5 Tactics to Supercharge the Last Month of School
Ah, May, when the weather turns warm, the flowers bloom, and schoolchildren everywhere start daydreaming of summer vacation a month before it actually starts. This last stretch of the school year defines the laws of quantum physics by both flying by and lasting forever. It flies because there’s still so much work to be done during this last month of school to prepare children for the next year. And it drags because when the windows are open, you can smell the sweet spring air just taunting you with promises of lazy afternoons and buckets of free time.
It might be tempting to simply ride out the rest of the year by wrangling your charges the best you can, treating them with parties and movies and long blocks of independent reading. But we all know that usually leads to an even higher level of unfocused energy! Instead, use this time to take stock, do some exploring, and have fun with these kids who are moving on.
How can teachers keep both themselves and their students on track?
- Build stuff. The best way to capture kids’ attention is to give them something hands-on to do. And it helps that research has shown that hands-on learning makes a deeper, more lasting impression than lecturing. Create a mini maker space in your classroom and let your kids finish out the year with an in-depth, fascinating exploration of engineering principles!
- Use the tech. You and your students have put forth a giant effort toward learning this year! Spend some time putting logic to use in the “real” world by doing some coding. Coding is a great way to get kids to think critically and analytically, and there are several websites to help you get started.
- Perform community service work. At school, there’s loads of focus on reading, writing, math, science, history—you know the drill! What about taking some time to be active members of the community? Pick up trash in the playground, hold a food drive, do some citizen science in the neighborhood—there are lots of ways to connect with the community that are both fun and rewarding.
- Do an end-of-year project. What have your kids learned this year? What have you learned this year? What is the best way to showcase everything you’ve all done? Have your students come up with and work on a project that encompasses their memories of the past year, what they’ve learned and discovered and how they’ve grown. They can make books, movies, commercials, video games, posters, art installations—there’s no limit to their creativity!
- Prepare learning materials for the summer. Okay, summer’s great, but at some point all that freedom becomes a little too…boring. As parents can attest, the shrieks of joy upon waking up to a day free of obligation can quickly change to moans of, “I’m bored!” Help your students avoid this trap by making a learning plan for the summer. Book boxes, activity packets, construction bags, and even collections of easy recipe cards can make the difference between a bummer summer and a sensational season!
What about you? What are your ideas for making the last weeks of school happy and productive?