The problem with an educational system that focuses on testing and performance is that the joy of learning takes a back seat. This is never more evident than in the time following the stressful testing season. School doesn’t end when testing does — but many students don’t see a purpose for being there any longer.
This is a challenge for teachers; in fact I recently saw a post on social media from a teacher begging for ideas for the last few weeks of school when students seem to have “checked out.”
I just beefed up my “End of Year” Collection with suggestions for keeping students engaged as the year winds down. I’ve had a lot of success with many of the activities in this Wakelet, especially the ones that give the students opportunities for self-expression. Hexagonal Reflections (also Reflecting with Hexagons), Designing Manifestos, and Whatzit Tic-Tac-Toe were all meaningful and fun. The Self-Designed Hashtag Awards (idea from @jtrayers) were also a big hit. These were all lessons I did with elementary students, but could certainly be adapted. One excellent idea I found for high school that was shared by Susan Barber (@SusanGbarber) on Twitter last year includes a Google Slide presentation she made for her students giving them choices that ranged from making blackout poetry with their college applications to book spine poetry reflecting their feelings about high school.
There will, of course, be days that you might want to show a video. I collected some of my favorite inspirational videos for this time of year here. And if you have the inclination to offer challenging puzzles or participate in some fun and games such as Goosechase Edu or Breakout Edu, I have links for those in the End of the Year Wakelet as well.
Some schools have just a few weeks left, while others will continue late into June. Some of you may be in countries that just began a new year a couple of months ago. Regardless of your situation, you may want to take a few minutes to look over this collection because many of these activities can work at other times of the year as well.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! The best way I can think of to celebrate you is to continue to share free resources and ideas that will hopefully ease some of the stress in your jobs.