The end of the year brings excitement. However, before students can feel excited, they have to get through end of the year testing. You can see the tension on the everyone’s faces. The students have their #2 pencils and a book in hand. They quietly wait in single file lines to use the restroom. Then, they’re marched to the *testing zone*. You know the place, right. It’s one where not a sound can be heard, and there are warning signs plastered all over the hallways that promise serious consequences if a disturbance happens. It is clear that it is an area you do not want to enter. Thankfully though, the testing zone disappears a few hours in and luckily life returns to normal.
For those testing, it is a long intense time. By the time it’s over, everyone is ready for a break. Today, I’d like to share six suggestions of things you can do for fun that keep academics going, but provide a more relaxed atmosphere for the kids.
Create an End of the Year Class Review
Your kids will be tired from exerting so much focused attention on their test and they’ll need to shift to something totally new and active. How about pulling out the ipads, ipods, or cameras, and let your kids perform a radio show or commercial for next year’s class on topics you have coming up or on your classroom routines. If you divide your kids into teams, they can prepare the scripts and even decide where the best setting for filming might be. Plus, if you have them film review points on a topic coming up, you can share them and get review time in too.
Write a Rap about Topics Learned this year:
Have you used Flocabulary yet? If not, it’s a site to take a look at. What does it offer? Rap music on topics kids need to learn. Music helps information stick, and why not use it to let kids express their understandings, their thoughts, and more. (Think Ron Clark Academy here) If you need to review science, you might do a jigsaw and have each team create a song about the big ideas for each unit and teach the rest of the class. Could be very fun I think.
End of the Year Projects
Creating projects can be very relaxing kind of like the adult coloring books that have grown so much in popularity. May means we have a few important events coming….Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the End of School. As a way to get your kids relaxed, you might let your kids make something for mom or day, create a memory book for the end of the year, or a lapbook project. The lapbook to the right is one I have in my store. It actually works well for both end of the year and back to school as it includes “getting to know you” sections, an “About Me” class book, and class memory pages. It makes a great keepsake.
Move Your Classroom Outside for End of the Year fun:
The weather is certainly nicer, and the fresh air does everyone good. How about moving your classroom outdoors for sidewalk chalk word work, classroom graffiti about material you need to review, or even sharing a class read aloud under the shade of a tree.
Hire a Guest Teacher (student) to Substitute
Have you thought about turning the tables and letting your students teach the class? Assign your students the role of people you have studied this year, and let your guests come in an share about themselves to teach the class about the area they’re an expert in. This has been an effective teaching strategy actually, and it is pretty fun for the kids too.
End of the Year Letter Writing
Getting kids to write for a great purpose can be very relaxing too. Your kids can write letters to next year’s class explaining the most memorable units and what they learned in them. You could have them leave space so that you can personalize the letters before passing them out to next years’ kids too.
End of the Year Cooking Fun
Kids love cooking in the classroom, and after testing, they may be a little hungry. How about writing how to papers about making smores and doing it? Have you enjoyed the Tasty video clips coming through your Facebook feed? Well, guess what! There is a Tasty Jr. site for kid recipes. You might find something fun and work it into a math lesson just for something out of the norm.
Create End of the Year Top 20 Lists
This last suggestion works well in the last few weeks of school. With this set, you and your students create Top 20 lists. Last year, I had an idea come to me after watching the reveal of a top 10 list on the Tonight Show (I think). It got me thinking that this might be a great activity you can use to help your kids make reading plans. Sure, it’d be perfect for the beginning of the year as you’re making reading goals, but these could be a great help for keep your kids reading through the summer months. The lists could be taken home and used for reference when kids head to the library. You can make lists by genre, in groups, by grade level, and even schoolwide lists for an end of the year bulletin board.
Testing is tough on everyone, but I hope you find a few of these ideas ones that will help reduce the size of that stress filled balloon and keeps your kids smiling and happy through the coming weeks.