The End of Year is HERE
How to Manage the Chaos & Have Fun at the Same Time!
I don’t know about you, but our end of the school year post-testing is FILLED with assemblies, activities, field trips and parties galore. The students are antsy, and so am I, as we slowly tick days off of our impending calendar counting down to summer. This can cause anxiety for me, as I think about my NEVER ENDING to do list, and also can cause some anxiety for the kiddos, who might not have such a stable schedule in the summer as they do during the school year. Here are some tips for making the end of the year fun, productive and calm.
First, I keep our schedule and classroom as normal as possible for as long as possible, in order to keep the kids calm. While I know a lot must come down off the walls, and while we have finished teaching our curriculum, it is easiest to manage the chaos when it is as close to normalcy as possible. This way, students know your clear expectations and are less anxious and hyper due to a change in routine.
I try to find as many calming activities that match what we have been doing as possible. We do a lot of fun writing, as this requires a lot of attention from little ones, and can lead to fun culminating projects. We listen to music, work around the room and get really into publishing really great pieces. In math, we do a lot of review and I put out all of their favorite games from throughout the year to try.
I also try to build in some “fun” time each day. We wait until the afternoon, and have to be acting more like third graders than second graders. Our fun time might be a directed drawing, extra recess, a funny read aloud, a craft, free drawing or play time, or even reading buddies with the third graders. Either way, my students work hard all day to earn this fun surprise. I will also use the impending field trips, fun assemblies and other activities as goals for my students to work toward. This means, students are still being held accountable for their behaviors and must earn all fun impending activities. However, I do EVERYTHING I can to ensure that every single student is able to earn all of these activities, because each child really does deserve to be a part of the unique learning experiences at school.
As hard as it can be when you have THAT class, students need constant reminders that you care about them, that you are going to be there for them, and that this summer and next year are going to be great. Try to focus on the positives about the following grade level, and try to introduce them to some of those teachers, if possible. In our school, third grade is in an entirely different hallway upstairs, so some students have not even been there yet. We go up there once or twice for reading buddies, or just to see, so students know what to expect from next year.
Finally, we do have an end of year party. However, we keep it calm. I have students sign an autograph page in their memory books, pass out report cards, watch a movie, read aloud a story and then pass out “class awards”. We talk about our favorite moments this year, and talk about what everyone will be doing this summer. I remind students where they can find me next year, and let them know about all of the exciting parts of third grade. It is usually a very relaxing, fun day. It also allows me to have time to really start taking things off of my walls, and this year, it will allow me to begin moving my materials out of my classroom and into my new classroom.
The end of the year is tough, but YOU’VE GOT THIS!