My first principal (I broke in quite a few over the years) had a few tenets that he swore by. One of them was “DON’T STOP TEACHING” (this was before capital letters were considered offensive). At the end of each year, he had a (typed) memo that he gave us with a list of 35 things that you had to do to get your last paycheck: inventory your room, collect books, turn in summer address, turn in your technology (which consisted of an overhead and filmstrip projector) and a host of other things. Tucked in amongst those items at item # 17 was “DON’T STOP TEACHING.” It was good advice, students were bored with busy work or erasing the marks out of their books. I found giving them meaningful collaborative tasks (besides erasing the blackboard/whiteboard/hard drive), kept them learning and kept me sane!
Now is a great time to break out some simple technology infused activities to jazz up your final days. Here are somethings I have tried:
Vocab Videos: Borrowing the idea from the Vocab Video site that features great videos done by students to illustrate SAT vocabulary words, I had my students make a short video for any of the vocabulary words we used all year. Using the videos from site as a model, my understood the basic format expected. They came up with great, creative work, using webcams, cell phones or whatever video equipment and Windows Movie Maker. We shared them in class and have saved them to share with future classes. A great review for them, appropriate for any subject area, and you can even have students vote on them using www.polleverywhere to award Oscars. Your students will be engaged until the last bell of the last day!
Want to keep kids writing?
There are more than 59 different engaging tools at readwritethink.org. You can have students make comic strips, do “Eye on Idioms,” write poetry, generate trading cards for characters, etc. These simple and engaging tools even come with lesson plans! They do not require registration, just send them to the site and they are off!
You could have students write a newspaper article/press release about all they accomplished this year and use the very simple “newsclipping generator” to turn it into a newspaper clipping.
How about keeping them reading?
You’ll find lots of great articles geared for kids interests at tweentribune. Students will find highly engaging articles in their area of interest: fashion, food, movies, animals, school, science, health, sports, technology, US or World. Articles, geared to kids, range from teachers eating bugs (who would not want to read about that?) or elephants playing harmonicas. Have them find an article in their interest area and write a blog entry on it.
Looking for some Math activities?
Have them watch some of these Mathsnacks or develop their own?
Looking for more low tech?
Check out these Top 12 Effective End of the Year Activities from Teachhub. You’ll find a great list of ideas to chose from.
Of course, students love using social media type tools like the SCAN discussion tool at TregoED or CollaborizeClassroom. You can engage your students in guided online discussions on issues that concern them – like locker searches, bullying or cell phones in school as they read write and think critically.
The bottom line is that getting students involved in engaging tech infused activities can “keep them learning” until the last bell has rung. What has worked for you?