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May 17

Teaching Tip: Good Assignments for Those Last Days of School

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For those of us teachers out there the last few weeks of school can be some of the most challenging days in the school year because after pushing testing all year, when the tests have been completed the students have a tendency to think that school is done.  Unfortunately, we usually close our testing window with about a month still to go in the school year.  We are supposed to get them ready for the next school year, but the more I see teachers push that type of curriculum the more classroom management issues they seem to have.

Now it would be easy to just pop in movies, go on a fieldtrip, or hand out another crossword puzzle or word search to pass the time away, but that is not very constructive for you or your students.  So, I try to use this time to teach them about things that we just cannot get to during the school year when we are in such a rush to cover the things that will be in all of those “important” state tests.

Good Assignments for Those Last Days of School

  1. Do a financial unit with them.  Have them research average salaries of different careers and educational levels.  Also make them fill out a monthly as well as yearly budget for themselves if they were to move out of the house and have to pay for all the things they “think” they would need.  It is astonishing how much my middle school students end up wanting to spend for entertainment purposes.
  2. Have your class create a board game and play it.  Make it subject related and have them use knowledge that they picked up throughout the year.  A Trivial Pursuit like game is always easy to create, but you can be creative and have them combine a Settlers of Catan game with Risk.  The sky’s the limit and so are some of your student’s imaginations.
  3. I also like to give my students facts about drugs and alcohol.  I tell them I’m not their parent, I’m not even thier friend, I’m their teacher.  It is my job just to present facts and they take it from there.  We talk a little bit about drugs and how they effect the brain and that the brain is your most important organ, it is basically responsible for everything.  Then I show them some brain scans of people who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol that way they have the facts for when they have to make those life altering decisions.
  4. A good class project, and it will serve as a good parting gift to your students, is to give them a list with everybody’s name on it and they have to write one positive thing about them.  They have to come up with one thing for everybody and once you collect them you type up all the nice things they said about each student organize it so each student gets a letter with all those positive messages.  When I do this I do not put who wrote what about them except for my personal message to them that way nobody else in the class might be embarrassed by what they wrote.
  5. Along the same lines as number 3 I have them write a letter to a staff member of the school it could be the lunch lady, security officer, teacher or principal.  Write a letter telling the school staff member why they are special to them.

Just make sure you make those last few weeks meaningful to them have fun and before you know it the school year will be over.

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