It seems each school year we have a mad dash the entire year leading up to the test, but after the test, we can slow it down a notch. Check out this bucket list of activities and ideas for making the most of the end of the school year with your students.
1. After the Test, Take a Collective Breath
After the marathon that is test prep and getting through your curriculum, it is high time to take a collective breath. Life may not slow down altogether, but it does get just a bit easier to take a look around.
Practice mindfulness or meditation with your students through the use of a guided video. This practice will help to keep your classroom focused as well as serve students well for the rest of their lives.
2. Build Relationships
I know, you aren’t waiting until after the test to build relationships with and among your students. It is easy though to kind of forget about team and class builders when you are shoulder deep in test prep.
Take this time to build relationships back up and really enjoy your students for the remaining weeks of the school year.
I would suggest these cooperative learning activities that will have students working together all while endearing them to one another.
3. Keep the Content Going
Just because the test is over doesn’t mean you go through all your content. I am willing to bet you still have a unit or two, or if it’s social studies possibly all of it. Use this time together to dive in deep.
One year, after the test, my class spent every Tuesday and Thursday, all day long diving into Texas History and hitting all the standards we had pushed to the side throughout the year.
4. After the Test, Keep Things Highly Engaging
It is easy to let things get a little loosey goosey towards the end of the year, but this can lead to inattentive students and possibly struggles with behavior.
Keep the content flowing and activities highly engaging to keep students with you all the way until the last day.
5. Dive Into Project-Based Learning
Project-based learning is a GREAT way to spend the time after the test. It allows for individual students to create their own learning experience. These projects can be big or small and are sure to please your students.
May I suggest having students plan their own end of the year party, design a playground, or plan for a field trip. All of these activities come with student and teacher directions and rubrics to make expectations explicit.
6. Take Learning Outside
Who says we have to stay in the classroom? Get up and moving outside!
Grab your dry erase boards or clipboards and move the daily lesson outside. It can even be as simple and doing your daily read aloud in the fresh air. The school building can become stuffy, and getting outside may be just what you and your students need.
7. After the Test, Put Students In Charge
One of my favorite things to do at the end of the year is put students in charge. You can choose to have a student of the day, or several, or have students volunteer to take over teaching duties of specific subjects through the day.
My students absolutely loved being able to teach their classmates. The most highly coveted spot was always the read aloud.
8. Celebrate Successes
After the test the year is winding down and you likely have a lot to celebrate! Any success big or small deserves a celebration. Even with my upper elementary students I would break out Dr. Jean’s Cheers and we would go to town to celebrate everything from me remembering to submit attendance on time to a student achieving a yearlong goal.
My favorite part of this was having students nominate one another to celebrate. We kept a jar in the back of the room with some scrap paper and students could write a note about a success they wanted to celebrate for themselves or a classmate. A couple times a day we would empty the jar and it was always pure joy!
9. Explore Passion Projects
Whether you call them passion projects, genius hour, or something else entirely, after the test is the perfect time to encourage students to research and learn about what interests them and then share it with the class.
10. Embrace Cooperative Learning Games
I am hoping you have been using cooperative learning strategies all year long, but don’t stop now!
All those strategies and games you have played can be recycled in the last few weeks of school. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just reuse them.
If you are looking for end of year specific activities, check these out.
11. Get Active
We all get a little, or a lot, antsy towards the end of the year. So, it is important to keep moving. Whether this means turning on a Cosmic Yoga YouTube Video, going on a nature hike around the school grounds, or hitting up GoNoodle, keep those bodies moving!
12. After the Test, Reflect on Learning
Finally, every class should take the time to reflect on the learning they did throughout the year. Take the time to talk about students’ favorite moment and subjects as well as what they would recommend you changing up.
By reflecting on how the year went it will make you a better teacher! The added bonus is getting to hear from your students on what was meaningful to them.
After the Test
The moral of the story is that after the test you can do all the things! This is the time to enjoy one another and dive deep!