Usually, at the end of the year I try to rely on either: 1) staying in traditional instruction even as it becomes almost impossible due to the schedule interruptions and students finding it hard to focus. Or 2) I plan to stay in traditional instruction and when it doesn’t work I desperately improvise on the fly.
This year I’ve got a few new ideas thanks to discussions on the #teachmindful Thursday evening chat on Twitter. This is how it looks in my first grade classroom.
- Return to units we’ve enjoyed in the past, but for which I ran out of time. Our plants unit was particularly interesting, and we returned to writing about plants and now I’m making them a digital plant book from what they wrote.
- I also had a few cut and paste projects we never had time for, so I re-showed a youtube video to support the lesson (on the frog life cycle, for example) and then they did the cut and and paste.
- If you have students that want to work on independent projects, let them. Two GT students are working on a book about Easter Eggs using a teacher-made blank book.
- Review the material they didn’t get yet. I had my struggling readers group doing phonics exercises I had done with the rest of the class in the fall but which these kids were just now ready for.
- Dig in the closet and see if there’s anything you didn’t do or that you want to do again. We got out the clock puzzles which they couldn’t do back in February but now they can.
- Do the art or building projects you couldn’t do because of time constraints earlier in the year. Stuff like marshmallow and toothpick buildings and plaster of paris Bigfoot tracks.
- Use up all the stuff in the supply cupboard! We had extra construction paper, so they made woven paper place mats. No more “mindless busywork,” but now, a maker space! Let them draw big pictures with the leftover markers. If you need a curriculum link, tell them their work has to respond to a book they liked this year.
- Don’t forget to give away any remaining consumable books. To get them started on using the books over the summer, have them spend half an hour doing whatever page they like before putting them in the backpacks.