Surviving the Last Days of School
Grades are finished, but students still are in school. What can teachers do to keep everyone from going crazy? Fun, ungraded projects can be the answer.
As the waning days, hours, minutes countdown till the end of the school term and the beginning of summer vacation, students and teachers face class times of boredom and discipline issues. Students are bored; teachers are tired. This combination is a recipe for disaster in these remaining days of school. What can be done that doesn’t have to be graded, engages students so they remain interested in what is happening in class, and frees up the teacher who is trying to close out grades and finish end-of-school chores? What happening when I don't need a tutor to do my homework for me?
Research Projects for Fun and Education
One idea is a fun research project. Students can choose to work (and talk) with their friends about a project that won’t be graded. Students need access to computers and library research resources. Research projects should have specific parameters. Students should be allowed to choose the topic within the stated parameters. The final product could be a 3D representation of the topic with a brief presentation.
Topics for the project could be ancient history, world cultures, sports, physical fitness, math heroes, literary giants, scientists, mythology, wonders of the world, places to visit, or tie-ins to the subject matter presented during the school year. Some more ideas can be found at International Reading Association: End the School Year on a High Note
Create New Directions to a Familiar Game
Students should choose a familiar game and write new directions for the game. They could create a new game board or game pieces. They may provide new rules to a sport. Once the new game directions are completed, the groups can present their new games and participate in a game day to try out the new games.
The popularity of forensic crime shows could be a springboard for a new kind of mystery game. Teachers can work together to create a scavenger hunt through the library to discover clues to solve the mystery.
Create a New Country
The study of cultural geography is the impetus of this fun project. Students design the map and geography of their country. They decide on the religion, language, and past times of their country. Students would also determine the trade and resources available within their country. Sports, education, and cultural opportunities could also be included in the project. The presentation could be by map, artifact, or technology.
In the same vein, students can explore the cultures of other countries by reading folklore and fairy tales. A good project can also be to compare and contrast stories from different continents. Another idea would be to write fairy tales or tall tales in the tradition of the same countries.
Create Arts and Crafts Projects for Fun and Community Service
Markers and paper can be lifesavers on these last days of school. Cards can be made for residents of an assisted living community. Thank you notes would be appropriate for favorite teachers or parents. A new skill, like beading bracelets or simple yarn crafts, could be fun for both teacher and student. Murals, movie posters for a favorite book, maps of the community, or autograph/sketch booklets would be a great time engaging activities as well.
Create Portfolio and Class Evaluations
Students and teachers can both benefit by asking students to evaluate their work, their teachers, and their learning during the school year. Writing portfolio evaluation is a good assignment in a language arts class for students to review and observe their own learning during the year. In addition, these students can give teachers an evaluation of the types of help writing essays they most enjoyed and found valuable. Other teachers may find class evaluations valuable in other ways.
The final days of school are memorable for both students and teachers. Planning fun experiences for those days helps everyone close the year without boredom for students and frustration and grief for teachers. Other ideas can be found on other Internet sites including Scholastic's Top 5 Winning Ideas for Wrapping up the Year. The best experiences are often the ones that happen when students have a genuine interest in fun results.
Additional elementary school ideas are available at Last Day of School Ideas for Activities.
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Written by David Monk, Topic Editor - Education, at EHOT COM.