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The end of the school year is an exciting time for students and teachers. The lure of lazy days at the pool, staying up late and sleeping in can lead everyone in the building into a frenzy. I find that the last week of school can be the toughest to endure. The students have checked out, and let's be honest....the teachers often have checked out as well! Putting together an end of year survival kit can be the key to keeping your sanity and may just help you keep a lid on things until that last dismissal bell rings!
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Surviving the End of the Year
The hardest part of that last week or so of school is that you often already have grades completed, and then it becomes a challenge to find meaningful work for your students to tackle. This is where your end of year survival kit comes in handy. Putting together a collection of activities and lessons that you can use during those last few weeks of school will be a life saver. Here are some ideas of what to include in your kit:
- Prepare a list of videos: Depending on what units you have covered recently, gather a list of videos that you can rely on in a pinch and have them on hand during that last week or two. The Bill Nye science videos are always a hit, even if it is a subject you have not covered. The students enjoy watching them and they may even learn a thing or two. They include easy experiments that you can try as a class.
- Reader's Theater: Pick a few reader's theater plays that you can use with your class. Divide them into a few groups and let them work on simple props and give them plenty of time to practice. Send out word that you have plays to share with other classes and watch the RSVP's roll in. Other classes are always looking for fun things to do at the end of the year, so you'll also be helping out your fellow teachers! Classes can either all gather in one location to watch all of the plays, or you can divide and conquer. Assign your groups to different classes, spread out, and visit classrooms to share your performances.
- Math Games: Keep a collection of math games that you can pull out when you need a little filler and your class needs some down time. They can be whole group games like Around the World or a math bingo game, or small group games where students can choose their own game.
- Poetry: Put together an end of the year poetry book with the students. Introduce or review some of the types of poems, and have them write poems that reflect on the school year or look forward to what summer will bring. Bind the poems together in a book for them to take home on the last day of school.
- Plan a Party: Plan a board game day where students can bring a board game to school and everyone can group up and play games for the afternoon. I recently did this with a rather rambunctious group and they did an amazing job of getting together and playing their games. You could have a pj party and watch a movie. Or, do a read in and let the students bring a blanket from home to spread out on the floor and read.
- End of School Year Memories Book: Give your students a memory book to work on as the last week moves on. It is something they can pull out and work on when they have some down time.
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You want to end the school year on a high note, and providing your students with some fun, yet educational activities is the way to go. Planning ahead is the key, and then you and your students can walk out on the last day of school knowing you had a successful year and ended it in a way that they will remember for a long time.