As the end of the school year approaches, there’s a fine balance between keeping the same routine you’ve had all year for your students and adding in a little bit of fun – while not allowing the students to have free reign and think summer break has come early. By now, you know your students and what they can handle. And they know what the expectations in your classroom are so they don’t push the limits like they may have tried to at the beginning of the school year. Now that you know what types of games and activities you can trust them with, here are some ideas to break up the norm at the end of the year.
Students Become Subject Matter Experts
Students can become subject matter experts and teach the class about what they learned. You choose the subject and students pick a subtopic from a hat, or choose a subtopic they’re interested in, and research it to become an expert. For example, if the subject is math, a subtopic could be how an equation in math came to be. If the subject is science, a subtopic could be about an invention in science. If the subject is English, a subtopic could be an author. You get the idea! This project allows students to show what they know and helps them teach each other instead of listening to an adult day in and day out.
Discussions & Debates
Having a discussion or debate about age-appropriate current events, topics, or ideas you’ve taught throughout the year may work for some classes and not for others. It just depends on the personality of your class. This is a great way to get students thinking differently, listening to their peers, forming their own opinions, and challenging norms and perspectives.
Another way to have a discussion or debate is through different reading materials. Have your students read something they wouldn’t normally read, then have them compare it to what you’re reading in class and discuss any themes that emerge. For example, you could have your students read a poem and you read a comic out loud, then discuss themes, similarities, and differences.
Write a Novel
For all the English and Writing teachers out there, have your students write you an end-of-year novel. NaNoWriMo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes your story matters. Its entire program is available for free online, including a teacher’s guide and student’s guide. The student guide can be printed out for the students to fill out. This project helps students realize how far they’ve come learning grammar, reading, and writing. They end up creating masterpieces, such as comic books, historical fiction, science fiction, or whatever genre interests them.
Design Something New
A popular activity in classrooms is to incorporate math by having students design an escape room or theme park. To create an escape room students put clues around the classroom and a different group of students must escape the room by solving the clues. If they’re designing a theme park, every method of math and science can be used to figure out the exact design and dimensions of their theme park.
Having class outside, even for 10 minutes once a week, is psychologically good for you and your students. It reduces stress, improves mood, provides a natural energy boost, encourages better class teamwork, and promotes all-around better health.
Make Your Class More Interactive
Online presentation tools like Pear Deck are a great way to transform presentations into classroom conversations by having your students answer inside of a PowerPoint. However, if you’ve been using a tool like Pear Deck throughout the year, it won’t seem as exciting for students.
Playing games like Kahoot is another way to make end-of-year learning more engaging. If your students sit in their seats for most of the school day, have them stand up and write on the board more; or whenever they have the answer to a question, they must walk to the back of the room and whoever touches the wall first gets to answer the question. Anything that changes up the norm and incorporates movement will be a hit!
Changing up the classroom routine as the end of the year approaches is a great way to avoid end of year burnout. Introducing non-traditional resources and teaching methods allows students to try something new while putting all the knowledge they’ve learned in the past school year to work and helping them to end the year on a fun, positive note.
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