The end of the year is quickly approaching for most schools and religious education programs. For teachers this can be just as stressful that the rest of the year. Many students—especially seniors and 8th graders—“check-out” early in the second semester with a bad case of “senioritis.” Other students wait joyfully in anticipation of the close of the year and lose their motivation. Here are some suggestions for the end of the year that you might consider for your class.
End of the School Year Parties
Yes, the end of the year is known for its parties. Try not to disappoint! Here are some suggestions:
- Take advantage of dress down days, but make sure students still follow necessary dress code rules.
- Suggest a pot luck rather than inviting them to bring their own snacks for the day.
- Have them vote on a movie from a list you have provided and cleared with parents.
- Play some games (see below)
- Be on alert of violations of school rules. For example, the “but my phone is my camera” excuse is becoming very popular.
Test and Final Exams
If you are like me, you are using this time to squeeze in that last bit of learning before it’s too late. Just remember that so is every other teacher. Communicate with other teachers to make sure you’re not double-booking tests and overwhelming the students. Provide students taking final exams for your class plenty of non-stressful review time. Make sure they practice recalling their knowledge using interesting ways to review for a test and fun review games.
End of the Year Worksheets, Handouts, Printables, and Word Searches
Check out some of these sites:
• Crossword Puzzles at Resources for Catholic Educators
• A to Z Teacher Stuff
End of the School Year Games
This is an excellent time for learning AND fun. In fact, most students expect it. Kiss those thoughtful discussions that you had in class back in February good-bye. The absolute best site for games that combine learning and fun is The Catholic Toolbox. Visit this site for a myriad of games and excellent questions that all ages could enjoy. In addition to these and other review games, you might also give the students the opportunity to play some classic classroom games like Head’s-Up Seven-Up or Silent Ball. Don’t know how to play? Ask the kids and they’ll tell you.
End of the School Year Projects
You might consider giving a project for students to work on at the end of the year. This will challenge the students to stay motivated while breaking up the routines of the classroom. Think of some creative ways that students can represent what they have learned throughout the year as a review. For example, students might create a large time line with pictures, text, fun facts, etc. The could represent the information in a poster or a PowerPoint presentation. This is also a good time to encourage or provide the opportunity for service projects and reflection on service.
End of the School Year Poems and Stories
I am thinking of this in two ways: by the teachers and by the students. One of the most memorable things a graduate school professor did for us at the end of his course was create a story that mentioned each member of the class and joked about something they may have done this year. It was about two pages, but it had us all rolling. Give this a shot and make sure you don’t forget anyone! Also, consider having the students reflect on the year by creating stories or poems about either what they have learned or the experiences that have had.
End of the School Year Prayers
Consider giving the students some time to write their own prayers of thanksgiving for the year. Give each student the opportunity to share their prayers and petitions for the summer. You might also consider using prayers from the Lunt Resource site or Celebrate Liturgy site.
End of the Year Surveys
Don’t be afraid to hear what the students have to say. Feedback will only make you a better teacher and catechist. Seek the feedback of your students by asking them to fill out a survey. You might be surprised by some of the things they enjoyed or disliked. For an example of such a survey, visit Joe Paprocki’s blog, The Catholic Journey.
Most of all, I’m looking forward to reading what you have planned for the end of this year. What will you be doing to close out the year? What have your greatest successes and challenges been at the end of the year?