Social Sundays: Teacher Tips For Closing the Year

As the year closes down, I asked my fellow teachers for their best tips for closing the school year.  

My tip:  I invest in my students and they invest in my class.  So, to close the year, one of my number one priorities is a meaningful end to the year.  In between testing, assemblies, and end of year parties, my students complete a "need to know" activity where they get to be experts for next year's class as well as reflecting on their own needs as learners.

Read on for many great tips:

English Oh My also likes to take time to reflect on the year with her students:  "Have your students reflect on their year, whether it is in a letter or fun forum. What did they learn? Change? Advice for the upcoming grade."

Chalk Dust Diva has a great teacher tip: "My #1 tip is to prepare all copies and lesson plans for the first couple of weeks of the new school year BEFORE you leave for the summer. Not only will you avoid the never-ending line at the copier, but you will feel little stress when you return to work!"

ELA Seminar Gal also suggests prepping for next year: "I decorate my bulletin board for September and cover it with newspaper so when I come back to set up my class, all I have to do is remove the newspaper. It makes me feel as if I've accomplished a lot right away...and I feel instantly happy about the new year!"

Says Science in the City:  "Give students options on what they want to do -- projects? help with jobs in the classroom? make up work? This is a good chance to try out those "fun" things that you didn't have time for earlier in the year, or routines/procedures that you are considering trying for next year."

Innovations in Technology also likes to give lots of choice:  "Let them work together in a group and give them choices on how they demonstrate their learning."

Ellen Weber suggests tapping students' creative side: "End of term is a terrific time to discover their brain boosts within serotonin, for instance. They learn how to stoke this well being molecule to brighten class and build curiosity while they wait for summer adventures."

Cullom Corner, who teaches seniors, "takes the time to really talk to them. We talk about stuff they really want to know about like what college is really like, what are the good and bad things about being an adult, how to deal with the emotions of a transition from high school to college, etc." 

"Since my students' AP exam is completed, we are watching commencement speeches each day until graduation. So far they've watched Steve Jobs, Adm. William McRaven, David Foster Wallace, and David McCullough, Jr. They jot notes as we listen and then we talk about the messages and techniques of each speaker." - OCBeachTeacher

And when you are cleaning up that classroom, ESL Nexus remarks that: "Oddly, all my middle school students wanted to help me clean my classroom at the end of the year! Which was fine by me because I didn't enjoy wiping down the desks, boxing up books and other materials, and doing whatever else was necessary to get the room ready for the custodians who did the big summer cleaning of the whole school. The students felt good about helping and I certainly appreciated their assistance.

What's your favorite way to end the year?  What do you do to prepare you or your students for next year?  Join the discussion in the comments section.


Social Sundays is a weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below at the store in the question and answer section.  




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2 comments

  1. Great ideas here all - and many will be fun to try! End of term can be very stressful for teachers and students alike and interventions can turn "burning out" into "burning strong" as they start another new phase - summer! Best, Ellen

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  2. Teachers who know at the end of one year what they'll be teaching the next year are really lucky! My schedule was never finalized until after school began because it all depended on who newly registered and who hadn't moved. (ELLs are a transient population.) I really like the idea of talking to students about what to expect next; I once had a high school student (former student of mine) come and talk to my class but I bet it would have been even better if she'd done it at the end of the year and just focused on the 8th graders. Lots of other great ideas, too!

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