Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wrapping up a school year, tips and tricks

These last few weeks are so busy and hectic for teachers!  Assessments, end of the year celebrations, fieldtrips, packing up for the year, students excited for the end of the school year and the various other activities that come at the end can be so stressful and overwhelming for even the calmest and most put together teachers!  Here are some tips and tricks to stay sane that I have learned as I end my 21st school year!

1. Keep them learning!  I have taught and retaught every standard, assessed, and have my grades entered.  Now what?  A bored student can drive a teacher crazy!  This is the best part of the year for me, we can do fun, creative units that review whatever standards seem to fit.  In past years I have turned my classroom into a campsite, an ocean, a rainforest, and a airplane that traveled across the globe.  This year we turned our grade level into LEGOLAND!

The students picked a set of Legos, built something, and wrote "How to" papers to see if their friends could follow their directions to rebuild the same structure.  We also had the students work cooperatively to build a given structure in a certain time period.  The most fun was getting to use the 3 sets of Lego WeDo robotics that we were able to get this year!

Our first graders built this kicking foot and helped program the actions.  It is so easy and fun!

2,Be over prepared.

If you think you will have time to do 6 activities in a day, plan 10.  The last weeks I write out my schedule in huge detail.  I list every activity we are doing and when.  This especially helps during our next week when we have some kind of special assembly or party every day.  I need to have the visual. Here is my schedule for today:

I have a few other activities to do just in case something doesn't take as long as I allowed. 
I also have every material I need stacked in order of use down to the very last sharpened pencil.

(Erica Bohrer)

(I have been trying to get to school a few minutes earlier and a few minutes later to have the time to get things ready.  It is worth it to have a smooth day!)

3.Get them moving!
If you noticed from my schedule above, we do some kind of movement activity before we move to something new.  Keeping students moving and active helps my students on task and happy. We love GO NOODLE to help us get the brain breaks we need!
4.Enjoy your students! I make an effort in the midst of the stress to remember what I love about each of my students.  It took months to gain their trust and to make a bond.  I want to use each day to see how special and fun they are and enjoy their humor.  First graders are awesome!
I hope your last few weeks are fun and enjoyable!
Thanks for stopping by!

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