I know that some of you lucky-ducky teachers have finished for the year already, or are close to it. I, myself, have a solid month left in the classroom. Don't feel too bad for me - we don't go back to class until September! Regardless, if you're like me, it's time to reflect back on the year that was, and maybe even look ahead a little toward next year.
So much has happened this year and my students have grown in so many ways, as I'm sure yours have. I encourage you to make time for a discussion with your students about what each of them has learned this year. What do they know now that they didn't know before? It'll make for an interesting conversation at the very least, and will provide the platform needed for you to try any of the three ideas I have for you below.
Three easy (and low prep) ideas to incorporate into your class as you wrap up your school year!
1) "Our Quilt of Knowledge"
Then, take the squares and arrange them to create a "Quilt of Knowledge". Laminate, if possible, and make sure to show next year's group at "Back to School Time" all of the exciting things that they will learn in their new grade. This would be a perfect "Back to School" bulletin board idea!
2) "A Little Advice for Surviving Grade ___..."
After reflecting back on the year that was, have your students write a short "advice column" to next year's class. Advice should be practical things for the new students - things that your current students wish that they would have been told.
Be sure to take the best "advice columns" and share them with your new class in the fall as a bit of an ice breaker activity. Again, this could make a great display for your new students next year. Two birds - one stone!
3) "A Simple Simile"
After students have had a chance to talk about their year, have them create a simile comparing their school year to something either positive or negative (it's more entertaining to have a mixture of both). Of course, you may have to review what similes are, but it's always fun to see how students have viewed their year. There are always a few sourpusses - that's to be expected. Most students, however, will remember the fun times, the many things that they have learned and compare their year to something positive.
"Grade five was like a roller coaster ride - ups and downs, but mostly just fun!"
"Grade six was like making a really hard jigsaw puzzle, it took a whole year and it wasn't easy, but I finally got all of the pieces in the right places."
Similes could be written on to poster board and laminated, again, looking toward next year's students.
I hope that you have had a fabulous year with your students and that you've learned as much as you've taught! I know I have, as I always do. To those of you still finishing up the year (like me) hang in there - I can see the light!
Krystal Mills is a Grade 7 teacher in Prince Edward Island. She is the author of the Lessons From The Middle blog where she shares lessons from the classroom, and occasionally from her life as a mom of two young boys. The goal of this Canadian teacher blog is to share middle school lessons, activities and ideas from her classroom and to collaborate with the wonderful online community of teachers out there as well!