End of year ideas?

Because it's close, people, awfully close (at least for those of us non-East-Coasters - I know some of you go to like the end of June). I've got 17 school days left - 17! And then.....goodbye.

So I'm trying to figure out what I want to do to wrap it all up. It's different this year since I'm teaching 8th graders; they won't be back in the fall and I feel like we should mark the passage to high school in some way.

Here's what I've got so far. Some is the same as every year; I want to add some new, though.

- I'll do my end-of-year notes and composition notebooks. I stocked up on those last summer when they were on sale for 50 cents each rather than the usual two dollars - feeling pretty proud of myself for thinking ahead here. :) I'll also do a class picture of each class and give each kid a copy.

- All my kids will sign a yearbook for me to keep as a memento; I really like doing this and would recommend it to everyone if you don't already.

- They'll do an evaluation for me about the year and my class and things I should change and things I should keep and all that good stuff. It'll be a little more extensive than my trimester-ly one, but not a whole ton.

- I got a fancy copy of Oh, the Places You'll Go! and may get another one, because this might take two. We're going to have every 8th grader write a sentence about the places THEY'LL go in the book and then keep it in our library for future kids to look at, or for themselves to come back and see.

But....that doesn't feel like enough. I could do letters to their future selves and deliver them to the local high school in four years, but with our mobility, a lot of these kids won't be there in four years....a fair chunk won't even be going next year.

I've thought about doing a Summer Literacy Challenge. I think it's such a cool idea, and while I don't know that too many kids would actually do it, it'd be awesome if any of them did. And I could totally come up with sweet stuff for a high school survival pack. Plus that would offer a way to continue our relationship a bit; they'd be able to email me or mail it to me or drop it by the school....and actually I could go to the high school one day to collect them from the kids who do go there (which is most of them). And I could talk to them about the summer reading gap as encouragement to do it....okay, as I'm writing, I'm talking myself more and more into this, so I think I will do this too. Actually, I'm kind of in love with the idea now and can't wait to start planning it.

But still. I want more. More of a celebration - maybe have kids read bits of their favorite portfolio pieces? As one final class celebration, and bring snacks and stuff again? Make a banner for next year welcoming my new students to class - ooh, maybe with six word memoirs about the year on them?

What do YOU do?

(Image credit to Eleaf)


Ricochet said...

I do the yearbook and I have only had two boys mess it up (I was very irritated).

I love the idea of Place You'll go - I will have to do that (I teach Seniors this year for the first time).

I wanted to give them something from me but can't figure out what I can afford that isn't cheesy (we're talking about 120 kids). I thought about writing letters to each - but I really do not know some of them. The quiet ones who do their work and raise no fuss in a classroom with loud boisterous and obnoxious ones.

I do a "rate the teacher" every year so that I can improve - and steal ideas off the web constantly about that.

We are not allowed food or parties. I may give out blow pops or gum during the final, but that'll be it.

The picture idea isn't bad but they are never all here and there are hate-hate relationships in each class.

So I am still thinking about the thing from me.

I have until May 25th. Right around the corner.

Rachel said...

17 days, holy cow!! That's awesome. In TN, the schools went until Memorial Day weekend (although with the last week being exams, we really only had about 2.5 weeks of instruction in May). Here, they go until the 2nd week of June. Not much longer, but they start the week before labor day! This will take some adjustment for me. In my mind, if you go until June, you shouldn't start until after labor day.

I digress. I never really did any big end-of-the-year things, and I kind of regret that! I think we had a party or watched a movie the last couple of days (Dead Poet's Society. Classic & Inspiring :) ) I love the idea of the Summer Challenge. I just wonder if anyone's ever done it with high schoolers and how well it would go over... But you should definitely do it! Love it. My new project is to figure out how to work it w/ HS.

Sarah said...

We have twenty-some days left! I'm going to have a slide show recapping the year for my fifth graders (as they go to a different campus for 6th grade). I'll also have them write a letter to the future fifth graders (current 4th graders) about what they should expect in fifth grade.

Good luck!

Teacherfish said...

Wow- 17 days. We go to June 28! So as of today the amount of time left until summer vacation is exactly as long as summer vacation.

I like having students spend some time reflecting on their favorite units and then making posters for the favorite units. For example is writing memoirs was the favorite unit - I have them make posters about what a good memoir would include. If the book club units on historical fiction was their favorite unit- then make a poster on what a good reader of historical fiction does while reading historical fiction.

Then carefully wrap up and store the posters and presto- instant bulletin boards for September! (Do you start in September? Do you really get 3 months off?)

Also- I sometimes like to have them write letters to the incoming students about what Teacherfish expects. Someone usually includes the things that drives me crazy- Like Teacherfish hates when you wave your hand when she's reading and then ask to go the bathroom, Teacherfish usually gives you extra time for a project if you come up with a really good excuse, etc.
Saves some wear and tear on you during break in time.

teachin' said...

Thanks for the replies, guys!

I've thought about the letters, but I will have more kids next year than this year - I suppose they could share, though! Maybe I'll have them do tips for success in Ms. Teachin's class on index cards and use those to talk about expectations and stuff. The slide show's a really cute idea but I haven't taken too many pictures this year, though, I'll do more and then add that in!

Oh, and we start mid-August, so no, not actually 3 months off, Teacherfish. :)

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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