Last Month of School

There is always something in the air during the last month of school. There is the excitement of upcoming summer break. There is the relief of being done with state testing. Kids and teachers alike are a little more antsy. That doesn’t mean you can just put your feet up and pop in a video, though. It is definitely a challenge maintaining academic momentum, so I thought I would share with you some things that worked for me and also other creative ideas I’ve discovered.

How to Thrive in the Last Month of School

There is always something in the air during the last month of school. There is the excitement of upcoming summer break. There is the relief of being done with state testing. Kids and teachers alike are a little more antsy. That doesn’t mean you can just put your feet up and pop in a video, though. It is definitely a challenge maintaining academic momentum, so I thought I would share with you some things that worked for me and also other creative ideas I’ve discovered.

1. Try new things.

Typically, I used the last month of school as  a beta test for the next year. I would mix things up and try out new routines. By this point, your classroom management is strong enough that if you go off the routine, you can reign it back in. If there were things I didn’t like, I would try to fix them so that next year, I could start fresh. So do you have something you’ve been thinking of trying? Don’t save it for next year. Try it out now!

2. STEM 

STEM Engineering Challenges are great for the end of the school year. They are so engaging and really make kids think. Here are some STEM Resources:

STEM Blog Posts

STEM Teaching Resources (Grades 3-5)    


3. Reader’s Theater 

Students love reader’s theater, and the end of the year is a great time to really extend the learning. You could allow students to direct and stage their own play. Have groups create props and organize everything. Then, in the last week of school, perform for each other or other classes.

Reader’s Theater Blog Post on Corkboard Connections

Reader’s Theater Scripts (Grades 3-5)

Free Script from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

4. Math Projects 

If you are looking to change things around with math, try math projects. I would do math mini lessons for 15 or so minutes, and then the rest of the time, students would work on math projects. While they were working, I would pull groups of students who needed extra help and review.

Math Projects (Grades 3-5)

Free Math Project–500 Wheel Brigade

5. Literature Circles 

I always used Laura Candler’s Literature Circle forms. I like it because she keeps the focus on the reading. Some of the literature circle activities I tried would spend so much time focusing on the different literature circle roles or jobs that students missed out on the actual reading and discussing the book.

6. Behavior Plan 

The end of the year is a great time to try out new behavior rewards or a new plan in general.

Blog post about Behavior Blocks (my favorite behavior plan).

Here are some cute class money designs I found from Dragon’s Den Curriculum. My favorite is the sunshine one, which would be perfect for this time of the year! This is a free download, btw.

Also, I have lots of fun ideas on my Classroom Management Pinterest board:

 

 
7. Teach the Teacher Day 

This is one of my favorite activities that I would do each year with third graders. They would all write a lesson plan and then teach the class. It could be about any topic they are interested in. I had one students teach the class how to make a no-bake cheese cake. (And she brought enough to share!) Students would teach origami, drawing, songs, and more. It was so fun, and the class was always super attentive and encouraging to each other.

Here is a blog post about it with a free printable. 

8. ABC Countdown 

I recently discovered this from Ms. Schaffner’s Classroom Connection, and I think it is amazing! Each day has a different theme based on the letter. So much fun!

Click on the “ABC Countdown” on the top left of the page.

9. Fun Read Alouds 

Students love listening to stories and books, and it is a great shared experience.

Here is a post I did about my favorite read aloud for third grade.

I know I say it a lot, but I love Sideways Stories from Wayside School! Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite authors, too. Find some great books, and just enjoy them together!

10. Art

The end of the year is a great time to add in some art to your curriculum. I like to save interesting art projects on Pinterest. I also have a board dedicated to art mixed with math and science.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for more End of the Year and Summer ideas, I have a Pinterest for that, too!

 

 
What will you do to thrive in the last month of school?

Happy Teaching!

Sarah

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