June 14th, 2016

5 Creative Ways to Engage Students at the End the School Year


5 Creative Ways to Engage Students at the End the School Year

The end of every school year is a time of reflection for both teachers and students as they prepare for final exams. It’s also the time when students start to get squirrely and keeping their attention can be a challenge. Here are five creative ways to engage students at the end of the school year while preparing for summer vacation.

1. Assess the Year by Playing Jeopardy

Maximize student engagement at the end of the school year by incorporating Jeopardy rounds into your daily teaching.

  • Determine which topics you’ll cover based on the material you taught throughout the school year.
  • Group students together into teams and play rounds of Jeopardy with your classes.
  • Keep track of group points in an Excel spreadsheet and crown a winning team on the last day of school.

NYLearns offers an easy-to-implement Jeopardy Development Team Project as well as a Jeopardy Midterm Review Game for U.S. History.

In need of questions that align to specific NY State standards? Use the NYLearns Assessment Builder to search a database of thousands of actual past NY State Regents exams. You can even filter your search for questions by Standard, making it easy to build custom assessments that meet the needs of your students.

2. Reflect and Connect with Students

As you look back on your school year, use group time with your class to reflect on the material you covered throughout the school year. It’s the perfect time to poll your classroom to ask students what they learned and to determine which approaches led to higher student engagement.

  • Have your students create a Top 10 list of their favorite things they learned.
  • Discuss topics that your students hope to learn next year.
  • Talk about transitioning to the next school year to help students alleviate their fears.

Use the NYLearns Vertical Viewer to assess the standards that you covered during this school year or to look ahead to what will be covered in subsequent grades.

3. Create Summer Reading and Writing Initiatives

Motivate your students to read this summer with a summer reading challenge. Create your own list of books that students can choose from, or check out the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge as a guide.

Looking for content ideas to align to reading assignments? Find hundreds of standard-aligned resources in NYLearns Featured Content Archive.

4. Engage in Meaningful Professional Development

While students are expected to devote some of their summer vacations to reading, why not spend part of your summer building your professional skills?

Online professional development courses from PLS 3rd Learning can help you earn professional development credit in your school in as little as 4 weeks. Find online classes that fit your professional development needs with PLS Classes.

5. Close the Classroom Creatively

The end of the year requires a lot of organizing, packing, and cleaning. Creating a checklist is a fun way to get students involved in year-end classroom activities. Before you leave for the summer, consider adding a few of the following items to your checklist:

  • Teacher-planned activities like completing final assessments, finalizing report cards, and collecting all textbooks.
  • Enlisting student help for cleaning off desks and lockers, removing decorations from the classroom walls, and inventory remaining classroom supplies.
  • Take-home items for the summer like plants, books to read, and curriculum to review.

It’s also a good idea to organize your educational resources for next year. NYLearns’ ePortfolio makes cleaning up for summer a breeze.

End of the Year Tip: Create a folder in your ePortfolio called “2015-16 School Year” and move all of your folders you created throughout the year to that new folder. That way when you start building resources for next school year, you can easily find your favorite resources in one folder and create new folders for the upcoming school year.

Finally, remember that the NYLearns Curriculum tool allows you to access all of your maps to reference Notes for Teaching that were made throughout the previous school year. You can also quickly copy curriculum maps and then modify them for the upcoming school year.

Do you have an idea about ending the school year on a high note that we missed? Let us know! You can follow us on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. As always, our award-winning help desk will be here all summer to help whenever you need it.

NYLearns hopes you have a GREAT summer!

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