I originally published these after-testing ideas for ELA teachers several years ago, but the lessons and examples are still applicable today. This post features lesson ideas I used as a 4th grade teacher. Many of them can be modified for middle school use as well!
Insert sigh of relief HERE! When state testing comes to a close, we all feel a little weight off of our shoulders…
But the end of the school year is it’s own animal, right? A wild animal or maybe even a BEAST. We have learning that still needs accomplishing, endless tasks that need completing, and grading that is never-ending.
My awesome fourth graders are finishing strong with our Andrew Clements author study, busily navigating writer’s workshop and writing our last fictional narratives, and tackling preparations for our end of the year musical. Clearly, we have loads of important work to complete.
My students have been diligent and are a bit like caged tigers at this point in the school year. They are ready and willing to continue to work, but are a little chattier, a bit lethargic about class work, and a
little LOT excited for summer.
While I want them to be self-motivated, I plan to do what it takes to get us all to the finish line in one piece. Incentives seem to bring out the best in them, so I am ready with a plan of attack. There are a few things my students absolutely LOVE and will have the chance to earn at the end of the next four weeks…
- board/card game time
- extra reading time
My students and I have less than four weeks until we say good-bye and I send them off into the fun that is summer vacation. So if incentives make them work a bit more thoughtfully, so be it!
Each week until we head off into the summer sunset, my students will have some “Friday Fun” to look forward to for the last 30-minutes of our school day. Here is my plan of attack:
Week 1: Will work for Popsicles!
They earned their popsicles and are excited to see what fun will be had this week…
Week 2: Game time in the Sun!
This Friday students will have the chance to head outside and play some fun board games or these perfect summer-themed Target Dollar Spot card games on beach towels. Games give them the chance to interact, strategize, and have fun!
Week 3: Reader’s Theater in the Butterfly Garden
My students LOVE reader’s theater. They love to take on the different characters and perform in front of their peers. This week we will take our reader’s theater fun OUTSIDE. Because we are heading into the home stretch of our year, this is a favorite…
Week 4: Beach Ball Dodgeball
Close to the very last day of school my students will each get a beach ball. We will blow them up, head outside, and play a rousing game of beach ball dodgeball. Even your most non-competitive kiddos will LOVE this! At the end of our game, students will sign each other’s beach ball, and take them home as a fun keepsake to remember our fun year.
My goal is to help them finish our year as strong as possible. We will head outside to change the scenery for learning, but not change the high expectations. Structure will be maintained, and we will complete our work, but a little added fun will make our time sweeter. We will keep up the rigor because they need to meet the expectations of their teachers when they head to fifth grade.
If you are finding your students a little less than inspired at this point in the school year, don’t be afraid to dangle a few carrots or get them up and moving, we all win in the end! This is my latest find…
These are the perfect tool to engage students in an outdoor brain break workout. I am not afraid to use these as often as needed…
Students get into a giant circle with the dice in the middle of the circle. Depending on how many students in your class, each student gets a chance to roll 2 or 4 dice. Students add up the number on the dice and complete whatever exercise you challenge them to do. Whole class engagement+energy burning=FUN!
- jumping jacks
- toe touches
- arm circles
- high knees
- butt kicks
- push ups
- sit ups
- mountain climbers
Your students will be more excited to do this work out than you think, I promise.
Enjoy these last weeks! Here are a few more end of school year activities to try with your class. Have FUN! Happy ALMOST Summer!