The spring holiday break is over for most of us now. June will be here before you know it. As you prepare for the remaining days of the school year, here are five things to consider when planning for instruction.
1. Revisit Your Expectations
The final weeks of the school year can be the most challenging. Treat the next week like the first week of school. Have an honest discussion with students about classroom routines, behaviors, and procedures. Make it fun and collaborative and you will be able to quickly get back into the flow.
2. Check the Standards
Spend some time with your grade level teammates looking at the progress that your students have made toward the standards. Much can be done and much progress can be made by students over the last quarter of the year. Look at the formative and summative data that you have collected. Are there instructional trends that will impact how and what you teach? Don’t forget to speak with any and all resource teachers for support and ideas.
3. Make a Plan
Once you have identified the instructional areas that you need to focus on, make a plan that will take you through the end of the year. That plan should include student-specific and content-specific goals. It is also a good idea to talk with teachers in the next grade up. If you’re a second grade teacher, ask the third grade teachers what skills their students need to be successful next year.
4. Set Your Students Free
No, I am not suggesting a free-for-all, but the final weeks of the school year are a great opportunity to shift the focus to student-owned learning. Getting students actively involved in the learning process reduces many of the negative behaviors we see in the latter part of the year. Let the students do the teaching, capitalize on their creativity, go outside for some hands-on learning, find as many ways as you can to promote “student talk” over “teacher talk.”
5. Have Fun
Maya Angelou said it best, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
What have you done, or will you do, that your students will remember for years to come? If you don’t have an answer, that’s okay. You have plenty of time left. Plan a fun field trip, invite a guest speaker in, collaborate on an activity with a colleague in another grade. Ask your students what they’d like to do. You’re sure to get some creative answers. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that help students remember how you made them feel. Good luck!