How to Survive the Last Day of Class


In my previous post I talked about ways to survive the last weeks of school, especially when state testing is over.  But now let's talk about how to survive the last day of class.  Before I share some ideas I want to share some ideas of what NOT to do.  These may or may not be from experience.

Don't just try to "wing it", meaning, trying to get through the class period without a plan.   I'll admit there were days during each school year that I had to "wing it" because my original plans fell through, and I actually got through the day pretty well.  However, doing this on the last day of school does not work.  Your students, especially if they are middle school students or beyond, will already be full of energy, and if the teacher doesn't have a plan, the students will take over. 😨

The other activity that I do NOT recommend is a bunch of work that you are going to have to grade.  Big tests and loads of worksheets may keep them busy and quiet, but what teacher wants to be stuck with a handful of papers to grade on the very last day of school?  I would recommend doing these items on the last week of school, but not on the last day.  Give yourself some time to grade the work before the last day.  That way you can still give feedback to your students and you are not left with a stack of work.  

Now I would like to share two activities that I started doing on the last day.  The students have loved these and they are low-stress for both students and teacher.  The first activity is a letter.  I have my students write a letter to my future students.  I have them write what they think the students should know so they can be successful in my class.  These are fun to read, and they are actually really helpful for my next year's students.  I always proofread them first, but at the beginning of the next school year I hand them out to students to read.  They love reading them, and they tend trust their peers more doing their teenage years, so it works out great.

The second activity I do is a fun review game.  I have always done this in groups of 3-4 students, thought it certainly could be doing in pairs or individually.  I hand out the following paper. 
I then give the students 5 minutes to fill in each box with a term or concept that they have learned this year.  Each word must start with the letter in the box.  After 5 minutes, the students take turns sharing their answers and scoring their grid.  They receive one point for each box they filled if and only if nobody else had their same word.  The students have really enjoyed this activity, and it's a great way for them to review concepts that we have learned throughout the year. I have attached a link to the pdf document so you can download and use in your classroom.

Congratulations on another successful year of teaching!
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