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Showing posts with label last day of school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label last day of school. Show all posts

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 5: Reading

Hang in there, there's a light at the end of the tunnel!


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 5: Make sure they have something to read! This post includes a freebie summer vacation list!


Don't let the craziness get you down. You can always enjoy the last day!

This is the 5th step of 7 strategies to a Happy Last Day of School. 



You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book.

You can read about Step Two here:Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

You can read about the third strategy here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.


You can read about Step Four here: Keep Out a Handful of Whiteboards, Markers, and Erasers.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 5: Make sure they have something to read! This post includes a freebie summer vacation list!
I've always felt that reading is the most important thing we do in school, and I make it very clear that each student do some reading each and every day. Step one was all about reading to the children, but this step is all about having the children do the reading. Here are some ideas:

1. Leave out a few of their favorite books. I know, you've packed most of them, but let them enjoy their favorites for the last time. I pack my chapter books up about a week before the end of the year, since they won't have time to finish them. But I keep out those favorites. Here's another advantage: those favorites might just be the first ones you unpack in the fall!

2. Provide an End-Of-Year Memory Book. I know, who has time for this during this crazy time of year? Well, I always make the time for this, since it's something they'll keep forever. (I hope!) A couple of weeks before the end, I'll have the children write down some words about their classmates (and teachers) and their special memories from the year. I type these up and put them into a book. Yes, it's extra work, but it sure is fun to give them those books on the last day of school!

3. Give them a little something to read and take home! My students and I developed this list a couple of years ago, and I thought it was great! You can find this freebie here: Summer Vacation List... So Tablets and Screens Don't Suck Out Your Brain!

I'm sure you have more ideas for making sure they do some reading on the last day!

Come on by tomorrow for the 6th Step to a Happy Last Day of School!


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 5: Make sure they have something to read! This post includes a freebie summer vacation list!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 4 Whiteboards

The focus this time of year is getting it all done: packing up, report cards, and all those end-of-the-year necessities.


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers. This post includes a Geography task card freebie!

My goal on the last day has always been to try to relax and help the kids enjoy that last day. Today I'll share the 4th of my 7 Steps.

You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book

You can read about Step Two here: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

You can read the third strategy here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.

Today's strategy:

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers. This post includes a Geography task card freebie!

Don't kids love using whiteboards?  Mine sure do! I always leave some out on the last day. 

Here are a few "educational" things they can do with the whiteboards:
1. Hangman (They can use spelling words or content words from the year!)

2. Dictate sentences for each other using something you've studied or a book you've read!

3. Tic-tac-toe (it involves strategy!)

4. Make up math problems for partners to solve.

5. Keep out a set of task cards for the children to answer on the whiteboards. Here's a free set that's perfect for end of the year review: Geography Review Task Cards.


Here's a blog post I wrote last year with a few whiteboard ideas: 3 Ways to Use Individual Whiteboards

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers.

What are your ideas for using whiteboards on the last day of school?

See you tomorrow for Step 5!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers. This post includes a Geography task card freebie!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 2: Games

If you're getting ready for the end of the school year, I'm sure things are a little crazy. It's hard to enjoy the last day of school when there is so much to do, but I've got a few ideas for you.


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 2: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games. This post includes a reading celebration game freebie!

Yesterday I shared my first strategy for a Happy Last Day of School: Read Your Favorite Book.
Today, and for the next 5 days, I'll be sharing a new strategy for a Happy Last Day of School. Here's today's strategy:

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 2: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

By this point, you've probably packed up most classroom games, but it's a good idea to keep out a couple of favorites for a happy last day of school.

I prefer games that include a little reading and a little thinking!

Apples to Apples is my group's favorite game. I love it because it creates lots of giggles, but also has some thinking skills and strategy. It even has a little reading! (Click the image: this is an Amazon affiliate link.)


Battleship is also a favorite! There's not a whole lot of reading, but there's plenty of thinking involved! (The image is also an Amazon affiliate link.)


They don't have to be store bought games! 
They can be learning games you've had in your classroom, that the kiddos love to play over and over again!

Here's a freebie that celebrates reading and the books the children have read during the year: Reading Celebration Game Sample.


The full length game is available here: Reading Celebration Game.

I have a few other blog posts that focus on games:

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 2: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 2: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

(includes a freebie!)
Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 2: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the third of Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 2: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games. This post includes a reading celebration game freebie!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 1: Read Aloud

We all know those last couple of weeks of school are insane: antsy students, report cards, packing the room, etc.  It's all overwhelming, isn't it?


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 1: Read your favorite book! It includes a freebie to send home about helping children with literacy skills! This post includes a freebie to share with parents about helping children at home with literacy skills.


Despite it all, I refuse to let the craziness destroy my last day with my students. For the next seven days, I'll be sharing some of my strategies for a Happy Last Day of School.  Here's the first!


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 1: Read your favorite book! It includes a freebie to send home about helping children with literacy skills! This post includes a freebie to share with parents about helping children at home with literacy skills.


Reading to the students is one of the most important things a teacher can do. 

See this blog post to see some of benefits of reading to children: The Importance of Read Alouds!

The Importance of Read Alouds


I'm sure you've already read your favorite book to your class. Maybe more than once! I'm willing to bet that same book might be a favorite of the students as well!

But reading it again on the last day of school leads to some very special memories. 

I like to leave my students with those warm feelings for books, don't you?

Here are some of my very favorite books to read to children. (Click these for affiliate links to Amazon.)



          
          

Here's a little freebie you can send home for parents and caregivers: How to Help Children at Home with Literacy Skills.

Check back tomorrow for the second step to a 
Happy Last Day of School!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 1: Read your favorite book! It includes a freebie to send home about helping children with literacy skills! This post includes a freebie to share with parents about helping children at home with literacy skills.

For the 35th Time, Ending on a Monday

I just finished my 35th year of teaching, and I am proud to say I enjoyed another year.  I not only survived, but I'm happy about how it went!

I'm kind of glad our last day turned out to be on a Monday. I know it seems silly to come back to school for just a Monday (especially since it's a half day) but I really liked the way it turned out.


The week before school got out was crazy.  My report cards were due for inspection at the beginning of the week, so I worked all the previous weekend on those.  (The report cards we use are quite complicated, and really do take that long!)  Then I spent my afternoons planning my End of Year Academic Olympics activities, and tried to find some time to get ahead on end of the year packing. At home, in the evenings, I was typing up this year's Memory book.


I was determined to stay Friday evening until the custodians kicked me out at 11:00.  I had dreams of having the whole room completely packed up except for the few things I'd need on Monday.  My "gentleman friend" (I'm far too old to have a "boyfriend") came to help at about 4:45, and I was pretty wiped out by then.  Most of the school supplies were in boxes, and I had set aside the few things I'd need for the last day, but the place was a mess, with a lot to be done.  He was amazing, piling boxes, carrying stuff to my car, and keeping my spirits up.  We finally called it quits at 6:15, when I was pretty much a vegetable.  But my room was in good shape.



Our last story for the year!
I had no school work to do all weekend... that was a very strange feeling!  My report cards were done, printed, folded and packed.  My cumulative folders were stuffed and marked.  I was all planned for Monday, and my only paper work - the Memory books - were run off and waiting.

By the time Monday came, I was rested! I wasn't stressed about finishing the packing, since I really got a lot done on Friday.  So I got to enjoy the last day with my students!!!!  I honestly don't remember a "last day" where I wasn't overtired and stressed about finishing.


It's a quick day, so I didn't want to waste any time with the children.  As they came in, I had them work with partners on individual whiteboards.  Some played hangman, some played Tic-tac-toe.  As long as they were thinking, I was fine!


We had our morning meeting, and I read them one last story, then showed them their Memory books.  After choosing a gel pen color of their choice (I bought a selection of 24 colors) I gave them 15 minutes of Independent Reading time. I insisted they spend some time alone reading the memory book before the conversations/ autographing began. They were fun to watch when it came to autographing each Memory book.  I also got to autograph most of them, which I was glad to do.


What's in the memory books? A couple of weeks ago, I asked the children to write a comment about each of their classmates.  I also asked them for their favorite things about second grade, favorite things about the school, and ideas for things to do during summer vacation.  Since not all children were allowed to be photographed, I took the photo for the cover of their hands (idea from Pinterest!) And I took a picture of each child holding their favorite book... in front of their face.  I wasn't about to have all the children's pictures except one!  Here's my picture from the Memory book, with their comments for me beside it.

This is my "picture", and what the children had to say about me.

At 10:00, our PTA has a tradition for the last day of school:  ice cream sundaes!  We lined up for the last day of school tradition (Thank you PTA!) and enjoyed our last recess together.  I gave the children some time for centers when we got back.  I had a few books still out so they could have partner reading time.  I kept out the math cards so they could play math games, and the white boards were still out for playing Hangman.  No brilliant skills were discovered on this last day, but they were involved in activities to practice the skills they've learned, and I got to enjoy them for one last day.  At 11:45, we all lined up for our 5th graders' final walk, then they went off on their buses for the last time this school year.

It was completely a fabulous day.  I eventually finished packing my room, and checked out for the school year.  I've done a lot of sleeping since, and I'm starting to catch up on the housework I haven't done in months.  But it was a very good day.

I thought you'd like a little freebie from my kids.  Here's a copy of their "Things to do during summer vacation so the TV won't suck out your brain" list!  Enjoy!
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