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Teachers, the last quarter of the school year is the hardest. You’re exhausted, and so are the students. The weather is warming up, and everyone has cabin fever. It’s the time of year when the administrators, teachers, and students are ready for the last ten weeks to be over. Don’t fret! Here are some tips for surviving the end of the school year.
School calendars end in May or June. Children attend classes at least 40 weeks per year. In some places it is more; however, by week #30 educators are working hard to make sure teaching and learning continue. Not to mention, many districts complete annual standardized testing in March or April. Frequently, school-wide testing leaves students and educators anxious and on edge. Usually, stress levels increase as the year comes to an end.
Testing is over! So, let’s talk about tips to help you survive the end of the year. First teaching and learning don’t stop in April. Then, think of this as a time to try new and exciting activities. Teaching and learning can continue to happen in your school or classroom.
First, try project-based learning (PBL) activities. According to the Buck Institute for Education, PBL is students work on a project over an extended period – from a week up to a semester – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question.
PBL gives students the opportunity to complete a presentation or develop a product. Project-based learning also allows the student to develop a deeper understanding, research new ideas, and real-life practice skills. More importantly, students have opportunities to share thoughts by collaborating and engaging in student-to-student discourse. Most of all, PBL offers students the chance to take responsibility for their learning. A great resource for information on project-based learning is Edutopia.
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Second, students can engage in experiential learning. It is learning through experience and reflecting. Experiential learning model was introduced in the 1980’s by David Kolb. The experiential cycle consists of four areas:
Concrete Experience – Doing/having an experience
Reflective Observation – Reviewing and reflecting
Abstract Conceptualization – Concluding and learning from the experience
Active Experimentation – Planning and trying out what you learned.
Experiential learning is great for all learning styles. It is hands-on and minds on. Also, it uses real-life possibilities. Examples include building a better backpack or build a structure using recycled materials. Experiential learning can consist of going to the zoo, observing the animals or operations, and then figuring out how to improve the animals’ living conditions.
Again, students have an opportunity to take responsibility for their learning and develop a deeper understanding.
Third, allow students to create an “I Wonder” journal. It is a notebook of the students’ musings or wondering. The children can write down ideas, topics, or items they want to know more. Then the students can work independently to research more about their musings. The teacher gives the students a choice of completing a research project, presentation, video, etc. An “I Wonder” journal is excellent to spur children’s learning and increase engagement. Furthermore, this activity is a unique way for a teacher to gauge their students’ interests and meet their learning styles.
The end of the school year is also a great time to continue practices like mindfulness, breathing techniques, and yoga. Play classical or soothing music during class time. Allow students to be creative, so use music and art as calming tools. If the weather permits, take you, students, outside to explore nature, plant gardens, or learn about insects. While outside, students can draw still life objects or play games that involve planning and teamwork. Teachers, it’s a beautiful time to explore creativity.
Lastly, the last few weeks of school is a time to begin planning for the next year. By this time of year administrators and teachers know what works well and what needs improvement. It’s also a great time to do a needs assessment for the upcoming year. Don’t forget to survey students for their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. They are a wealth of information and a good source of new possibilities. As you know, children have no problem voicing their opinions. Therefore, fill free to dialogue with them about what they want to learn, what they like or don’t like.
Surviving the end of the school year is doable. You do not have to lose your mind or patience. Try these tips, so you and your students have positive experiences and segway to the summer vacation.This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the link, a small commission
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link, a small commission maybe paid.
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