I am a 3rd grade teacher. I am thinking: we are done with state testing, spring is in the air, the weather is gorgeous, and it is so hard for the kids and I to stay focused. With 5 or 6 weeks left of school, what can I do to finish strong?
Dear Easily Distracted,
We hear what you’re saying, and we’ve heard this cry across the nation’s classrooms. The last few weeks of school are challenging, and it’s tempting for both teachers and students to slack off. Actually, the opposite needs to happen. It’s important that you step up the intensity and quality of your program and finish the year on a strong, positive note.
Some things that might be fun are small group projects that interest students. Divide the class into small groups and let students choose their topic, create a lesson plan, and prepare a presentation.
Field trips are also fun. Walking ones cost nothing. You can walk to the nearest hospital or senior center. Have the students make cards or flower bouquets. The patients will love the gesture, and the kids will feel warm and fuzzy, too. You can call to arrange to visit your local credit union to set up an account for the students, or visit your local supermarket after a teaching a unit on nutrition. You can also visit or invite a local realtor near you school to speak. You can learn about math, careers, and working hard all at once.
The options are pretty much unlimited. For even more ideas, visit our free Lesson Plan Bank where you find grade-appropriate, pillar-linked, and standards-based lessons. Oh yes, one more idea: READ, READ, READ. For ideas, check out our list of books that build character that is searchable by age and pillar.
So, we’ve given you a few kid ideas for work and projects to help your students “finish strong,” but what about you? You may want to catch up on some reading. Now might be the time to read educational articles or books and cultivate some new ideas for next year. You can reflect on what worked this year and jot down those ideas so you have them ready for the fall. You can even get started planning next fall’s CC! Week activities by downloading our first installment of free CC! Week resources.
Finally, take some time for YOU! You’ve earned it, so if you can, leave school when the kids do. Get home at a reasonable time (maybe even while it’s still light out!). Go to the gym, take a walk, or fix a favorite meal for your family. We know you give all year long, and we thank you for it. Taking time for yourself now at the end of the school year will result in more energy, which will translate into more relaxed and enjoyable last few weeks.
The CC! National Office
P.S. Here’s a suggestion for anyone reading this article: Take time to thank a teacher for all that they do. They have devoted all of their time and energy to their students for nine months. They deserve to hear from you. You can do it in an email or note, and it doesn’t have to be long, just a “Thank You” for something they’ve done to help you, or your child, or even someone else. It will go a long way.