Given these conditions, if you feel like this is the most draining time of year, that’s because it often is.
Here are four strategies for staying energized and keeping students motivated until the final bell rings and summer break begins.
1. Stay engaged — and show it
Chances are that you’re exhausted by the end of the school year, and your students are, too. While you may want to ease up as a result, calling attention to the year-end countdown can distract students and decrease participation. Instead, make it a point to highlight all the fun activities you still have planned, such as:
- Interactive exercises that get students up and moving.
- Class celebrations to acknowledge milestones and accomplishments.
- Projects that require students to compile and share favorite memories.
- Field trips or themed days that serve as learning opportunities.
Discussing these activities to come can jumpstart your students’ curiosity and encourage them to remain focused until break. After all, approaching the last few weeks of the school year as a chance to have fun and make memories will make learning much more enjoyable for everyone.
2. Look ahead to the next school year
The end of school can feel like a sprint to the finish line, but it pays to remember that teaching is a marathon. Slowing your pace to ensure you have time to consider what you’ll need to accomplish in advance of the next school year can help ensure you wrap up this one on a strong note.
For example, you can talk with teachers in the following grade level to learn what is coming next for student learning or invite a teacher from the next grade level to talk to your students about what they can expect.
Spending time with next year’s teachers can also offer insights into student readiness that sets the next teacher up to better support your students. By reviewing individual student assessment data together, you can both understand where each student is in their learning and identify any gaps.
3. Reverse student/teacher roles
If you reach the end of the year and still have a lot of material to cover, you’re not alone. It can be tempting to do all the talking to fit everything in. However, this one-way teaching approach can cause students to tune out. To keep students engaged, consider ways that enable you to talk less and your students to talk more.
For example, you can let your students pick a topic they are passionate about to teach their peers. Everyone will likely learn interesting information that they may not have learned otherwise, and each student gets to practice important real-world skills such as researching and public speaking.
You can also ask students for feedback that may inform curriculum updates. Students are not subject-matter experts, but they are well-aware of how they learn best and well-positioned to offer helpful insights that you can use to shape future lessons or activities.
4. Evaluate what worked and highlight areas for improvement
The final weeks of the school year are an opportune time to analyze student assessment data gathered across the school year to gauge the effectiveness of specific teaching strategies. Consider using that information to set goals for yourself and your classroom for the following school year — specifically, measurable and achievable goals that help you and your students stay motivated throughout the year.
Now can also be a good time to share assessment-related pain points with administrators, setting the direction for the following school year. Let them know if:
- There is too little time to administer an assessment or analyze results for meaningful next steps.
- There are too many assessments that don’t even offer flexible reporting or immediate, accurate or actionable data.
Having assessments that help you gauge student learning when and how you need to is key to ensuring you have data that will help you set your students up for success throughout the school year and beyond.
Hang in there!
The end of the school year is so busy that summer break can seem like a long way off, even when it’s just around the corner. But taking the time now to keep students engaged and to look back on the year will pay off. For more information about assessments that can give you the accurate and actionable data you need to fine-tune your classroom strategies for strong student engagement and learning year-round, check out the Pearson Assessment for Learning Suite.