Turn that Countdown Around

I used to love the countdown, 20 more days until school is over, thank goodness!  What a way to excite the kids and make sure they had no focus the last month of school.  So I stopped it in my room but then realized that others still had them up in the hallways.  Hmm, I could not walk around and ask everyone not to do it (sorry Kirk) so I instead I chose to work with it.

This year since about 18 days left of school, we have mentioned just how many days are left, but instead of heralding summer vacation’s arrival, we have focused on all we need to get done.  In previous years, I would let the kids meander a bit, read leisurely, and finish projects while going at their own speed.  Not this year.  In fact, I just introduced a final project Thursday with only 4 days left to complete it.  These kids love it.  Instead of being bored in their classroom waiting for that last magical bell to freedom, there is a sense of urgency or purpose within my room.  My students ask for projects and ask to be challenged, and I am happy to oblige.

It is this sense of urgency that has propelled us all year.  We have not rushed but rather focused on our goals and set timelines that accommodates everyone.  If someone finished early, they got more time for an extension project.  There is always learning to be done.  So as the countdown continues and is now at 4 days left, my students cannot believe it.  “You mean this year is over?  But it just started!”  This year has rushed by, much like time tedns to do, and yet we have accomplished more than what we set out to do.  We cherish the moments we still have left and work hard to learn even more in 4th grade.  Even though the days are numbered, our learning is not, so embrace the countdown, share with the kids how precious your time with them is and how much there still is to learn.  Make it exciting, give them choice, let them create, and enjoy these final days together.  Count them down together, fore a new adventure awaits.

For a great post on why you shouldn’t embrace the countdown, please see Jesse McClean’s fantastic post “A Case Against the Countdown.”

3 thoughts on “Turn that Countdown Around”

  1. Love it Pernille, an excellent way to send the message that we value our time with our students and that we aren't looking forward to sending them on their way.

  2. I just left this comment on Jesse's post. :o)Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who isn't happy that the year is ending. When people tell me how happy they are that the year is almost over and tell me how many days are left (which I never seem to know) I just smile politely. The year ending always comes when I still have some great learning to do with my students!This year my 8th graders will be doing animal dissections and my 6th graders will be experimenting with trying to get a little motor to lift the most washers. Fun stuff!

  3. Pernille, I see a class full of kids and a teacher that have found the love of learning! I bet when school is out these kids and teacher will still be learning because learning has no walls. I would love to be in your clas!

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