By Teachers, For Teachers
It’s nearing the end of the school year and students have spring fever! They are getting pretty antsy, and the only thing that they are focused on is when summer vacation is going to be here.
But for some students, that’s not for about another two more months! While it’s perfectly natural for kids to lose focus (let’s face it, so do we) we still have to reel them in until the school year is over.
Here are a few classroom activities to wrap up the school year, reflect on their growth, and celebrate all they have accomplished.
It can be very challenging to keep students’ attention at the end of the school year. The best way to keep students engaged and excited to learn is to give them hands-on learning. Incorporate art, music, and food into your lessons. Take them outdoors to see, smell, and feel nature. Conduct science experiments, challenge them to cook or bake their favorite treat, or teach them how to do yoga. It’s the end of the year, make classroom activities fun!
Field trips are a great way to connect what you are learning in school with the outside world. For instance, if you taught students about banking, then you can dig a little deeper into that topic and take students on a field trip to your local bank where they can meet a bank teller, and see how a bank actually functions. Springtime is also a great time to get outdoors. You can schedule a field trip to your local farm, amusement park, farmer’s market, waterpark, local outdoor monument, or zoo. Field trips are always a great way to keep students engaged and learning at the end of the school year.
It’s been a long school year, and your students have learned and accomplished a lot. A great way to reflect on what they have learned is to create an end-of-the-school-year classroom book. Each student comes up with one thing that they learned that has really stuck with them. Then they must write about it, and draw an illustration to go with it. Once they have completed their page for the book the teacher then puts all of the pages together, and makes enough copies so that each student has her own copy of the book. It’s a fun and creative project where all students get a chance to reflect on not only what has resonated with them, but also what has resonated with their classmates as well.
A fun end-of-year assignment is to have students write a letter to an incoming student telling them what they should expect in the next school year. This letter of facts and advice is a great way for students to practice their grammar and conventions, and not to mention it gives you, the teacher, an idea of what they thought of you and the school year. Students can include memories, favorite projects, advice, things they should and shouldn’t do in the class, what the teacher is like, and so on. They can publish their piece anyway that they like -- typed, written in ink on special stationary, whatever represents them and makes it unique.
Who doesn’t love a party? A great way to motivate students and get them to keep working up until the last day of school is to plan an extravagant end-of-year celebration. Get them invested in this celebration by having them help you plan it. Each student is in charge of something, whether it’s party supplies, food, decorations, etc. One person can plan the games for the party, while another can be in charge of the refreshments. The party can include a recap of what they have learned all year long by having a fun, friendly competition. It’s important to celebrate the educational journey that students have taken all year long so it’s essential that you take the time and do it right.
That’s a wrap. Despite all of the end-of-year chaos, it’s important to keep students focused until the very end. The best way that you can do this is by creating fun, hands-on activities that keep students engaged. Remember, one of the most significant things that you can teach your students is to finish what they have started. So, when you see them slacking off at the end of the school year, remind them that it’s almost over and they will be so proud of themselves for having completed yet another school year.
How do you keep your students motivated right until the end of the school year? Do you have any tips or activities that you would like to share? Please share your ideas below in the comment section, we love to hear them.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.