Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wrapping Up The School Year {2013 - 2014}

We all know how insane and busy it gets the last 1-2 weeks, sometimes 3, of the school year. This one was no fact, to me, it felt like the last month was all about trying to corral my students and keep them entertained. Thank goodness we get the time off to always revamp ourselves!

Our district actually had benchmark testing the 2nd to the last week of school, so we had to make sure we still fit in some skills.  Of course, this meant, I had to come up with ways to not only teach my students but keep them completely and utterly busy in a higher-level thinking way.  At this time of year, it felt like quite the feat for me!

I pulled out my Plot Elements Choice Menu, which I did not get to use at the beginning of the year like I usually do.  But since they were being tested on plot elements, I KNEW this would be the perfect way to give them time to review, push themselves, and stay busy as well.  We did a museum walk around the room so students could view and read everyone's products they created.

Maps showing change in setting and Award/Achievement Certificates showing theme

You can see part of an interview/broadcast script students wrote to demonstrate parts of the plot using the point of view of the story characters.

I was super happy to introduce a new product, an interview/broadcast script, I added to the menu when I created the version for students who chose it did a really great job actually!  I was afraid it would be too difficult for them or they would not be interested, but quite a few kids chose it and kicked tail on it.  Thankfully, one set of partners accepted the extra challenge of recording it as a radio interview (ignore the video and just enjoy the audio).  

 Several students made movies-in-a-box to show changes in settings

Once the benchmark testing was over and done with, it was time to "celebrate" and do activities that would still challenge them but yet keep them busy enough so they weren't getting into trouble.  One of my favorite things to do (for the past couple years) is the All About Me Choice Menu.  I found it on Teachers Pay Teachers HERE a couple years back and have since slightly revamped it to fit my teaching style in my classroom.  

This group spent their entire time during the museum walk playing another students' board game.  They were crazy into it.  Even as they argued their way through the trivia cards, they all learned a lot of new information about their classmate.  Score! 

They got to make menus of their favorite foods and shields.

Included were also Me Bags and candy bars that matched their personality

And last but not least, was the awesomely action-packed End-Of-Year Math Project from the talented TPT seller, Teaching With a Mountain View.  It was all about planning a party through the CCSS math standards.  My students rose to the occasion despite being over doing school work.  So, it was definitely worth it!

Are you out of school yet?  What do you like to do with your students during those last days and weeks of the school year?