You finally made it to state testing! Your kids are ready, or as ready as they are going to be, to spend an entire week or two showing the world everything you taught them this year. Everyone, including you, has worked so hard this year, and now that you have made it to the BIG state test, it is finally over....right? WRONG!
Yes, testing time is over, and there is a great feeling of relief, but the year is far from really being over. In fact, this may just be the toughest part of the year. If you are not prepared, these last few weeks of school can be brutal.
Here are a few important tips that are sure to help you survive until the last day of school.
Planning is my first tip because it is SO important! As teachers, we are programmed to plan out everything. However, this is the time of year where it is tempting to relax on your planning and "wing it". Having every lesson, activity, or project planned and ready to go is critical, even more than before, because this will prevent behavior issues. Students can sense when you are not ready, or if there is some unplanned time. While you are searching for materials, and deciding what you want to do next, your students are probably finding their own "activities" to participate in.
Another tempting thing to do at this point in the school year is to "stop learning". What!!?? Stop learning? Aren't we in school? Just because state testing is over, doesn't mean the learning is over. Of course WE know that, but the students have to know that too! If your students get the impression that they are done learning because they are done testing, you can expect to spend a majority of your time correcting behavior. If you keep the spirit of learning going, even after testing, your students will understand that your expectations for them haven't changed.
While planning and learning are so important to a successful end of year, so is change! You have probably spent your entire school year sticking with the same routine. It has been working great for you, but now is when your students need something different. Instead of having a structured reading block with lessons and small group instruction, try conducting a research project. Instead of having a structured math block, try playing some new math games or incorporate a real-world math project.
Here are a few things you can do to change up your routine at the end of the year while still keeping it educational. Click on each picture to learn more...
|This blog post gives an effective and organized |
way to do research projects with your students.
You can use this process with ANY topic.
|These math games are FUN and educational.|
They are available for all standards for
Grades 1-5. My students LOVE these!
Check out the FREE samples.
|These five partner plays are intended to be used |
as fluency-building activities that students
can do with a partner. They each contain an
|This is a fun, yet short end of the year|
writing activity that encourages
higher-level creative thinking!
|Here is a fun FREEBIE that allows your |
students to choose their own task!
|Here are a variety of word problems|
that will keep your students' brains
sharp until the last day!
|This is a week's worth of fun learning activities, |
perfect for the end of year!
|A week's worth of FUN educational activities!|
Throughout my years of teaching, I have learned the power of being positive. You will always get a much better response from your students when using positive reinforcement versus negative reinforcement. This is even more true at the end of the school year. For example, while my students are working in research groups, it is very easy for things to get out of control. I make a point of walking around the room, and complimenting groups that are working well together. Once I start pointing out the positive things that I see, all of my groups are trying to do the same. I use this behavior management strategy for EVERYTHING, and it works EVERY TIME!
Please feel free to share your favorite tip for making it to the last day of school without losing it.
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