I haven’t really blogged too much about teaching yet, other than what it was like returning to my classroom after my maternity leave. But today, I am sharing a few ideas that will help me get through this last week of school.
This time of year, teachers are in limbo between needing to stay structured enough to get meaningful results on end of the year assessments, but not having a great deal of structured content and curriculum left to teach. I always struggle at this time of year with a break in the routine. Routine is key in my classroom, and I stress out at the thought of unstructured free time. So I desperately need activities to do at the end of year are not too serious, yet will keep students on task and somewhat in their normal routine. So here are some things I have either tried in the past, or am trying for the first time this year. If you are a teacher that is lucky enough to be done already, I’m extremely jealous of you. So just commiserate with me, and maybe some of these ideas can help you next year!
- Memory Book. I save some of the beginning of the year ‘get to know you’ activities that we do, so students can include them in this book. They think its fun to look back and read what they put then, and how they have changed. I also give them a survey of some of their favorites from the year to include (favorite school lunch, favorite thing to play at recess, favorite book they read, etc). Since I have 1:1 iPads, my students put all of this together in an iBook they can save on their student website and have a virtual keepsake forever.
- Battle of the Books. I did this a few years ago and had so much fun with it! I set up a March Madness type of bracket with all of the books we read over the year. Small groups of students were responsible for choosing which book would in each head-to-head match up, and had to explain why. Then as we got down to the final few match-ups we did class votes to decide on our all-time favorite read aloud for that year.
- Book Talk. My class is working on this project right now and we are really enjoying it! My students have picked their favorite book from our classroom library, and are using the app Explain Everything to make a video that has a picture they drew of their favorite scene from that book, and whey they loved the book so much. We are making QR codes for these videos, and will be taping them on the books themselves, so next year’s 4th graders can hear book reviews while they are browsing in the classroom library.
- Farkle. In my family we call this game Ten Thousand. It is a game with 6 dice, where you roll them and score certain points depending on what you roll. It’s really good for helping students with strategy, number sense, and mental math. In fact, I am considering teaching them to play earlier in the year next year! This website explains the rules in depth, and has a printable scoring sheet.
- Read in the Sun: This is one of my favorite activities that I started doing this year. We plan a day to go outside, and read in the grassy field at our school. Students bring blankets to lay down, snack and drinks if they would like, and we all enjoy a day of relaxing and reading! They love it!
Hopefully these activities help you get through your last few days of school when you still need structure, yet don’t have much left to teach. I would love to hear other suggestions in the comments as well!