What’s the best way to manage the end of year craziness that always ensues just before any school break but especially prior to summer? I’ve asked around and this is what teachers told me. I’ve broken the responses down by grade level.
K – 5:
I make sure to schedule time with friends or family towards the end of the year! So, then I don’t stay at school all night and I get a break to breathe and relax! -The Friendly Teacher!
I deal with the end of school craziness by moving the learning outdoors as much as possible. Read and write outside, paint and draw with chalk outside, mix up some bubble solution and construct bubble blowers. The outside atmosphere is much more calming than a hot classroom filling up with boxes! Retta from Rainbow City Learning.
lots of fun end of the year activities…we write advice booklets to share with the upcoming grade 2’s (freezie party outside afterward)…end of the year booklets to keep…we build a Lego representation of our community…we write end of the year letters to the teacher(which she saves and treasures)…we create murals of our year together to decorate our classroom as I start to put things away…we spend more time outside(reading and playing)…So much fun:) Kim Finkle
In Science/LA We are doing an animal research project to go with our Animal Life Cycles unit and displaying it as a Lap Book. We are also doing Reader’s Theatre performances, In Social we are doing a Videolicious project with regards to Global Citizenship, in Math we are playing all sorts of games to review the year’s units as well as doing lots of Mathletics on the iPads. My students love doing Kahoots as well so we are doing a bunch of them in LA, Math and Science! Still lots of review going on with engaged students!
I mostly drink a lot ?
When I taught k, we played a lot of board games on small groups. We also played outside a lot. I had a collapsible wagon and filled it with outdoor centres (sidewalk chalk, bubbles, skipping ropes, ring toss, sand toys, balls, musical instruments) and we’d go outside in the afternoons.
We celebrated everyone’s birthday we ate fruit salad made by the class, cupcakes and lemonade and played party games
We had “beach day” actually water day. Water guns, a slip and slide, and Popsicles. This was also when we celebrated the kids who had done their reading homework each night for the last month of school..the kids threw the water balloons with dye in them at me! it was a blast.
We finished reading because of Winn Dixie and then watched the movie.
We had our final read~in the kids brought their sleeping bags and pillows and we read on one of our half days of school. – Tracy B
I deal with end-of-the-year craziness by reminding myself that even though I’m exhausted right now, I will soon be able to catch up on much-needed sleep! I’ve been teaching for twelve years, and it DOES get easier with time. I love prepping for a fresh school year, and I know that as soon as the current year wraps up, I can start planning my new decor! ~ Nicole Chatz, Primary Teaching Resources
Wow end of the year crazy I am dealing with variety shows and kids missing class to perform or attend, Father’s Day art activities, track and field meet, last minute “fire drills and lockdowns”, creating grade 3 comments, creating grade 4 comments, meetings to plan end of the year party, meetings to look at next year activities, panic about room allocation and packing to relocate, and just plain stress of the kids checking “out” for summer mode! For my end of the year crazy I really have learned to bite my tongue and roll with it, plus a good gym work out! signed extremely tired grade 3/4 teacher
6 – 8:
1) I teach in a 4-6 congregated LD school.
2)I finish the year off with a big science project. The kids create projects that demonstrate outcomes learned that year. Popular ones in grade 4 are building cars, plant experiments, and repurposing old items. They are engaged, learning, and best of all reviewing concepts! – Nicole K
To deal with the end of the year craziness, I review concepts we were not exactly proficient in or that I feel we could do much better if given time instead of rushing through a timeline given by the district. I make up games, activities and really doll it up in a relaxed atmosphere. Kids love it and pick up on the concept because there is no grade so there is no pressure.
I’m always looking for fun concrete activities to explain the solar system, stars, planets, sun, celestial objects, galaxies, black holes; rocks, minerals, earth’s make up, atmospheres, lithosphere, geological time line, erosion, deposition, weathering. – Jenn Stewart
Restock my chocolate and candy stash often (and no the kids don’t get any!)
Grade 4-lots of project based learning. We are currently doing genius hour passion projects and designing a homestead in social. For math I had them redesign the classroom, they had to map it, and together discuss why they wanted it rearranged (or not) and then they did all the redesign…was a ton of fun!
In music…A LOT of movement and singing games…and as many as I can do outside.
~ one exhausted teacher mom!
I deal with end of year craziness by letting go. I set the deadline for old work the Friday before the last day. I try and finalize my grades as soon after that as possible. I teach my students games like yatzee and rummy or spoons the last few days. I make them put away electronics and talk with their friends…in case they might not see each other of the summer. I focus on cleaning and organizing and having students help with it. I get my end of year check off list as completed as possible, so my last day, I can talk to my co-workers who I may not see all summer. Most of all you need to stay CALM. ~ Leah F.
I am done teaching content two weeks BEFORE the end. We dissect, play review games ( indoor/outdoor all kinds), write “end of the year summary” and take the final. Sometimes I don’t get all of the content done and I have to pull a question or two from the final, but THE WORLD DOES NOT END IF YOU DON”T COVER IT ALL!!!!. – Sonya Jaworski
This year I gave them 3 choices for a last mini unit after their End of Course exam, which takes place 7-10 days before the end of the school year. The students in each class vote what they want to learn about and I give them participation grades. The day of their “exam” I asked them to use a word for each letter of the alphabet to explain their experience during the semester. The students took it very seriously and it proved a great reflection of what worked and didn’t. – Elena Gaston.
Breath. In and out. Look at my teacher scrapbook a lot (to remind myself that yes, I still love this job), and then also try to savor every last moment with the kids–the other day, I did that activity where we all write down our own name, and then we write one compliment about each person in the class. They even stayed after the bell to finish. – anonymous
I had a simple strategy to calm down my 9th grade biology kids during final exams this year. I put out a folder of different activities they could do quietly when they finished their test (math puzzles, sudoku, animal mandalas to color). They loved it and it really kept the room quiet and calm while others were finishing the test. My students also really enjoy playing Kahoot to review for tests. That usually keeps them engaged in the content towards the end. For my APES class I gave them a menu of projects. Most groups did 2-3 large projects. That kept them busy for 4 weeks! – Rachaele Otto
The way I deal with the end of the year craziness is to make lists of what has to get done each day. There is so much to do & if I don’t prioritize then it doesn’t all get done on time. I have learned that if I really evaluate what HAS to get done today, then if all I get done is today’s list, I succeeded. I am kind of the opposite of Hannah Rae. My family and friends know to leave me alone in May. My personal life returns in June! 🙂 ~Cullom Corner
High School always deals with things like final exams for many classes. As they are pounded by testing in the home stretch (state, local, finals), I try and keep kids focused on their goals and utilize active review techniques like “Find Someone Who…” in order to keep students’ minds on the prize while not building anxiety for their upcoming tests. We may have home-baked treats or cocoa just to relax the mood while having a round-table, white-board discussion. I may also let them listen to music or their choice either all together or on their own devices while engaging in independent review to boost relaxation, even if it’s in their own minds. I try to find activities that are a fit for each group to build confidence in their upcoming trials. – Julia Slucas
I maintain an academic focus until the very end, including a reflection activity to get students thinking about their growth. I also get students up and moving during lessons, such as gallery walks and skits. But most importantly, I maintain my sense of humor. ~ Vernessa Neu in The Teaching Room
I teach high school freshmen bio. Our last day was goofy, had each class for 30 minutes. A fellow teacher suggested that I bring board games, card games. Kids played Uno, poker, Apples to Apples. Nice way to wind down. – Juanita MacLean