We’re finally in the last week of school–that long-awaited moment in time that feels more like an eternity. Some classes have exams the final week, and others do not. So here, in this final post before summer break, I want to discuss ways to keep students engaged (and yourself sane) whether your course has a final exam or not.
There is nothing new in this final post. It is rather a compilation of strategies I’ve written about over the years that I hope will help you in the last week of school.
So here is Simple Spring Engagement #1:
10 Activities for the Last Week of School
If You Are Testing:
1. Have a QR Code Scavenger Hunt. This is an amazing activity to encourage students to review while moving (and getting out nervous energy of impending exams). Post QR Codes around the school that contain questions. Have students find, scan, and answer the questions in teams. The first team to find and answer all questions wins! HERE are instructions and a printable cheat sheet for creating a QR Code Scavenger Hunt of your own.
2. Use Google Slides to Have a Collaborative Review. Have students create their own cumulative review to share with the class. Create student groups and assign each group a unit to teach. Their instructive slide will be a part of a whole class presentation that will serve as study guide for the exam. Be sure to read all about how to implement this and download the student rubric HERE.
3. Use Quizlet for Quick Vocabulary Reviews. If you’ve already built Quizlet sets for your units, then this requires no prep on your part. Of course, you can play the engaging collaborative game, Quizlet Live, but there’s so much more you can do with Quizlet. Learn about some quick reviews HERE.
4. Have a Cooperative Review. Students will make their own tests in groups and then answer each other’s questions. Pull some of their questions into your exam for added engagement. Find out how to implement this and download the free resource HERE.
5. Review for Exams in 15 Minutes or Less. My school has short study sessions during final exam week. Find suggestions for mini exam reviews HERE.
If You Are Not Testing:
6. Have Students Create The Guidelines for a Final Project. Lead a class discussion about what students have learned in the course. Ask them what an ideal final project would be (nothing is not an option :)). As a class, construct a rubric. For an example, click HERE. Then have students work on the project.
7. Students Will Love Speed Drawing Their Year. The day before, ask students to reflect on their year in writing, and then have a class discussion. See if you can come up with topics as a class based on the discussion (possible topics may be “Classes,” “Changes,” “Friends,” “Clubs,” “Sports,” “Discoveries,” “Milestones,” etc.). Set up a station for each topic. Place a piece of butcher paper at each station. Set a timer, and have students rotate through each station, drawing and writing a caption for whatever comes to mind. HERE are instructions for implementing Speed Drawing.
8. Have a Real-World Problem Solving Challenge. Follow the steps HERE to encourage students to think of a social problem and a possible solution. End the lesson with a discussion on ideas on how they can get involved in helping to see change through this summer.
9. Have Students Create a Top 10 List. Ask students to discuss the past school year with a partner. They should brainstorm and come up with a theme that encapsulates the year for them. It could be funny, cathartic, academic, social, etc. They should then list 10 examples from the past year that support that theme, counting down to example number 1. HERE’s one I made about absurd teaching moments.
10. Get Feedback for Next Year. This is not for the faint-hearted–but it is for those who truly want to grow. Create a survey for your students to complete that asks them to reflect over your course. Ask them what they enjoyed and what they didn’t, what they thought was effective and what wasn’t. Ask for suggestions for improvement. Use the more thoughtful feedback to update your plans over the summer.
I hope this year’s Spring Countdown series has helped you–what are some ways you keep your students engaged until the end? Leave a comment and let me know. And remember–we’re almost there!
As we embark on a year of uncertainty, we must consider equity and distance learning. This post discusses how to make virtual learning more equitable in 3 steps and comes with a downloadable cheat sheet.
Do you feel like you’re teaching in uncertain times? You’re not alone. But there are certain things that will always be certain. Like–your students need you to be there for them. Click through to find out how to do that with Culturally Responsive Teaching in Any Setting.
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