As we cruise into the final weeks of the school year, it can be easy to lose motivation for both the teachers and the students. After about nine months of being with the same group day after day inside a small classroom, you might be tempted to throw in the towel. Teachers think they have all seen the best their students can do up to this moment and students are ready to turn the page and begin summer break. However, now would be the perfect time to leave this school year on a high note instead by possibly changing things up a bit. Before you know it, you will actually be looking forward to beginning the next school year if you aren’t careful!
Create Brand New Lesson Plans for the Last Month
As teachers, we always have lesson plans that we would like to do but in the back of our minds, we aren’t sure how well they would go over in class. The last month of the school year is the perfect time to experiment and see what can happen. If things get a bit out of control or the students lose interest, it’s alright. There are only a few weeks left. One of my end of the year projects for young elementary students is having the kids create children’s books by using a presentation app or even a video app. It is asking a lot since many of their tech skills are not quite developed yet, but it is also a fun project that should be enjoyable and outside the norm.
Read a Book to the Students that You Have Always Wanted to Read
Perhaps there has been a book that you have always wanted to read to your class but have never gotten around to it. A book that is one of your favorites and you just know that your students would love it, too. Unfortunately, you have not been able to figure out how to tie it into a topic that is covered during the school year. The last couple of weeks is the perfect time to add it to the curriculum. Even if it does not tie into any other subjects, you can still find time to read it during the last two weeks to your class.
Have the Students Write Thank You Notes
Have you ever received a thank you note from a student? As a teacher with ten years under my belt, I have received a few and I have kept them all. It is nice to feel appreciated. Sometimes we wonder if we make a difference at all in their lives when we are having a tough day, so it is great to realize we are. Give the students an assignment where they are to write five thank you letters to five different people that have helped them during the school year. They may write them to their parents, other students, teachers, the school maintenance man, or whoever helped them get through the year. Hopefully, writing thank you notes will be a tradition they keep doing for the rest of their lives.
Have Fun with the Students
Many teachers swear by the rule that you should not smile at the students until near the end of the school year. This way they will be slightly scared of you and will listen more to what you have to say. However, I have never taught by this rule. I always think that if the students see you smiling and having a good time while you are teaching, they will reciprocate with the same as they are learning. During the last couple of weeks, take the time to have fun with the students. Let them see a bit of your silly side. Go to gym class with them and participate in what they are doing. Attend art class and let them see your own artistic side. Join their music lessons even if you cannot carry a tune in a bucket. This exact group of kids will only be together with you during this lifetime for another few short weeks. Leave them with a good impression of who you really are.
Use this Opportunity to Squash Any Hard Feelings
You probably have those one or two students that have bothered you for one reason or another during the school year. Maybe they just didn’t turn in their homework in time or didn’t put forth the required effort in class. Whatever the case, take this last month to squash any hard feelings that might still exist between you and everyone else from this school year. Everyone is going through their own trials and tribulations and sometimes we forget this. Take this last month to make friends because soon they will no longer be your responsibility.
If you need help thinking of creative things to do in the classroom during the last month of the school year, iAchieve has your back. We offer professional development for teachers on a variety of topics. Find which one jumps out at you and soon you’ll have a list of ideas to choose from.
Written by: Ryan Crawley