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The Final Countdown: How to Command the Classroom During the Last Days of School

The end of the school year is notorious for teachers. It is the time of the year when kids get a bit out of hand and teachers get drained and overly stressed. Deadlines and to-do lists take over a teacher’s mind, while thoughts of sleeping in,vacations, and playing take over a student’s mind. As teachers, we need to make sure that we do our best to keep a routine while at the same time, get in a few last minute, fun activities.

Keeping Routine

Many teachers think that since students are rambunctious at the end of the year, they are done with learning, but that is not the case. Don’t give up during the last two weeks of school.  Continue to teach your academic lessons just like you did the first month of school. Continuing to use the routine that they have had all year will keep behavior issues to a minimum. Many teachers think that putting a movie in or letting them have longer recess may help, but in the long run it will just cause more trouble. However, the students have worked hard for 170+ days of school, so they do deserve some rewards and fun activities.  While keeping routine is absolutely ideal for behavior issues, most teachers know that the last week of school requires some flexibility. Here are some suggestions on ways to slightly alter your days to give the students a little bit of change, but still keep them calm and on task.

Now For the Fun Stuff

Behaviour Suggestion:

Give students a class reward to work towards. Balloon popping has become quite a popular way to keep students in line. Start with ten balloons for the last ten days of school. Each balloon has a class reward inside of it. At the end of the day, if the class behaves and shows responsibility, they get to pop the balloon for a reward. Don’t always give the students candy and monetary rewards. Try giving them rewards that that may not be tangible.  Some examples are outside reading, extra minutes at recess, no shoes in the classroom, picking their own seat, or other rewards that kids really enjoy, but don’t cost the teacher a thing.


Crafty Suggestions:

Within the last few days of school, let the students use their artistic skills. Throughout the year, teachers must focus on learning standards and squeezing in everything. There isn’t time to drop everything and do art. So now is your chance! Make sure to tie your art lessons into learning. Many art activities can cross into reading, math, and science lessons.  Here are several fun art activities...

    • Paper Mache- Try this fun art activity in the afternoon. Plan to use two or three afternoons for this project. You’ll need balloons, newspaper, flour, water, tissue paper, and patience.papermache
    • Tie-Dye T-Shirts- This is a popular activity that has been used for years in classrooms.  However, a lot of tie-dye processes do not allow students to help. A new way to include them is to do the tie-dye with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol method.  You give students all the independence and fun (except for the rubbing alcohol part). There are many tutorials found on search engines about how to tie-dye with rubbing alcohol and Sharpie markers. It just uses a t-shirt, permanent markers, cups and rubber bands (to section off the circle they are working on), and rubbing alcohol.tiedye
    • Creating a Memory Book- There are many memory book examples online. Allowing the students to work on a few pages a day will really put focus on their writing while pointing out to them how important the past year was for them. While prompting them to reminisce and write about specific topics from the year, you will trigger their confidence while showing them all they have accomplished. When they are done with all the pages, find a fun way to bind the book for the students. They will be proud of the book because it is filled with accomplishments and memories from the year.

Keeping the peace in the last few weeks of school is your goal. Do not stop teaching academic lessons, but don’t drill them without rewarding them and reminding them that you appreciate all their hard work from the year. Multiple movie days are a no-no if you want perfect behavior. If you show the students that you’ve given up on teaching for the year, they will likely give you similar efforts in behavior and class work. Teach until that last day of school, but also let them have fun!

Posted by Jessica Tobin in Teacher, General ← Previous Post Next Post →

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