When the school year begins, we find ourselves saying, “Before long, it will be Christmas.” Once the holidays roll around, “Before you know it, we will be out of school.” As a child, I remember feeling like time moved so slowly as if it stood still. I wonder if children feel the gale speed winds of change that adults do. This year, I told my fifth graders that we had urgent business as the school year was going to fly by. I assured them that there was so little time to learn so much. They looked at me like I was crazy (this is normal, I’m a little on the crazy side). Today, I reminded them of our conversation and told them that they were finally ready for middle school.
One of the number one complaints as educators is that we do not have enough time. I agree. What can we do to successfully send our students off to summer vacation?
I WONDER….. – If you haven’t already, inspire your students to create a list of “I Wonder,” statements to explore over the summer. Create a common hashtag so that everyone can communicate their findings over break. Igniting a sense of wonder and curiosity among students can kindle a motivation for learning like no other. Share the website Wonderopolis with students to learn about the wonders of others.
STEM STEM STEM – Again, this shouldn’t be held just for the end of the year, but some haven’t quite gotten comfortable with project based learning. There are no excuses now. The video streaming is cut off for testing, and you have got to harness the energy of these little humans in your classroom before they eat you. As a regular classroom teacher, I used to have a robotics week where students teamed up to create robots for particular tasks. They loved it and willingly wrote, drew diagrams, and presented on their robots. If that isn’t your cup of tea, try out the site Little Bins for Little Hands. They have great ideas to help you get started.
Get Outside – Great teachers do this all year long, but if you haven’t had the chance…..remember that a classroom is where the learning is happening. It can be outside too! Brainstorm ways to break down the barriers into the great wide open. If anything, just go out to read. A yearly ritual of ours was to read a novel outdoors. I ended the year with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. We had several copies so everyone could read along. This magical book had us all captivated as the China rabbit, Edward, journeyed through good times and bad. We always had tears flowing…… Connecting with the love of literature while in nature is something that students can do over break too. Help them learn to treasure the outdoors and good books.
Children are World Changers – After the hustle and bustle of testing, we all need a little motivation…even children. We always ended the year with a classroom program. In the beginning, I scripted it all. As a seasoned teacher, I handed the reigns over to students. They wrote their own parts. The only part I dictated was the music. They sang Lean on Me (Bill Withers) and Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson) complete with solos, duets, and trios……with a microphone. This program afforded them a grand sense of pride, empowerment, accomplishment……and the mamas cried (we all know the true measure of success).
Time, you still have a pinch of it. The finale is here.
What are you going to teach to the last bell?
How can you implement more projects like these throughout the school year?
How do you want your classroom to be remembered once they leave you?