being a teacher, end of year, ideas, projects, students

What Do You Do in the Last Few Weeks of School?

Some teachers start a countdown, others do a lot of reading.  We instead have quite the to-do list to get through before my fabulous 5th graders get to graduate.  So beyond the culminating projects we have going on, here are some things that are keeping us busy:

  • Writing thank you letters.  This often overlooked skill is something I put a lot of value in so every year we take the time to thank all of the teachers and people that have helped us have a successful year.  I love slipping these into people’s mailboxes.
  • Write Dear Future Mrs. Ripp’s Students letters.  Every year I have my class that is leaving write letters to incoming students.  This is way for them to give them top insider information, get them excited and I get to peek at what meant a lot to them in the year.  I love handing these to my new students and seeing what they gain from them.
  • The Top 10.  We brainstorm all of the great things we have loved doing through the year and fill a white board with all of them.  Students then vote for the top 10 things of the classroom and a committee makes a huge poster for me to put on display for the new year.  Again, this is a sneaky way for me to see what really stuck out to students and incoming students cannot wait to figure out what the different things are.
  • Clean the library and review the books.  Not only do students help me get all the books back in the baskets they also get to rate all of the books.  If they would not read a book they place it on the carpet and other students can rescue it.  However, if no one comes to its rescue that books is given a new home.  
  • How to Flourish in 5th Grade videos.  My students have been busy writing scripts, rehearsing them, filming and soon editing videos for the incoming students on a variety of topics ranging from internet safety to how to transition to math (we switch classes).  I love seeing what the students wish they had known and also having them use some amazing Adobe software to edit their videos.
  • Give me your favorite memory… Another committee project where every student has to add their favorite memory to a video.  Again students are in charge of making this and I show it in the last days.
  • My favorite thing about…Every student has to a favorite thing about 3 other students on video.  We then edit it together to make a montage of all the things we have loved about each other.  This is always very secretive and students don’t know who has them.
  • Look at our time capsules.  At the beginning of the year we do a time capsule with our favorite things at the moment and we also see how tall we are.  At the end we remeasure and laugh about how much we have changed or not.
  • Give me your feedback.  Students do a survey rating all of our classes, ranking their favorite assignments and their least favorite.  They also give me advice and constructive criticism on what I should change.
So there are just some of the things we have to do.  Like I’ve said there is a lot going on in 5th grade and every day counts.  I used to have students write letters to their new teachers as well but it doesn’t work so well with the transition to middle school, however in other grades it probably would.

4 thoughts on “What Do You Do in the Last Few Weeks of School?”

  1. Today we started working on three projects I appropriated from your excellent list. One group is working on a video of what we appreciate about each other. Another is working on 4th grade memories. And the last is working on advice for my future students. To get the last group started, I had every student in the class write down one piece of advice. I brought them home to read and when I got to this one, it made me laugh out loud, so I just had to share it with you…"The thing I loved about fourth grade is my teacher Mrs. Clark. She is really nice but if you sometimes get on her nerves she kind of goes bizarre."Of course, this is the child who ALWAYS gets on my nerves. He gets extra credit for telling it like it is (and being self-aware).A couple of other favorites…"Don't give up. You'll just get in trouble.""No matter how much you are tempted, never, ever fall asleep in the middle of a lesson. You'll end up missing some very important information you'll need for homework."And finally…"I hope reading comprehension is your favorite subject."Just when I was starting to feel like the end of school couldn't come soon enough, they reminded me why I come in every day with a smile on my face.

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