This post originally appeared on the blog Wife Teacher Mommy.
The end of the school year is a time to do some of the things we haven’t had time to do during the rest of the busy year! Testing is over, and you have just a little bit longer with your group of students until the summer. Here are some tips to make the BEST of that last bit of time you have with your students and make some great memories!
Here are my 3 EASY tips to make this end of year the best end of year yet!
1. Integrate the arts into science and social studies curriculum
You’ve been busy for the last few months cramming for all the math and ELA assessments, I’m sure! Now is the time to focus on some of the science and social studies curriculum that you may have missed from your state’s core for your grade level during your busy cramming sessions. But this shouldn’t be something to stress about — this is the FUN stuff! I absolutely LOVE teaching science and social studies because they are subjects that are so easy to turn into fun and hands-on learning. My personal favorite way to do this is to integrate the arts into the curriculum! You can find a way to do this for any science or social studies curriculum. Here are just a couple examples to get you thinking:
Have some dinosaur curriculum you haven’t covered? Teach the students about dinosaur fossils and have them create their own salt dough fossils! You can also use the same salt dough recipe to make salt dough maps of counties, states, and countries if they are a part of your social studies requirements.
What about the solar system? You can have your students make paper mâchê planets and put them in the order they are found in the solar system. While this activity is messy, it is SO fun and the students absolutely love it!
Use your creativity and come up with a new twist on teaching these fun subjects rather than just following what you have done over the years. Integrating the arts into your curriculum is hands-on earning, so it will be more engaging and memorable for your students. It will give you all something fun to do while you are counting down the days until summer!
2. Take a “mental health” day
Seriously. I’m not kidding. DO IT. And do NOT feel one bit guilty about it. 80% of teachers do not use all of their sick days because they feel guilty about it. (Okay, I made that statistic up. So sue me. 🙂 I’m sure it’s something like that!) I have always been the type myself to avoid calling in sick at all lengths possible. But sometimes, you really NEED to. Stress can really get to you and bring you down as a teacher. You have sick days for a reason… to be used. A burned out teacher is NOT a healthy and happy teacher. It’s perfectly fine to take a day to rejuvenate and come back refreshed, so you can feel better. This will make you a better teacher for your students! So take a day to relax and recover from the stress, and come back ready to have some FUN with your students before the summer (and possibly take on some of the fun art projects mentioned above!)
To help ease your stress a little in taking your “mental health day” before the summer begins, I have a free set of sub plan mini lessons that are ready to go! All have to do is print and leave them for your sub. It also includes some editable forms for you to fill out information for your substitute, so you have no need to stress while you’re away.
3. Get a fun “End of the Year” handout ready to give to your students
BONUS! Free Worksheet: “My Favorite Memory”
Kelsey Sorenson is a former elementary teacher and substitute teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Utah, and has a K-6 teaching license. She spends her days playing with her two-year-old son and creating resources for her TpT store, Wife Teacher Mommy, during naptime. Kelsey specializes in creating ready-to-go sub plans, integrated units, and seasonal curriculum. She also writes about her teaching ideas, including fun ways to integrate the arts, on her blog, Wife Teacher Mommy. In addition to creating resources and blogging, Kelsey enjoys collaborating with other educators on social media! You can join her mailing list and follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram for teaching ideas and inspiration!