Administration, General

Tips for Finishing the School Year Strong

The last semester of school can feel like an eternity! You have finished your units, test prep, state assessments, and so on and so on. Your learners may be bored and, quite frankly, you probably are too. As you know, a teacher’s boredom will translate to the learners and this creates an ugly cycle.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. And YOU are in the driver’s seat. Here are some perks about the end of the year. Chances are, your teacher evaluation is done so you feel a little more free and flexible in the classroom to try something new. Assessments are over so there is no more test prep. And, we can see the finish line!

In my school at this time of year, we like to “change it up.” Change It Up means do something different or different-ly. Try something new, use a strategy or teaching tool you have never used before…change it up. Keep yourself interested in what you are doing and you will see the learners do the same. If you are engaged, the learners will be too.

Here are a few ideas to take the last semester from tolerable to memorable!

  • Turn your schedule upside-down. Ex: Instead of math first, do science.
  • Go outside and learn sitting on blankets.
  • Read UNDER your desks or ON your desks.
  • Have the learners invent their own sign language to remember historical facts. Then have them teach it to a friend.
  • Ask a learner to teach a lesson instead of you.
  • Instead of taking notes, use symbols (learners will have to explain their drawings 🙂
  • Give them their assignments written in “text” format. LOL
  • Use Odyssey of the Mind spontaneous questions to kick off the day with a motivating, creative thinking activity.
  • When they are tired, have a 2-minute dance party. Then, get back to work. (calisthenics work too)
  • Have an “I don’t feel like teaching” lesson. Tell your learners they have 15 minutes to find out as much as they can about _________ subject. Give them a few website or book suggestions and let them go. (Enjoy your 15 minutes). They can enter what they learned on Padlet or a Google Slide.
  • Subject Mash! Tell them they need to learn their geometry lesson and then reteach it as an art lesson.
  • Use an open door rubric. Set the standards for 1-4, tell them to get a 5 they will have to do something above and beyond, creative, innovative, original.
  • Assign a “cartographer” in your class and give the cartographer the job of plotting a location for every location they hear in every subject of the day. Give the cartographer 5 minutes at the end of the day to show and explain the places on the map. Choose another cartographer for the next day.

Let’s face it, we have to be here, let’s make it fun. As a result, watch how fast the time goes by AND…extra bonus…watch how much gets learned!!


Read our previous blog post discussing Must Read Books for Teachers here

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This article is written by Suzanne Legg, an Administrator at Dayspring Academy