare. Give the students small tasks (especially if they are early finishers) such as labeling bins, counting supplies, etc. They'll feel needed and be on task and your end of year clean up list will get shorter and shorter!
- Testing is over - so just stop teaching ok? Seriously - read Erin's post about it!