Thursday, May 7, 2015

3 End of the Year "Survival" Tips

Hey Y'all! It's Theresa from True Life I'm a Teacher, and I'm so excited to be sharing my very first post on The Primary Peach!
I'm here today for Teacher Tricks and Tips Thursday...we might be into alliteration :) Tricks and Tips might also be one of my favorite teacher topics of all times! I'm always adding to my "toolbox."
As of this post, I have T-E-N days left of school! How is this even possible?!?!  I'm not even going to question it...anyway, I don't know about you, but my class is a bit rowdier than usual, so I'm pulling out all the stops! Here are my top 3 tips on how to survive (sounds drastic, but you're likely a teacher, so you totally get it, right?!?!) the end of the year!

 There is literally not a second of downtime in my classroom this time of the year. I have backup plans for my backup plans. I almost treat it as if there's a time = time for behavior issues. Here are some things I have readily available, some are good for 3 minutes worth of time, while others could take 15-20 minutes, and others could take up as much or as little time as what you need.
- GoNoodle (seriously, check.this.out)
- Read Alouds (random, not necessarily related to anything in particular)
- games (math facts around the world, hangman with spelling/vocabulary words)
- activities themed specifically for the end of the year

After almost 180 days of specific management techniques/routines/seating arrangements/ _______ (fill in whatever you've been doing), switching up your routine or trying something new can the most exciting thing ever! Normally, throughout the year, I use "Copeland Cash" as part of a token economy, but by the end of the year, my kiddos are kind of over it (and so am I). I've started using stickers (never underestimate the power of a sticker) and some incentive charts I picked up at Dollar Tree. I pass out stickers like crazy for good behavior, and the kids plop them on their chart. They can turn in a completely sticker-filled chart for anything from our class store!

Also, by complete dumb luck, stumbled upon something great! I had to flip flop writer's workshop and reader's workshop due to testing, and it was like I'd introduced a completely different subject. I meant, hello??? We've been doing these all year, but apparently just changing the order of our schedule was a game-changer. Go figure!

My last tip is to have a countdown going! The excited surrounding the changing of the countdown is pretty surreal! Last year, I just used this simple {and FREE} countdown. We updated it each morning during morning meeting. The kids love it!
This year, I've put a fun activity in an envelope with the number of days left of school written on the outside. So far, we've enjoyed no shoes in the classroom, a nature walk, a jump rope competition, Blow Pops, and lunch bunch! The mystery surrounding what could possibly be in the envelope is more than my sweet seconds can hardly stand, and their behavior is on point so that they don't miss out on each day's fun activity!

You can find all our countdown activities here!

I'd love to know what you do to help the last few days of school be fun, engaging, and manageable!