The end of the school year can be an emotional time for teachers, students, and administrators. All parties are tired, but hopefully satisfied with the progress made during the past nine months. While it would be easy to coast through the last few weeks of instruction, it is best for all to push through and to finish out strong. Every day counts. Every day is another opportunity to to engage, connect, and inspire.
Here are 5 ways to finish out the school year strong.
- Go for project-based learning
There is nothing worse than coasting through the final weeks of the school year, handing out worksheets, playing movies, and having a lot of self-directed computer time. Yes, you know what I’m talking about. A better option would be challenge students with different project-based learning opportunities that allow them to connect with real world problems. Give them the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and create solutions to issues that they care about. Having them work together gets you off the stage and into more of a coaching role.
- Have students complete portfolios
Giving students the chance to create digital portfolios of the work from the past year will allow them see their progress and reflect upon their learning. It will also give teachers and administrators the chance to see this progress as well. These portfolios can be transferred through the grade levels, year after year, becoming a scrapbook of academic accomplishments and memories for students.
- Go On Digital Field Trips
Most school field trips take place before the final few weeks of the school year. Take advantage of the opportunity to go deeper and show your students a different side of what they were studying during the year. For 5th graders studying the American Revolution, consider having them learn more about Paul Revere’s ride by talking with an expert in Boston through video conferencing. Many organizations will connect experts with schools who will them show students pictures and video from the actual locations of historical events.
- Create Content Trailers for Students in the Grade Below
There are so many great apps for making digital lives and trailers. Consider having current students create content trailers for students who are in the grade below them. This activity can serve as a summation assessment and well as get younger students excited about the next school year. These trailers can be shared via YouTube or through a schools website easily. These trailers could also serve as a showcasing tool to demonstrate to the community the level of rigor, accountability, and innovation that is present at their neighborhood schools.
- Give Students the Chance to be Teachers
Research clearly indicates that students retain information at high levels when they teach content to their peers. Giving students the opportunity to design lessons to teach to their peers is not only a fun activity, but a way for students to continue their learning through the last days of the school year. Furthermore, students will love learning from their peers for a change. Remember, they have spent the last nine months listening to their teacher(s). It might be a great time to turn the teaching over to students.
Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.principalsdesk.org.