As we near the end of the school year life can get a little chaotic for teachers and students alike. Between staying motivated and state testing it can be an overwhelming time of year. While many of us may be ready to call it a year, it is important to make sure we take advantage of these last few weeks with our students.
If you are preparing your students for state testing, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind.
1. Stay positive.
Whenever you are talking about state testing, make sure you emphasize the importance of doing your best, but make sure to remain positive. If the students did not do well last year, don’t dwell on that fact, but discuss areas they should focus on while testing.
2. Be a provider.
Your students need sleep in a good breakfast and that is somewhat out of your control, but they also need pencils, an eraser, maybe some paper, etc. Make sure you have all of these items for your students. You can even create a little “care package” for each of them.
3. Provide practice opportunities.
Make sure you utilize any practice opportunities that you can give your students. This can be practice testing or simply teaching testing skills. Any type of practice will help create positive results.
This is probably the hardest thing to do but you and your students need to relax. Create a calming atmosphere and tell students while the test is important, they need to relax and simply show what they know. Reassuring students that you will not be disappointed as long as they try their best is one of the most important things that you can do.
Testing is a stressful time for both teachers and students.
Following the tips above will help relieve some of the stress and anxiety that comes with state testing.
While state testing comes with the end of the year, there is a peskier problem that follows: a lack of motivation. When students start counting down the days to the end of the school year, it can be hard to keep them motivated. If we are being really honest, it can be hard to stay motivated as teachers.
If motivation is lacking in your classroom, here are a few tips to boost morale and help your students finish out the year strong.
1. Cooperative Learning Opportunities:
Project-based learning is a great way to keep students moving. While some students are starting to peter out a little too early, there are some who are still going strong. A good way to combat those who are struggling to keep moving forward is to have them work with another student on a project. This cooperative learning will boost motivation because, hopefully, they won’t want to let their partner down.
2. Reading Together:
Put together literature circles with books that are chosen by the students. Allowing students to read what they want and encouraging them and grading them on literature discussions is a great way not only to get students reading and talking but to keep motivation up.
3. Outside World:
Bring your learning outside whenever possible. If you live in a place where the sun has been in hibernation for a long time, this strategy is especially for you! Allowing students to go outside to do a science experiment, read, or do math on the sidewalk gives them some extra Vitamin D which will boost their energy levels.
4. Get Moving:
Get creative with your lesson plans and try to get students up and moving even if it is simply from center to center. When you use this style of learning, students learn and apply a skill in a short amount of time. This helps them stay focused because they know they will be using those skills sooner than usual.
Motivation for students can be hard to find this time of year but if we mix it up a little bit, it can become more bearable for students as well as yourself.
Once the end of the school year finally approaches, as teachers, we start to worry about what information students will retain over the summer. This I why encouraging students to engage in learning activities in the summer is so important.
Here are a few ways to promote learning in the summer even when you aren’t there to guide them:
1. Interaction Center:
Towards the end of the school year, you can encourage and help students create games that help reinforce the ideas they learned all why having fun.
2. Challenge Time:
If you are a teacher who enjoys a good challenge and has a class that is competitive setting up a challenge for your students can be very effective. For example, you may say whoever reads the most at level books this summer will get a prize.
3. Get involved:
Another tip for students is to get involved in summer learning programs. This can be anything from working at the library to helping with a kids’ day camp. As long as they are doing something with what they learned throughout the year, it is helping them in some way shape or form.
The end of the school year is quickly approaching and as we get ready for the end it is important to stay focused and relax.
Remember everything will be fine as long as you focus on what you can change and leave what you can’t alone.