End of the year is challenging

The end of the school year is always challenging. The sun is shining and the days are getting warmer so the students (and teachers) want to be outside enjoying the nice weather, especially after such a crazy winter. But at the same time, I’m feeling the push of time of trying to get everything done with so few days left. I want my students to be ready for middle school. Plus I have the stress of wondering where I’ll be next year. So here are a few of the strategies and tricks that I’m trying to use to keep my students and myself engaged for the last few weeks (only 5 and a half here) left of grade 5.

Go Noodle:
One of the teachers I work with sent me this site and I’m so very happy she did. I sent it along to everyone else I know because I love it.GoNoodle2

It’s a website that basically has videos for any kind of brain break activity you can think of. Your kids need to get pumped up because they’re falling asleep? There are videos for that. My kids like the Fresh Start ones. Having a rough time getting them to settle down? There are videos for that. One of my classes likes the space time ones while the other prefers Flow. You register and choose a character who levels up as you do brain breaks. When your character levels up all the way you get to choose a new one. It’s been a savior some days, though I have to admit, sometimes my students get too silly so we’ve put in some class guidelines about how we use go noodle. I just wish there were some videos in French.

Changing up the routines:
So in Intensive French we do this thing at the beginning of every class called Mini Prof. One student (and this is a much coveted responsibility in my class) gets to lead the class through a series of questions on the smart board about the date, temperature, weather, and a few other questions we’ve been working on. It’s great. The kids enjoy it for the first 8 or 9 months of the year generally but then they start to get bored with it. And I’ve been using it for the past 3 or 4 years and I get bored with it too. So in the middle of doing this the other day I looked at their faces and I was tired of asking them to stop talking English at each other and so I stopped them and asked for some suggestions for how we can change this routine. I let them know that we have to do this part of class, that’s not a choice, but we could change it up a bit. So we’re adding in a few things like a joke of the day and a couple of new questions and maybe some more music. I’m hoping it’ll put some life back into our mornings.

We are all experts:
This is an idea I’ve been toying with for a while. Normally I do personal learning projects and I love them but this year we decided to do projects in January before we switched classes and then they did Heritage Fair projects in April so I didn’t want to give them another big project at the end of the year, so I’m thinking instead that I’ll have students sign up for a day in June when they can teach the class about something, anything they want. I haven’t fully formulated my plan yet but it’s percolating.

What do you do to keep things interesting in the last few weeks?

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