Tips for Surviving the End of the Year

End of the year strategies, ideas and lessons from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.
End of the year is a time that approaches fast during the school year.  For teachers it is like tax season for financial professionals – busy and chaotic. It is important to know that end of year madness can be tamed and turned into something more productive than stress and chaos. In the curated Twitter chat below teachers share their best strategies for maintaining a balance during the last few weeks of school.

Q1: What final papers and projects do you do at the end of the year? Share favorites.

  • Favorite end of year project = literary theme park https://goo.gl/1iIVRV students pick their favourite text to use
  • In middle school, we wrote reflections & ten-year dreams. High school – we must give finals. 
  • I do a non-fiction “become the teacher project”. They read a non-fiction book and create a lesson for the class
  • Seniors have been done for a few weeks, but ended the year with Genius Hour reflections for some and research paper for others
  • This year we are doing a mini-research project where students work in groups to plan a vacay to part. locale to combine with
  • For Juniors, it’s lots of Regents prep
  • Our digital tools cert. so they will use Word, PP, Excel & Access to share their research
  • Favorites: Making books with http://blurb.com  and creating companies with @bizworldorg 
  • Explore with a PBL project, lit circles. Had one E3 class write children’s books for PreK class
  • Students create games over different concepts and skills throughout the year. Or write a letter to next years class

Q2: Do you have final exams at the end of the year? How do you make review interesting for students? 

  • To make exam review fun I have students work through review stations in groups
  • More ideas here: https://www.2peasandadog.com/2013/01/making-exam-review-fun.html 
  • No final exams for middle school but using @Kahoot! or @quizlet live always makes review fun
  • Seniors just do their final paper, Juniors have NY Regents which is intense. Wish there were ways to make it more interesting
  • Regents are all skills based so review is all practice essays 
  • We are playing Kahoot! We also will complete study guides together
  • My final is them creating their own “perfect” society. They are writing a paper and preparing a speech with media 
  • Students could play the games they make that I mentioned in A1 for a review. Games could be hands-on or techie
  • My “final” is our state test. I used @ClassDojo to gamify test prep: asked questions & then awarded students based on Dojo points
  • One of my teachers is planning her final as student reflections on the year
  • Also made videos, used @brainpop videos & @Flocabulary
  • I have a final over the last six weeks material usually because it’s different from usual stuff. I try to use Kahoot to review 

Q3: Share tips on how you stay healthy during this busy season. 

  • Summer fruit is in season, so lots of melon and salads! Hoping to also try out a jogging stroller with my little one this week 
  • Take grading outdoors! The sunshine makes it more bearable
  • Healthy? Well…. I use (too much) hand sanitizer – does that count? 🙂 🙂
  • I keep turning down sweets. They are everywhere this time of year
  • Walk outside during lunch or conference period
  • It is important to take time for self-care even if time seems impossible
  • Tips to Avoid Teacher Burn Out https://www.2peasandadog.com/2015/12/tips-for-avoiding-teacher-burnout.html 
  • I try to get to bed at a normal time no matter how high the grading pile
  • Personally, baseball helps the most, but I try to maintain the class routines established. Doesn’t always work but I try

Q4: Do you have any special end of the year celebrations in your classroom? Academics related or just for fun? 

  • Our 8th graders have a graduation ceremony with awards 
  • I have students write a letter to themselves at beginning of year and I return on one of last days of school
  • Our 8th graders also have a grad, dance and awards
  • I also have a ticket reward system and have an “ultimate drawing” on the last day with all prizes in brown paper lunch bags
  • We are not! I think my school wants business as usual. They will get a small gift from me
  • I like to read my seniors “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” 
  • I have a final lesson that consists of little life things that I want them to know. And reminds them that I’m proud of them
  • Cosplay costume contest, let’s the students become characters from any genre, time, etc. & really make a diff world in the class 
  • Prizes in bags so that no one knows what anyone is going to get! Keeps it fair as possible due to the timing of tickets. I award tickets for following directions, getting a question correct, 100% scores, small acts of kindness. Here’s a post about my system: http://mrsspanglerinthemiddle.blogspot.com/2015/10/top-3-classroom–behavior-tips.html 
  • We do a roundtable where we write compliments for each student on their own sheet. Borrowed from The Story of Mark Eklund

Q5: Share a lesson or tip for what to do with students on those really hot days. 

End of the year strategies, ideas and lessons from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.
Want more end of the year tips? 

Check out these other blog posts full of great lessons and strategies. 

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