to Plan for a Successful End to Your School Year
The month of June is probably the most difficult
month for teachers and students. Everyone senses it is time
to wind down, to end the relationships that have been forged,
and get ready to move on. This increases everyone's stress level.
June is a good time to begin to pull things together for yourself
and your students. By this time in the school year my students
were able to work well independently and felt confident in their
abilities. I would work with them to develop projects that would
sustain their interest for the next few weeks. These projects
would enable them to consolidate their learnings into a final
piece. Here are some suggestions:
- An illustrated memoir of their school year with its ups
and downs, special events, special relationships;
- A math project which would involve collecting data about
the children in the class, organizing the data into graphs
and writing interpretations of the graphs;
- A non-fiction book with illustrations, charts, and diagrams
based on a science or social studies topic studied in class;
- An illustrated work of fiction.
Group projects can be a good way to help solidify relationships
in the classroom. They can also be successful with students
who are not able to work independently for long periods of time,
who cannot sustain their interest in a project, or who lack
confidence. Some suggestions include preparing one of the following:
- Author's Day Celebration;
- A 20-minute performance for other classes;
- A puppet show for peers or a younger grade;
- A poetry recital;
- A musical presentation;
- Adapting a favorite story into a presentation.
A fun way to end the school year is to go on class trips. This
is a good time to take some of those neighborhood walks you
didn't have time for in September or October. You can tie these
trips into your social studies themes. Visit the post office,
the library, the firehouse, and the police precinct. (Just make
sure to make arrangements beforehand.) After these walking trips
you can have your students map out the walk, or write about
the most exciting things that happened. You might want to use
this as an opportunity to teach students to include dialog in
their writing. Conduct a few shared writing lessons (See How
To Use Shared Writing to Teach Writing Skills)
after these walks and include things the children actually said
on the walk to make it more interesting and exciting. Ask the
children to do the same in their own writing.
Two of my favorite end of June trips were a class picnic complete
with potato races, and a trip to the ice cream shop with a stop
under the sprinklers (clothes and shoes on, please). Be sure
parents and students know to wear the appropriate clothing.
Planning some end of year activities in advance will help keep
everyone going and will give you and your students an opportunity
to reflect on how everyone has grown academically and socially
in the past ten months.
I hope these suggestions are helpful to you in planning the
end of your school year.