What do you do with your class during the last month of school? Movies, treats, and games? We all wish! Even though you may feel “done” with the school year, there are still so many positive ways to use your time in a way that your students are still learning and everybody is still engaged and excited. Check out my 5 tips for teaching at the end of the year.
What Can You Do?
- Incorporate all the fun projects you didn’t have time to get to during your units!
- Add more centers to your class periods
- Let your students be involved in creating and planning lessons/activities
- Spend some time reviewing concepts that weren’t mastered
- Preview content for next year
There are so many projects that I’ve wanted to do within my teaching units. Most of the time we felt so rushed to get through all of the standards by the time state testing came around that we didn’t get to do them. Now’s the time! Just because the teaching unit is over doesn’t mean you can’t do the projects.
Here are my favorite projects to do assign during my units or after testing. They’re all very hands-on, creative, and engaging!
- Volumeville (Volume)
- Quadrilateral Design Project (Geometry)
- Coordinate Code (Coordinate Grids)
- iPhone Project (Multiplying Mixed Numbers)
A great way to maximize time (while also causing it to fly by) is to plan centers for your class time at the end of the year. In math, if you have an hour, you can plan for four 15 minute centers, three 20 minute centers, or two 30 minute centers. Your kids will get to move around frequently and engage in various activities during the block, which will keep them on their toes. This is vital at the end of the year when their stamina starts to dwindle.
Centers you can have them work on:
- flashcards (review those basic skills like multiplication and division facts)
- online games/practice (Quizizz, Kahoot, Prodigy, other apps)
- teacher-led practice/intervention/extension (check in with students who may need a little extra help or an academic push – use data from the year)
- hands-on games (I have always had a tub of laminated math games that students learn to use throughout the year and can play when there’s extra time)
- partner activities (Task Tents™ are great for getting kids up, moving, working with a friend, and reviewing)
One of my favorite things to do is have students create activities. This can be very simple. Each student creates a problem and will either write it on an index card or use a dry erase marker to write it on their desk. Each of them is essentially creating a task card and when every student has created their problem, they take a lined piece of paper to use as a recording sheet and go around the room to solve all of the problems.
The kids get really excited to solve each other’s “task card” and also love having others solve their own. They have to have an answer key and turn it in so I can create a master answer key to check student work. If you feel comfortable, you can also have each student check the answer to their problem on the other students’ recording sheets.
It doesn’t hurt to review all the skills taught during the year, or even go back and focus on skills that weren’t mastered as well as others (ahem, dividing decimals!). Decimal and fraction operations are usually the most challenging throughout the year, so it’s great to go back and review these.
You can also use test prep resources/mixed reviews to do this so that you can gauge which skills need the most attention.
Kids LOVE previewing the skills that they’re going to learn next year, especially when you introduce them to some of the less difficult standards in the next grade level.
In 5th grade, I love to preview 6th grade algebra skills, like solving for an unknown variable. They LOVE solving for x. I also like to introduce positive and negative numbers. This creates a great segway into 4 quadrant coordinate grids as well!