If your state is like mine, there’s a couple of weeks to a month between the time you finish with standardized testing and the last day of school. That time can seem like both a gift and a curse!
You’ll have fun things filling up the calendar like end-of-year parties and Field Day, but there’s also keeping tiny humans engaged and learning through the last day, despite summer being on everyone’s mind! After you’ve been working hard all year long, that can be challenging. So what do you do once testing is over?
I don’t know about you, but there were always some lessons in the curriculum that I couldn’t get to before the end-of-year tests (health standards, I see you). There might also be some topics or skills you had to rush a bit to fit in before testing started.
It’s helpful to take a second look at the curriculum to look for any units, lessons, skills, or strategies that you missed.
If there are, you can keep up student engagement by introducing new content through cross-curricular activities, hands-on projects, and collaborative activities.
You have a few more opportunities to hit those gaps you’ve been working on all year. To reteach content in a new way that keeps both you and your students interested, you can try:
- activities with movement (like 4 Corners or cooperative learning strategies)
- buddying up with a class from a different grade level
- designing activities around a fun theme or classroom transformation
- using art and music in your lessons
- collaborating with specialists and other staff
- inviting a guest speaker or doing a virtual call with an expert in the field
Tackle Student-led Projects
Students will absolutely be more engaged with in-depth projects that use the skills they’ve learned over the year. Plus, project-based learning (PBL) is a great way to reinforce content! Or try a genius hour and encourage them to develop passion projects! Student-led projects based on your kids’ interests are sure to be a winner when the last day countdown is on.
Tech It Up a Notch
Before your technology specialists take back the devices, try some new digital projects. Students can make class memory books in Google Slides™, film themselves making a commercial, get creative with storytelling apps, and more! If you haven’t tried Hour of Code before, that’s definitely an option to add to your list.
Try Something Scary
Hopefully, you’ve been able to try out some new ideas in your classroom during the year, but there isn’t always a lot of wiggle room with testing on the horizon. Now that the pressure is off a bit, you can try that big project that you’ve been keeping on the back burner. If you’re excited about it, you know your students will be, too. Makerspace or escape room, anyone?
Focus on the Kids
We spend weeks at the beginning of the school year getting to know our students and building our classroom community, yet when that last week of school hits, we race to pack up the classroom and rush out the door.
Making time for special class activities and maintaining the routines we’ve had in place all year, like morning meetings, shows our students that we care about them no matter what time of the year it is.
End-of-year projects like memory books, student portfolios, and team-building activities are great ways to celebrate students, wrap up the year, and say goodbye for the summer.
I also love inviting the next grade’s teachers to visit for an introduction, game, or even quick read-aloud!
Reflect on Goals
One last activity to make time for between testing and the last day is reflection. If your students have set goals, now’s a good time for them to look at their progress and think about what the summer and next year might hold.
This is also a good time for teachers to reflect on the year while it’s still fresh in our minds! Grab a free reflection template to get started!
However you spend those last couple of weeks after your statewide testing is done, I hope you and your students enjoy it and each other. You’ve earned it!