Tips, Tricks & Survival Guide for
Making It Through May
If you are reading this post then CONGRATULATIONS! It means you have made it through the majority of the year, and you are likely staring down the last full month of school in the eyes. This is an exciting and a scary feeling, as your kiddos are probably on edge due to a myriad of different stresses in their lives. They have the wonder of the next grade level coming up, the pressures of end of year testing, and the unknown of summer. Summer can be great for some kiddos, but for a lot of kids this lack of schedule and change in routine can create anxiety. Here are some tips and tricks to get through the month of May by calming kids nerves and helping them regulate their emotions, rather than a headache of parent emails and stressful days.
Extra Recess or Time Outside
It is getting nicer and nicer outside.. you are already dreaming of the hot days of summer spent on your patio or by the pool, and so are your kiddos. Giving them extra time outside can help embrace this excitement in a healthy way. Let students earn this privilege of extra recess, or even take your books outside for a reading or math lesson under the sun. Either way, a little fresh air and vitamin D is a great way to keep students excited and motivated through May.
Coloring and Craft Activities
Coloring is a great way for students to work on fine motor skills while also utilizing a great calming skill. The attention to detail and ability to lose themselves in an intricate coloring activity is a great way to relieve stress while having fun and doing something productive. This is the same with most craft activities, and these can be easy to link to whatever science, social studies or reading unit that you are currently working on.
Sustained Quiet Reading or Math Time
Give students 15 minutes each day to get lost in a book. This is a great way to calm your entire class while also letting them engage in a good book. We turn off the lights, find a cozy spot around the room, grab a great book (or multiple picture books that will last the entire time) and we just drop everything and read! The kids love this time, and it is a nice, relaxing way for students to cool down while still practicing vital reading skills. This is also a great way to practice math facts. My students love to work on Coloring Squared pages for a sustained amount of time. This combines both math and coloring in a productive way.
Playing quiet music is a great motivator for students. They love listening, and if you tell them they need to stay quieter than the music, it becomes a game for them. Plus, instead of chatting or talking out of turn, students might sing along or hum with the tunes, which is much more productive than chatting with their neighbors.
Stretch Breaks and Breathing Exercises
Your kids are going to be extra wiggly and will need extra opportunities to stretch their muscles and expend some of that extra energy. Go Noodle is great to get students blood flowing with engaging videos, but it is also a great way to calm students down with the use of their “Flow” section, which provides various breathing and stretching videos. These are great to get students in the right mind to before a test, or a great way to calm students down after recess.
Students can reflect on their awesome year and throw themselves into a productive writing and coloring activity by completing end of year memory books. These books can allow them to reflect on fun field trips, new skills they have learned that they are proud about, fantastic friendships that have formed and think forward about their future. My students LOVE making memory books. Snag the ones above in my store here.
Buddying up with students in the upcoming grade level is a great way for students to ask questions and calm their nerves about the unknown of next year. My second grade students love the opportunity to visit third grade rooms, talk to third grade students and teachers, and also show off their new and improved second grade reading skills that they have worked all year to perfect.
End of Year Celebrations
Keep students motivated to have good behavior by planning a fun end of year celebration to commemorate all of the growth and progress students have made this year. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. I usually send out a sign up for parents to bring in supplies such as treats, drinks, napkins, and favors for the kiddos. We do this on our last day of school, which for us is usually a half day. One way to keep it calm is by playing a movie and shutting off the lights. Kids love this and then there is minimal work for you. You can also ask parents to plan games or fun activities to occupy the kids.
Recognize hard work in the classroom by passing out awards for growth or excellence in different areas of school. Our entire school has an assembly to honor one student from each class being recognized for EITHER hard work or excellence in math, reading, character and all around excellence. You can also do a class-based awards ceremony and highlight individual students’ strengths. This is a great way to encourage individuality and to recognize students’ unique needs and hobbies.
There are many great read alouds to amp students up for summer! One of my students’ favorites is “The Night Before Summer Vacation,” but there are also many books about the future that you can read to your students to help motivate them such as “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss and “When I Grow Up” by Al Yankovich.
I hope that you found this blogpost helpful for your classroom! Please feel free to leave feedback below, and follow my blog for more tips and tricks. There will be one new post every Monday throughout 2018! Enjoy 🙂