Report cards, end-of-year assessments, record keeping, end-of-year reviewing, packing up, squirmy children, lack of sleep, hot days, your battery is running low, and can you believe there's even a full moon on Friday? Welcome to the end of the school year!
Honestly, my little guys are constantly bickering over little things that don't matter ("He looked at me!") and just can't focus on anything anymore, so it's time to pull all the stops out! Yes, bribery and deception will be an everyday part of my life for the next 10 days!
Luckily, we've finished up the "have tos" this week, so it's time for the fun stuff!
1. Theme Incentives! Next week my students will be bringing in beach towels and sleeping bags. Why? to make reading time more fun! We're going to pretend we're already on vacation, and are reading at the beach, or reading under the stars! (Do you see the subliminal "reading during the summer is fun" theme?) Last year I gave a whole week to the beach, and a whole week to camping, but the schedule didn't work out quite the same this year. (See this post, this post, this post, and this post for pics and ideas for Seashore Week and Camping Week!
2. Breathe! Find excuses to slow down! I play a lot of music in my classroom, but this time of year I let the music continue even when the kids are gone. It really does help calm my nerves! The image below is a link to Amazon, doesn't it sound delightful?
3. Brain Breaks! Keep plenty of brain breaks built into the schedule! The kids love them, and truly need them. My kids love Go Noodle (free)! These little cuties are doing wall pushups, which are part of THIS GAME.
4. Fun Learning! Keep working, of course, but save the favorite projects for this time of year! Every morning my little sweeties can't wait to see if their plants have grown! In fact, it's tough to get them to their other morning responsibilities or activities like Baseball Geography because they're so excited about their plants!
5. Make them work for it! Yes, teachers are quite deceptive: we say things like this: "If you work really hard to learn your addition and subtraction facts, I'll let you work on your multiplication facts!" I've changed my scoreboard to bring out a little healthy competition. (See Whole Brain Teaching for more about the Scoreboard.) Whatever group has the most happy points at the end of the day gets to keep a plant on their desk the next day. Sometimes I let them put flags. too. Of course, since I control the scoreboard, I make sure that different teams win, and make sure there are plenty of ties so everyone gets to participate and see the joys of working hard, and the joys of helping their classmates. (Don't you love the creative names they chose for their groups?)
If you're still in school like me, good luck!