The end of the school year is full of emotions, stress and exhaustion. The to do lists are long. The student energy is high, while the teacher energy seems to be nonexistent. We want to end the year on a high note, but sometimes we are just causing ourselves undue stress.  There are several mistakes that a teacher can make at the end of the year even though they mean well. These mistakes will make the end of the year even more difficult. 1. Completely Changing the Routine Try your best to keep the routine in tact, even at the end of the year. I know that some days this will be next to impossible. There are assemblies, field trips, open house and so many other school events that flip our daily routine upside down. You can't change those things, but every other day- keep the routine! If you have been doing reading groups all year, keep having reading groups. You don't have to do the exact same thing in those reading groups. Maybe you want to do a book club instead...
During the last weeks or days of school, I am looking for fun ways to celebrate with my students. During the year we have become such great friends and I want to end the year with a bang! Having theme days during that last week can be so much fun. You can sneak in academics if you need to, or you can just make it a celebration. It's up to you!  Here are 12 classroom theme day ideas: 1. Camping Day The kids always love it when I transform the classroom into a camp site! We move the desks out of the way and students bring in sleeping bags and flashlights or lanterns. I play a YouTube channel that has a camp fire with crackle sounds. Students can read by flashlight.  It is also fun to celebrate your student authors by having them read their most recent story. Don't forget to serve s'mores for a snack! You can make solar ovens and make them outside or just put Golden Graham cereal, marshmallows and chocolate chips in a baggie for a less messy version. ...
I wrote this post a couple of years ago, but I still think that this is some of the best end of year advice that I can give you! I decided it would be worth sharing again! Plus, the beginning made me laugh so hard! So here goes... I have three days left with students and then three teacher days before summer break. I am exhausted! I fall asleep as soon as I get home from school and I honestly don't have the energy to to be nice to most people. (Just ask my husband.) I wake up in the middle of the night after having nightmares about end of year videos, classroom checkout lists and data spreadsheets. The struggle is real. And even though I can barely remember the last time I washed my hair, I am super proud to say that I will be leaving for summer break knowing that I am prepped for back to school. Dang, that feels GOOD! If I could do it, in my current state of exhaustion, you can do it too! I started by making a list of tasks and things that needed to be prepped for A...
Do you have struggling writers who just don't seem to be growing? Do you have reluctant writers who don't seem to get much writing completed? In every class that I have ever taught, there has always been a handful of kiddos that just don't like writing. These students can be toughest to reach. You have to get creative! Here are my top ten ways to help those struggling writers: 1. Daily Writing Instruction All students, and especially struggling writers, need daily writing instruction. They need a mini lesson that focuses on a writing skill. Simply having students write in a journal is not sufficient. They will just continue to write the way that they always have. The daily lesson does not have to be long. In fact, short lessons are best! 2. Give More Time to Write Students become better writers with practice. Unfortunately, teachers like to talk. The ten minute mini lesson can easily become a 20 minute lesson. We have to cut down on the teacher talk and...
Do you have reluctant writers? You know- those students that stare into space the entire time that they are supposed to be writing? Do you have bored writers- students who watch the clock during wring? How about adding some fun to your writer's workshop! I have some simple ideas for you! 1. Let Students Choose Their Own Writing Topic How many times has a student come bounding up to you to tell you about something that happened to them? They can't wait to tell us their stories! They are excited. Use this excitement to increase the fun in writing, by allowing them to choose the topic of their stories. I teach writing in units. Therefore, I do tell my students that they need to write a personal narrative during that particular unit and an informational report during that unit. However, I let them write about any topic that excites them within that genre.  2. Provide Fun Writing Materials Do you have a favorite pen? That's a silly question! We are teachers! Obvio...