Buckle up, educators! The school year is coming to a close. It’s that magical time when the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the students are…well, let’s just say they are energized to see summer on the horizon. As a teacher, it can feel like you’re trying to herd cats when the end-of-year excitement kicks in. But fear not! We have some tried-and-true tips (or reminders) to keep your classroom running smoothly.
1. Give Yourself Grace
First and foremost, don’t be too hard on yourself! Give yourself the grace to ease up on the curriculum. The main learning has already taken place. You did an amazing job covering the materials and helping students grow academically! Take the last few weeks to enjoy your class. Create an environment where they have time to connect with their peers and move into the summer with satisfaction.
2. Consistency is Key
At the end-of-the-year it is important to maintain consistency with your expectations and classroom rules. It can be tempting to become more lax, but doing so can lead to confusion and disruptive actions. Make sure to reinforce the positive behaviors and remind students of the consequences when not adhering to expectations.
3. Increase Engagement
Students are more likely to act out when bored or disengaged, so keep them active and involved in the classroom. This can be achieved through a variety of activities such as group work, hands-on projects, and interactive lessons. Slides Mania provides great free choice board templates!
4. Offer Rewards
Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a little recognition or some shiny trinkets to show off? Set up a reward system that appeals to your students and gets them excited to behave like model citizens, or at least somewhat tolerable ones. You can even have them determine a class reward (small party, free time outside, sit where you want day, games etc.) if they work together to maintain the classroom rules. Bored Teachers shares this great list to help you brainstorm ideas! If all else fails…CANDY!
Remember you are developing future leaders! Your students are feeling like hotshots as they move into the next grade level. Give them a sense of ownership and responsibility. Let them take charge of some simple daily tasks so they feel like a productive member of the classroom community. When they have an invested role they will be more likely to behave appropriately. So, sit back and watch your students take on tasks such as passing out papers, delivering items around the school, sharpening pencils, helping peers, or organizing the classroom library. Teachers Love Lists offers this list of quick jobs for students!
6. Celebrate Achievements
Find moments each day to celebrate the achievements of students as the school year comes to a close. This can include recognizing academic accomplishments and character traits. The process will foster a positive and supportive classroom environment, and can provide motivation for students to continue to do their best. Canva offers many free certificate templates that are easy to use!
Take time to reflect on the school year with students. They love to share memories! Teaching Expertise has some easy-to-implement reflection activities! Here are two other activities to give a try.
- Memory Jar: During the next few weeks, students write down memories from the school year and place them into a jar. On one of the last days of school, take some time as a class to read through all of the notes and reflect on the many things they have to be thankful for. You can turn it into a fun game and ask students to guess who wrote each note based on the handwriting or content.
- Gratitude Circle: Meet as a whole group to take turns sharing something each student is grateful for about the school year. As they talk, compile a list to hang on the wall to reflect upon. Seeing this list will incite feelings of warmth, belonging, and accomplishment.
The end of the school year can be a challenging and exciting time for educators and students alike. With the right strategies in place, teachers can help keep their students focused and on track until the very last day. By implementing the tips and reminders provided, teachers can ensure students continue to learn and grow. Enjoy the time you have left with the children you worked so hard to help grow academically and socially this year.