Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The End is Near! Show and Tell: End of the Year Teacher Activities

There are only 4 more days until the last day of school for my students! I've been excitedly awaiting the end of the school year, but now I can't believe it's almost over! Today I am once again linking to Forever in 5th Grade's Monthly Show and Tell Tuesday Linky Party. In this month's post, I will be talking about the things most teachers are working on right now: planning for next school year, cleaning up my classroom and getting ready for summer vacation.


Show and Tell for May - classic end of the year teacher activities: getting ready for next year, cleaning the classroom and preparing to recharge over summer break.
#1 - At the end of the school year, I always begin preparing for next year. I relax so much better over the summer if I know I have a plan in place for next year. This year I'm doing double planning because I am both planning for my classroom, and helping my husband plan the homeschool curriculum for our youngest two children who he will be homeschooling. So I was so excited to shop at this year's Homeschool Build a Bundle Sale. In addition to saving myself some money, I was able to contribute my Year Long Country Study project to a few of the bundles, including the Unit Study Bundle #1 and the Copywork and Notebooking Bundle. This sale is only a week long, so be sure to stop by and load up on quality resources.


Show and Tell for May - classic end of the year teacher activities: getting ready for next year, cleaning the classroom and preparing to recharge over summer break.
#2 - This week is also about packing up my classroom. Yesterday I took down all of our anchor charts and sent them home with students. When I was taking these anchor charts down, I was able to reflect on how many different topics we have covered this year. The growth I have seen in these students is the best part about being back in the classroom!


Show and Tell for May - classic end of the year teacher activities: getting ready for next year, cleaning the classroom and preparing to recharge over summer break.
#3 - While I have loved being back in the classroom, I'm super excited for summer to be here so that we can travel again! We will be traveling in our RV for all 9 weeks of this summer break, visiting national parks and science museums in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona. If you want to follow this trip with us, I'll be posting pictures on my other blog - RVing with the Rakis.



I hope your school year is wrapping up well as you plan for next year, clean up your classroom and get ready for a relaxing summer! 



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Six Ways to Survive the Last Six Weeks of School


Well if today was any indication, my class has definitely hit end of the year fever. I’m sure my class isn’t the only one that’s starting to feel the fever, so today I’ve put together a list of six ways to survive those crazy last six weeks of school.

Six survival tips for teachers during the last weeks of school - Suggestions from Raki's Rad Resources

1.) Keep your routinesIf your school's like mine, there’s a lot of special things going on and it’s easy for kids to start seeing school as “over”. This affects their behavior and makes it very hard for you to get their attention for the things you still need to get done. A good way to stop school from being over is to keep up the routines you’ve built all year long. My students do a full school day every day that I can swing it. We are still working on spelling and vocabulary packets, novel studies, calendar books and math facts. I emphasize every day that we’re still here, so we’re still learning.

 2.) Reteach and Preteach – This is the time of year that students think they know everything. Remind them that they haven’t yet mastered all there is to know by reviewing concepts that you have already covered. They’ll be amazed at how much they have already forgotten. If they truly have mastered all of the concepts you have covered this year, preteach a few things from next year’s standards. Second graders love learning about multiplication because they know that’s a “third grade thing”. Kids love feeling like they’re learning something they’re not supposed to know, so give them a sneak peek. The kids will be thrilled and next year’s teachers will be happy they have background to connect to.

3.) Connect the dots with projects – Thanks to standardized testing, we often have to cover all of our standards well before the end of the school year. So what do we do with the last six weeks of school? Well just because we’ve covered topics doesn’t mean they’ve mastered them. And with literacy topics like doing research, there’s always room for kids to grow. So take time in those last six weeks to give students projects. These projects can cover multiple topics and help students connect all of the separate dots they’ve learned about all year. Some of my favorite projects to use at the end of the year are: Real Life Math Projects, Biography Projects, The Great Plant Experiment and Creating Your Own Cookies.

4.) Start something new – My students are bugging to learn cursive and keyboarding skills and this seems like a great time to teach them this. They’re starting to be sick of the same old stuff, so give them a bit of something new and different that they can sink their teeth into. Since you’ve probably taught all of your standards, this is a great time to learn about something that is interesting to your students. Let them pick a topic and run with it for a bit. You’ll be amazed at how they’ll come back into the learning realm with a bit of new information.

5.) Play games – Games can be used to reinforce many skills.  We’ve pulled back into the word family games we’ve been playing bit by bit all year. Now that they’ve mastered all of the word families, they can play little tournaments. Regular old board games are also great for this time of the year. In our world of video games, many students don’t know how to play classic board games like Yahtzee or Monopoly. Take time to teach students the rules of these games, or check out some of my old Board Games in the Classroom Posts and take the games to another level.

 6.) Reflect on the year – Look back over the year and all of the things you have learned. Compare current writing samples with ones from the beginning of the year. Graph the end of the year data. Build online portfolios using the projects you have completed all year long. Have students write letters to their parents about everything they have learned. There are so many ways to reflect on learning, and these reflections help students build metacognition as well as being a great way to wrap up a year.

 So those are my six survival tips. How do you get through the last six weeks of school?