So you've come to the end of the school year and you're feeling a bit frazzled? Want some tips to help you finish the year strong with energy and enthusiasm? Well, here are two methods I like to use:
I would now say, "in all seriousness" if I wasn't completely serious about the fact that red velvet cupcakes and cherry coke are a big part of my April/May routine, but here's a healthier alternative to help you through the final months of the year.
Plan something you'll look forward to.
The end of the school year is filled with a lot of things that are not much fun. Final evaluations, testing, cleaning... So one way I keep my energy up at the end of it all is by planning something that the kids and I can get excited about. One year the teachers and I planned a grade level kickball tournament, which meant that, leading up to the tournament, we had an excuse to take the kids outside every once in a while, and get some vitamin D while we practiced kicking.
Many times I have participated in end of the year singing events. One favorite was a tribute to Disney where all of the teachers dressed up like Disney characters. In others we sang songs around the world or twelve songs around the year. All of these programs were filled with fun and excitement. My daughter's team celebrates the year with a dance festival in May; each class learns a fun dance to perform for each other, as well as parents. And let's not forget fieldtrips!
I think the key is to plan something that you, personally, really love. Something that excites you; something you can set aside and look forward to every year. Because music energizes me, most years I plan a class musical for April or May. It doesn't have to be a large affair, but it's something that lends excitement to those final months for me. One of my favorite plays The Wizard of Oz is based on the book by L. Frank Baum. Did you know that there was a stage musical of the play in 1903 with songs written by Baum himself? Lyndsey found these old songs and put them together as sort of a musical "reader's theater/musical" that her class loved!
If you're interested in doing a play yourself. Here are some tips:
- Try to find the time to read the original story first. Many children will not be as familiar with well loved stories as you might imagine.
- Teach the songs during Shared Reading. Songs can be a great tool for teaching vocabulary, rhyming words, phonetic skills, and many other language arts opportunities!
- Play the songs in the background of your class whenever it will not be distracting. The kids will catch on quickly!
- Let each child choose 3 parts that they would like. They will usually pick what fits his/her comfort level, and, this way, everyone should be able to be at least their 3rd choice. You can even double cast parts, and have the students switch off for each performance.
- Remember that for each child to benefit from the experience, they need to be involved. Try to give everyone a chance to shine.
- Your shy children may surprise you by volunteering for a solo, give them a chance, this can be a great opportunity to build their confidence!
- Have the kids stand in way that reflects when it is their turn to sing or speak. This will help them remember what to do.
- Let the children know that no one watching them knows the words or the narration, so if they don’t get the words perfect no one will know as long as the meaning stays the same. This will help them relax.
- Before doing the reader’s theater/play for parents, perform for other classes to help the kids get over any stage fright.
If you would like to try The Wizard of Oz Musical Script is your classroom, and you should, because it's awesome, you can find it at our Teacher's Pay Teacher's Store, or right here!
You can also find some other great reader's theater scripts here →
Celebrate the memories
Another way to make the end of the year fun is to focus on all of the fun memories that your class has made during the year. If you've been collecting work samples in a portfolio now is the time to give them some final entries and share them with parents. If you've taken photos or video over the year, you can compile them into a class video presentation or scrapbook and then plan a day for the children to see/watch their memories together. Class graduations are another great way to celebrate the progress that the children (and you) have made!
For those of you gearing up for the end of the year, here is a collection of portfolio essentials! Use the code endyear at checkout and you will receive this product for free!