There are pros and cons to the end of the school year.
Teachers find themselves swamped with all the tasks related to closing out their classrooms including packing and organizing, assessing students and 8,365,239 other things that make an already long "to do" list more like a to do scroll.
You'll find your schedule changes as a result of field trips, field days, assemblies and other special programs. You'll notice student behaviors begin to change as the normal procedures and routines start to fade even a little bit.
The good news though is that the final weeks of school are the time when your students are the most capable they have been all year. They possess all the new skills you worked so hard to teach them. What better way to make the most of the final days together, keep them engaged and motivated and allow them to showcase their abilities than by completing independent projects.
Projects allow students to explore their own interests.It is no secret that education has become much more standardized. Mandates often mean you are required to teach specific topics. Giving the students the ability to choose an animal or a historical figure of interest to them will let them tap into the things they want to learn more about.
Projects enable children to display their knowledge in creative ways.My favorite end of the year activity is letting the students create games to review concepts taught throughout the year. It is a wonderful way to assess their knowledge and abilities. After making the games we designate time for them to teach their peers and enjoy playing together. Projects are more open-ended than traditional classroom activities which will allow the students to truly showcase their talents.
Projects may encourage summer learning.The year my son was in third grade, my partner (his teacher) and I ended the year with a mystery unit. The students worked in groups to read and discuss mystery books and worked collaboratively to solve the cases. They were then given the opportunity to write their own mysteries and make dioramas depicting their stories. My son then spent the summer reading through many mystery series and continuing to write his own as well. I've had many parents report to me that their children took it upon themselves to continue to research animals and create their own projects throughout the months of June and July.
No matter how you decide to wrap up your school year, I do hope you will take the time to reflect and appreciate the result of the hard work you've put into your students. They've been lucky to have you as their teacher.
You may be interested in these resources to make projects easier for you.
You may also find these blog posts helpful for a stress-free end to the school year.
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