Make the last month of school count; we have some far-out suggestions.
Not so long ago in a galaxy not-so far, far away, high-stakes testing ended, and your students crushed it. You’ve covered all of the standards for the year and even snuck in a few from the next grade level. Now what? There’s still a month of school left! How will you ensure that you end this school year on an engaging and meaningful way?
If You Luke Father Ahead, You’ll Be Ready: It’s very important to take care of yourself. As the end of the school year approaches (and it does quickly!), anxiety and tensions are through the roof. If you’re stressed out, your students will also feel and take on that stress too. Take some time for yourself to mediate, exercise, and/or reflect to minimize the stress.
Let Your Students Strike Back: Obviously, you can’t let your students walk out of the classroom and leave for good. However, you can empower them and give them more opportunities to lead in the classroom. Active learning is sure to keep your students highly engaged and motivated. Lecture has its place, but why not try out some different, riskier teaching methods? Try a few Kagan strategies that you were hesitant to employ in October. Take a stand, and switch things up with kinesthetic movements to group students. Instead of having students write down answers, give them the opportunity to build it or draw it.
The Force is Strong: Don’t forget that there’s plenty of material that you can still cover with your students. This might include remediation on certain topics or pre-teaching concepts they may encounter next year. Sure, the countdown to summer is coming up quickly, but your students will pick up on your attitude and mannerisms about the impending break. Focus on the exciting activities and lessons you and your students still get to do before the year is over.
Don’t Go to the Dark Side: I’m sure you remember being in school and watching movies in many of your classes until the year ended. That was certainly my experience once state testing was over during my K-12 student career. Is Star Wars really all that related to the parts of the body in anatomy? Maybe. However, use technology and virtual resources as allies in your teaching. I don’t mean just signing up for computer lab time or checking out the laptop cart until May 31. We’re working with 21st-century learners who need foundational skills in how to use technology for academic purposes. Do your students really know how to make an engaging PowerPoint presentation that isn’t just a bunch of words on a slide? Do your students include a polite salutation in their emails? What formulas can they use in Excel? Take it to the next step. Consider working with your students on coding platforms to create animations or mobile apps. They’re out there, and they’re free!
Regardless, celebrate the end of the year with your students. They’ve earned it, and you certainly have too!