|Norman Rockwell painting of a classroom in the 50s|
It is also a good time for the students (and the teacher) to reflect on what has been achieved. This is preferable to letting the end of the year become 'fill in' time. As a principal I always encouraged teachers to work right up to the last minute. I had learnt, from experience as a teacher, that working hard is easier than improvising programmes the last week or so
One idea would be to develop a mini-unit of work with the students for them to reflect on their own achievements. Not only will this bring a sense of closure to the year but it will help the students develop a sense of accomplishment and an affirmation of their years efforts. One theme could be, 'This is what I could do at the beginning of the year and this is what I can do now', or, 'Things I am most proud of this year'.
The class could 'brainstorm' all the activities they have studied throughout the year. It would feature all the exciting content studies that have provided the 'energy' for the years student research and creativity. This in itself will remind the students of what an interesting year they have had.
A display, featuring artifacts from the various studies (and maths and language themes), could be developed with information on the 'big ideas' of each study.
Students could develop their own wall display, or chart, of things ( say, the top six) they have learnt during the year. This could include, not only ideas, but also poems and pieces of art. Digital cameras would be useful to capture visual information. An idea would be to develop a 'My Reflections and Memories of the Year' booklet, or 'Things I have learnt during the year', or 'Things I am most proud of,'or 'Talents I have developed during the year'.
Students might also like to include their thoughts and hopes for the year to come - this might involve questioning older students in the next class to gather 'data'.
One valuable idea ( really an evaluation of the culture the teacher has established) is to ask the students to write, for next years students, 'How to survive in this class', or 'Tips for New Students'. This might include ideas,to you, as the teacher, about how to improve the programme for the next year, and even things that students felt were not useful to them!
|We really loved the bush walks|
Ideas for students at the end of the year to consider
1. What have been the best things you have done this year? Why?
2. What would you liked to have done more of this year?
3. What didn’t we do that I wish we had?
4. In what way have I changed this year? What areas have I improved in, or grown to like more?
5. What were the things I didn’t like most this year?
6. What would you change about how I teach or the class?
7. If you were giving advice for next years students of how to survive in style in my room, what would you say to them?
Below are some interesting sentences for students to finish that will give you some idea of how they see schools, teachers and themselves. What metaphors would they choose?
A school is a place where……………..
A teacher is a person who…………………
A student is a person who………………
It is interesting to see what metaphors students come up with if they see themselves as learners or someone who is taught things. For the first :do students see school as a place they have to go or a place they go to learn? For the second is the teacher a person who tells you what to do or is teacher a person who helps you learn? For the last is students some who is taught by teachers or a person who learns with teachers' help?
Try it. You might be surprised. You might even learn something.
A class newsletter to all parents , based on the reflections of the students, would be a great way to finish the year on a positive note.