- Spring has arrived! It’s time to brainstorm what we can do as educators to end the year strong.
- Tips to end the year strong include setting goals, going outside, taking pictures, and reflecting.
4 Tips to End the Year Strong
Flowers. Rain. Sunshine. Warmth (with maybe a snow flurry here and there if you’re in the Midwest). All signs that spring is here!
And whoa, after the spring we had in 2020 and the year we had last year, I began this year thinking the “worst” was behind us. From my observations in my own building and talking with other educators from around the country, many of us agree this year was one of the craziest yet.
The craziness of this school year is why I am taking spring break off!
Now, don’t let me totally misspeak. I have other jobs outside of education I’m going to continue doing over my break, but grading and planning will have to wait.
I need my upcoming week of rest to power through the end of a very busy school year + coaching. That said, if what you need to make it through the next couple of months successfully is to get some work done for school, do that. There isn’t a right or wrong way to spend spring break. But I’m also here to tell you it is ok to do nothing at all.
To help you find success in the last couple months of school, here are 4 tips to end the year strong.Depending on where you are located, if you and your students have been cooped up all winter, embrace the weather when it’s nice! Go outside for a brain break or plan an outdoor activity for your lesson. Click To Tweet
Coming back from spring break, set goals with your students so they can reflect on how they can finish their year strong. Looking ahead to the finish line of the year can be just the right size goal many students are needing right now.
Depending on where you are located, if you and your students have been cooped up all winter, embrace the weather when it’s nice! Go outside for a brain break or plan an outdoor activity for your lesson.[scroll down to keep reading]
If you have to pack away things in your classroom, take pictures before you do so you can remember where certain things go. While we’re on the topic of pictures, have someone come by and take a picture of you with your class(es) so you have it to look back on.
Give students time to reflect at the end of the year. I like to have my students create memory books (see here for the pages I recommend) of their year—either electronically or on paper—so they have a memorable artifact from the school year.
I also give students the opportunity every year to write a 5-year letter, almost like a time capsule. Because I teach 7th grade, in 5 years, students will be graduating high school. For any student interested, they write a letter to their future selves, sharing what is going on in their life at the time. Who their friends are. What their hobbies and interests are. Is there anything that is a big worry for them at the moment? Where do they hope to be in 5 years?
They can include anything and everything. I have students fill out an envelope so it’s ready to mail in a few years. I keep all envelopes in a special spot in a classroom. Then I mark each pile with a sticky note indicating which year they need to go out. There are some other logistical things to consider with this activity. I’ve been doing it for 7 years now. If you have any questions about this and want to talk through it, please reach out!
With the arrival of spring, we are at a pivotal time. We’re needing extra rest and relaxation, but also have to work hard to brainstorm ways to keep students engaged through the end of the year. Give yourself the break you need, and remember some of these tips to help you finish out the year strong!
About Kari Pitstick
Kari Pitstick is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher and track & field coach in Illinois. She’s also the Director of Digital Content for the Teach Better Team. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Middle Level Education, and American College of Education in 2018 with a master’s in Curriculum & Instruction.
She knew she wanted to teach at the middle level since she was in middle school herself. One of her main missions is to provide a safe and friendly environment for students to explore their passions as learners and as people.
Kari is an avid reader, spending most of her free time reading and writing, and she hopes to share that passion with all those around her—students and adults, alike!