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How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School?

What do we really need to do those last few weeks of school?

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

Hopefully, by this point in the year, you are done with testing, and pretty much finished with all the "have tos."  Even if you're not quite done teaching everything, I hope you have some time for some end of the year fun!
 

Here are some things you can put into your plans for the last few weeks of school:

 
1. Deepen Learned Skills
 
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
 
Brain research tells us that we need to review skills in order to maintain them and to deepen them. That means fun activities and games to practice those important skills you've built all year! 
 
This bundle has several fun options for reviewing and deepening skills!
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
 
2. Prepare for summer habits

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
 
We want our students to continue some important habits they've developed through the school year. This is a great time to introduce some fun games!
 
Here are the links to a few posts that tell about classroom games that can be played at home:
 

 
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

Plus, here's one to encourage them to enjoy reading! (This is one you can work on all year!)

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!


3. Make the Last Days Special

 

It's time for using those skills they've worked on all year for some fun projects!

It's a perfect time of year for putting on a play or performance of some sort. These activities build important reading skills as well as building community and team work.  Here's a post with more information on Dramatics in the Classroom


I absolutely LOVE Boom Learning Digital Task Cards! These are easy to assign, and the students love them! Check out this bundle: Science and Social Studies Vocabulary Building Bundle
 

These are a great way to develop vocabulary for Science and Social Studies. They use brain researched strategies such as Retrieval Practice, which is explained here:

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

4. Share Memories


How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!

This is a great time of year to sit back and enjoy the special memories the group has made this year. 
 
It's easy to make a memory book, or a slide show with photos from the year. I've always had the children write down their favorite memories from the year a few weeks before the end of the school year. This gives me time to type things up into a nice book. I've also found parents are quite helpful in donating photos from school events.

These are special memories for them (and you) to cherish forever. I still have memory books from many years past, and I love remembering my former students!
 
5. Enjoy them
How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!
My favorite thing to do at the end of the school year is to take the time to enjoy these special children. I know, it's not easy! Between end of year testing, packing up the classroom, and report cards, there's little time left. But these kids are totally worth it, aren't they?  Here's a blog post that suggests some fun ways to enjoy the students. Take time to Enjoy them!
 

Enjoy these last few weeks with your students!

How Can I Prepare for the Last Weeks of School? This post has 5 suggestions for making those last few weeks special!



 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom

 In the mid 1980s I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test and found out I was an ISFJ.

That stands for: Introverted/ Sensing/ Feeling/ Judging. 

That's my personality type. It took me a while, but after a lot of research, I grew to understand and appreciate what it all means, and who I am.

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

The part I struggled with the most? The introverted part. I guess I just didn't understand what an introvert is. I knew I enjoyed my time with people, so I must be an extrovert, right?

Then I realized I was stuck on myths and didn't quite understand what those words meant.  

 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Here Are Some MYTHS About Introverts:

  • Introverts are shy.
  • Introverts want to be alone.
  • Introverts are anti-social.
  • Introverts are quiet.
  • Introverts don't take risks.
  • Introverts don't like fun.
  • Introverts are hard to get to know.

Here Are Some MYTHS About Extroverts:

(Note: Sometimes this is spelled extravert. Either spelling is acceptable.)
  • Extroverts love to talk.
  • Extroverts are happier than introverts.
  • Extroverts are more confident.
  • Extroverts don't listen.
  • Extroverts are loud.
  • Extroverts are "attention hogs."
  • Extroverts are the "life of the party."
  • Extroverts don't experience anxiety.
  • Extroverts never need "alone time" 
  • Extroverts are easy to get to know 
There is some truth to most of these statements about introverts and extroverts, but there is a whole lot more to these stories!
 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Here Are Some TRUTHS About Introverts:

  • Introverts are quickly drained by social interaction.
  • Introverts enjoy alone time.
  • Introverts are good listeners.
  • Introverts are reflective.
  • Introverts are observers.
  • Introverts prefer small groups or one-on-one to large groups 
  • Introverts prefer to think things through before talking or acting.
  • Introverts take longer to make decisions.
  • Introverts like time with friends, but prefer to do it on own terms.
  • Introverts experience anxiety about making phone calls.
  • Introverts prefer to write rather than talk.
  • Introverts have difficulty with multitasking and adjusting to a constantly changing environment.
  • Introverts need quiet to concentrate.
  • Introverts can be perceived as "stand-offish" or even "snobby,"
  • Introverts don't like being the center of attention, but don't want to be ignored.

Here Are Some TRUTHS About Extroverts

  • Extroverts don't mind being the center of attention, and often love it.
  • Extroverts take well to networking.
  • Extroverts show feelings easily.
  • Extroverts love to talk.
  • Extroverts prefer to talk through problems.
  • Extroverts make quick decisions.
  • Extroverts prefer to work with background noise.
  • Extroverts get bored when alone for long periods.
  • Extroverts acts before thinking.
  • Extroverts feel energized and inspired by socializing.

 Now Here's One BIG Truth About Introverts and Extroverts:

 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

It's a scale! No one is completely introverted or completely extroverted!

We all draw from both sides!

Sometimes people use the term "ambiverts" for people who fall near the middle of the scale. I prefer not to use that term because pretty much everyone shows indicators of both preferences at some point. However, most people lean more toward one preference or the other.

Here's a quote from THIS article that explains it well:

"Extroversion and introversion refer to where people receive energy from. Extroverts are energized by socializing in larger groups of people, having many friends, instead of a few intimate ones while introverts are energized by spending time alone or with a smaller group of friends

The big takeaway: It’s not how you act but what situations you thrive in and get energy from." 

 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Well-Known Introverts

  • Bill Gates
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Meryl Streep
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Emma Watson
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Elton John
  • Lady Gaga
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Albert Einstein
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
 Well-Known Extroverts
  • Oprah
  • Tom Hanks
  • Steve Jobs
  • Bill Clinton
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Jim Carrey
  • Madonna
  • Winston Churchill
  • Ben Franklin
  • Beyonce 
 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Believe it or not, I recently read this information (in THIS article) that shows a significant difference in how brains react.

"Introvert brains react differently to dopamine than extrovert brains do. That's a chemical that turns on the reward- and pleasure-seeking part of your brain. Introverts and extroverts have the same amount of the chemical, but extrovert brains get an excited buzz from their reward center. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to just feel run-down by it."

I've been studying this stuff since the 80s, and this really explains WHY we have these personality differences! We're chemically different!

I suspect by now you've thought about which side of the scale you fall upon, as well as your students. One thing to be careful about: when introverts are comfortable with someone, they'll become quite chatty! Don't let that lead you to believe they're extroverted! (Many people have confused me with being an extrovert because I become passionate about certain things, like brain research, and won't stop talking about it!) 

There are plenty of introverts as well as extroverts in your classroom. (Studies show it's close to 50-50.) It's impossible to cater to all their needs, all the time. (Nor is it in their best interest.) But here are some suggestions for supporting each preference and helping them be successful in your classroom.

 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Suggestions to Support the Introverts in Your Classroom:

  • Make sure there are "quiet" times in your classroom.
  • Give them time to think before they are expected to talk.
  • Know their interests and passions and encourage these.
  • Be sure to have one-on-one time with these students.
  • Post a daily schedule and stick to a routine so they'll know what's coming up.
  • Do "Reader's Theater" or a class play. (Believe it or not, many introverts shine with these genres!)
  • Make sure there are places where they can be by themselves. (nooks and crannies)
  • Help them work to develop friendships. (This is very difficult for introverts!)
  • Use notes or email for communication.
  • Remember, introverts get lonely, too! Make sure they have interactions with others and an opportunity to bond with classmates. Just keep it on a small scale!

 

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs

Suggestions to Support the Extroverts in Your Classroom:

In general, most classrooms are designed for extroverts. (Just look at the amount of students in the room!)
  • Give them plenty of opportunities to talk.
  • Let them "call out" sometimes, without require raising hands.
  • Give choices: work alone, with a partner, with a group.
  • Give choices: oral report, written report.
  • Allow for group discussions on what they're learning and books they've read.
  • Be flexible with the schedule.
  • Embrace them. 
 
Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs
 

Suggestions to Support the All Students in Your Classroom:

  • Share information about introversion and extroversion and help them understand who they are. Make sure they know they are an important part of the classroom! (Make sure there are plenty of reminders that one way isn't better than the other way!)
  • Include Morning Meeting in your day, and make it clear that this is a safe place.
  • Be a role model, verbalizing your respect for the differences in students. Show that you celebrate those differences. 
  • When setting up your classroom, include areas for large groups, small groups, and individuals. Let children use them all.
  • Give choices: work alone, with a partner, with a group.
  • Give choices: oral report, written report.
  • Give choices: read with a partner, read alone. 
  • Touch base with all students daily, whether it be a group conversation, a one-on-one conversation, or just a quick not. They all need you.
  • Don't hesitate to challenge them by going out of their comfort zone, but only a bit. (We don't want to traumatize them!)
  • Embrace them for who they are. Celebrate who they are. Enjoy who they are. 

Years ago, I did a series of posts about the Myers-Briggs Personality Types, which I learned about during my Masters program. Here's a post about Introversion and Extroversion:

Myers-Briggs Part 2: How Do You Find Your Energy?

 
The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator Part 2: How do you find your energy?

When I grew to truly understand what an introvert is, I grew to be proud of who I am. Unfortunately, this didn't happen until I was in my 30s. Hopefully, our children will learn who they are and appreciate themselves at a much younger age!

 

The Final Lesson:

All types need each other! 

 

Introverts become artists, writers, architects, librarians, psychologists, scientists, chefs, ITs, journalists, and accountants. 

 
Extroverts become managers, real estate agents, lawyers, politicians, salespeople, managers, event planners, nurses, life coaches, and human relations specialists.

Don't we need ALL these people? Of course, since most people fall closer to the middle of both preferences, our children really can be anything they want to be!

And I've known many, many teachers who fall under both preferences who are highly successful!

Introverts vs Extroverts in the Classroom: This post shares information about both personality types, and suggests ways teachers can meet their needs


Why Encourage Team Building in the Elementary Classroom?

Why should we encourage Teamwork in the Elementary Classroom? 

This post tells some benefits of Team Building activities in the classroom and some ideas for including these class bonding activities with your students.

I've encouraged children to work as a team in my classroom for many years. Although they're not necessarily going to score better on those high stakes tests, working as a team helps children develop many important skills!
 
This post tells some benefits of Team Building activities in the classroom and some ideas for including these class bonding activities with your students.
 

Here are some of the skills children learn from team building activities:

  • communication
  • collaboration
  • listening
  • time management
  • problem solving
  • putting others first
  • conflict management
 
Interesting, some might say these are "life skills!" Yes, these are skills that children need to develop to be successful in life, which I feel is far more important than being successful on tests!

 

This post tells some benefits of Team Building activities in the classroom and some ideas for including these class bonding activities with your students.

These are some activities to encourage teamwork in the classroom:

  • morning meeting activities
  • shared stories
  • project based learning
  • STEM or STEAM projects
  • put on a class play
  • relay races
  • team trivia
  • partner work
  • plan a class party
  • scavenger hunts 
  • educational games, played as teams
I'm sure you can think of plenty more, even activities connected to your curriculum! Make sure to mention that the goal is to "work as a team," and "look out for the others!"
 
This post tells some benefits of Team Building activities in the classroom and some ideas for including these class bonding activities with your students.
 
Most important, motivate them to encourage others! Make sure these words are used often! 
  • Good job!
  • You can do it!
  • Awesome job!
  • You are incredible!
  • You figured it out!
  • You're on the right track!
  • You make it look easy!
  • That's the way!
  • You've got this! 
  • I can see you're really trying!

Here's an idea: let them make a list of more encouraging words, and display them for children to use as a reference. Be sure to model using encouraging words for your whole class team!

This post tells some benefits of Team Building activities in the classroom and some ideas for including these class bonding activities with your students.

 Looking for more ideas on encouraging Team Building? Here are several links for you!

 

This post tells some benefits of Team Building activities in the classroom and some ideas for including these class bonding activities with your students.


 

Five Hints to Help Avoid False Praise and Give Valuable Feedback

How do you feel about false praise? 

You know, when someone tells you that you've done a great job, when in your heart, you know you haven't?

 

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
 
One time, I was working hard with an exercise video when the instructor said, "Great job!"  I remember thinking... how does she know I'm doing a great job? I could be sitting here eating a bowl of potato chips, and that's not doing a good job!

I've also had people compliment me on things that I know weren't my best work. How do I feel about it?

Well, honestly, it makes me lose my trust in that person. And it frustrates me. I'm sure your students feel the same way. 

Students absolutely need feedback, and they need to develop self worth. But false praise is NOT the way to get there! 

Here are a few suggestions for avoiding praise and giving feedback that matters:

 
 1. Know your students! It's important that you know your students. Not only academically, but personally. Know what they feel good about and what they're sensitive about.

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
 
 2. Follow the "2 to 1" rule! This means, two compliments and one "you need to work on" item. Of course you wouldn't just say, "great job" or "you're awesome." Make sure they are genuine compliments, which shouldn't be tough to find. As long as you see any effort at all, that can be one of your compliments. It's also important that you always give them something specific to work on.


 3. Make sure your students know you! Let them know about the things you struggle with as well as your successes. When you make mistakes, let them see you model correcting mistakes. When you struggle with something, let them see you processing your way through the struggle.
Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

4. Make sure your students trust you! This tip goes right along with #3, making sure they know you, but it goes beyond knowledge. Trust is something that must be earned, so this won't happen the first weeks of school. By the time the initial "get to know you" period is done, the students should absolutely know you can be trusted.

 Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

 5. Always, always, always be honest! If you tell the students they're good at something, and they know they're not, you've lost their trust. When you give information about something they need to work on, and it's honest, you'll gain their trust. And that's more valuable than anything!

Since feedback is such a valuable part of learning, I've written several other blog posts about feedback. Here are some links.


 Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
 

Five Useful Tips and Tricks!

 

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
 

The Importance of Failure

 
Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback

 What kind of praise do you give in the classroom?

How do you keep it honest and genuine?

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!






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