The end of the year always sneaks up on me. One moment it’s Christmas time - then all of a sudden daylight savings, warmer days and May and June emerge out of nowhere. I always tell myself - “This year will be different! I won’t get caught up and not see the end is near.” Yet, here we go again. It’s almost May and I don’t know where the time went.
Before we can take that much needed time to reflect, we need to survive the chaos that is the last few weeks of the school year. This time of year is full of planned and surprise interruptions. Ten teacher bloggers have taken the time to share their thoughts on how to make the end of the year more manageable for teachers.
This four part series will discuss:
- Week 1: End of the Year Classroom Management
- Week 2: Favourite End of the Year Lessons, Assignments and Units
- Week 3: Special End of the Year Activities For Students
- Week 4: End of the Year Teacher Reflections
What is your best classroom management advice for the end of the year?
1. Routines, routines and more routines. Do not change things up now. Students like to know things ahead of time- so post your week at a glance for them to see. I noticed that once I started posted a week at a glance for my students - they started to come more prepared for class and ready to learn. Also don’t forget that at any point in the year it is OK to get in touch with a student’s parents. The last few weeks are not exempt. Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog
2. Give the students time to reflect on what they've accomplished and learned this year. Have a couple of projects ready to go for this purpose and spread them out over the last few weeks so when they get too squirrelly you can get them back on track with a "fun" project that lets them show off their skills. Meghan from Fun Fresh Ideas
3. Keep the expectations high and the interest level higher! Pull out the most engaging projects and tap into the most controversial or exciting topics to keep them wanting to do and learn more! Michele from A Lesson Plan For Teachers
4. Try something new to keep them guessing so they won't tune you out! I like to introduce new ways to up the ante with my reward system like adding in a BINGO board. Lisa from Mrs Spangler in the Middle
5. It is important to keep students focused, but to build in some opportunities for fun. This is a great time to use review games, student choice, and hands-on projects to help with engagement. Tara from Science in the City
6. In order to keep students focused at the end of the school year, it's important to keep them engaged and busy. Even though we're all tired, I don't like to have a lot "down" time in my classroom. I also try to maintain regular routines through the last days. Kim from OC Beach Teacher
7. The end of the year can really seem to drag on, and students are a mix of hyper-tired-stressed-hyper. The best tip I have is to create space for them to both expend energy AND calm down (in case they're dreading exams, etc.). In my classroom, we start each day of the last couple weeks with a drama game to help get rid of the hyper. Then, we move into review (games, collaborative quizzes, Kahoot, etc.). The last ten minutes, however, we do free writing activities or colour as we listen to an audiobook or podcast. Planning around their energy level really helps keep students focused at the end of the year. Danielle from Teach Nouvelle
8. Try new, daring and edgy things! You might think it's the WORST TIME, but it's really the best. Do a breakout.edu. Try virtual environment gamified instruction (minecraft.edu), keep them engaged. Mary from Your Smarticles
9. The end of the year is an amazing time to loosen up and really bond with students before they leave your room (possibly forever!). I find that if I'm consistent with my expectations throughout the year, my students and I share a mutual respect, and I really don't have to do anything differently (other than maybe remind them that it's still not okay to go to the bathroom twice in one period.) At the end of the year, I love to have discussions, collaborative activities and even take students outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. These approaches seem to keep behaviour issues at bay. Melissa from The Reading and Writing Haven
10. Make things fun! Randi from 4 The Love of Math
Want more great end of the year tips and tricks? Check out our other blog posts.