Category Archives: End of The Year
Just in case you haven’t heard…
TeachersPayTeachers is having their annual Teacher Appreciation Sale today and tomorrow, May 7-8. I’ll be having a sale in my TPT Store as well! Many people find that this is the sale that they like the most! The year’s almost over and people are thinking ahead for the next school year. Wouldn’t it be nice to have yourself all stocked up so that when Back to School time rolls around you’re already set to go?
Anyhow, I had to let you know about the sale! Happy browsing!
Thank you to all who hopped on over and followed our blogs and TPT Stores last weekend! Your participation in this little event was awesome! We do have a winner to announce
Teachingisagift McKay – your resources and Amazon gift code are on the way! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter!
I want to mention one more thing this evening. My post just went live on Global Teacher Connect yesterday and it’s about student blogging. I’d really encourage you to have a peek if you are currently blogging with your students OR if it’s something that you’d be interested in trying next year. I have a Collaborative Project: Student Blogging Form that you can fill out with your info so that you are able to contact each other and pair yourselves up! So far, there are teachers from Morocco, US, Canada, Ecuador and Bermuda who would like to blog this year or next! How cool is that?
If you would like to be contacted next year for blogging – just add that as a note on the form. We already have two teachers who have posted their info, who would be interested in something for next school year.
I’ve just started blogging with my students in the last month or so and we’re about to collaborate with another school on the Island and one in Ontario, Canada. The kids are trying to “fix up” their blogs a bit more for their audience – which is what we want! We want them writing for a purpose, and with an audience in mind! Anyhow, I can see this evolving into something more for next year. Maybe even a “Blog-folio” type of idea. Regular blogging would be great, but also, having their best pieces of writing displayed for an audience would be so cool. It would also be neat to see their writing abilities progress through the year. Anyhow, I am quite excited about what we’ve done with the blogs so far, although we all still have much to learn!
Check out the post on GTC and even if you’d be interested in having your students READ the student blogs and comment on them – fill out the form! The wider the audience the better! Plus, I’d love for my students to get comments from kids all around the world. That would be a big part of my ultimate goal. (I’ll be working on this next year…so stay tuned if you’re at all interested…)
That’s it for this evening! Please leave a comment here or on the Global Teacher Connect post if you have any tips or questions for me about student blogging.
I know what you’re thinking! What do you mean school’s almost out? We have 2 months to go! Well, I wanted to have one more giveaway before it got too close to the end of the school year to use the awesome ideas and resources you’ll find in this event!
So, I’ve teamed up a new blogger-friend, Joey, from Create, Teach and Share. We’ve come up with this fantastic blog hop and giveaway! The participating bloggers are below. Be sure to hop to each of their blogs this weekend, check out their posts and give them a follow. The theme of the blog hop is “year-end” and so I know that you’ll find some great ideas for the end of the school year and because of the timing – you’ll be able to use them this school year. Per-ty smart, huh?
So, for my post in this School’s (Almost) Out Blog Hop, I’ve got three “End of Year” inspired ideas!
1) I am a reflective person by nature and so I made a little Student Reflection freebie for students to think back on the year that was. You can have them fill it out, decorate it and then laminate the reflections and give them back with report cards, or use them as a display for “closing ceremonies”. I know that I would love to have a little memento from my school year and so I hope that they will as well.
2) In my school, the students “graduate” in grade seven as we are currently a grade K-7 school. I always do a slide show presentation for their ”graduation” and so at this point in the year I’m on the lookout for songs that would be useable for the slide show. Just in case you’re in the same boat – here are a few songs for you to consider! (I’ve included the versions with lyrics:)
3) Do you get your students gifts at the end of the school year? I never did, until last year (too cheap). I got this idea from Confessions of a Teaching Junkie last spring. It’s a Wordle! What’s a wordle, you ask? Well, it’s word art. This is how I did it.
In June, I gave the students a class list and told them that I was planning something for them, but that I couldn’t give them any details. I asked the students to put a kind word/compliment beside each classmate’s name (and gave lots of appropriate examples to begin with). Athletic, kind, creative, musical, funny – you name it. I collected and compiled the compliments. Then, I used the Wordle website to make a personalized piece of word art for each student containing their name and all of the kind words that their classmates said about them. I also framed the wordles with dollar store frames, to make them more substantial. The finished product was really beautiful! The kids appreciated them on graduation night – and I think I’ll have to do them again this year because they were so well received!
Okay, that’s just about it from me. Be sure to hop over to my co-host’s blog Create, Teach and Share - you’ll love her! She’s awesome, as are the dozen teacher-bloggers below who have joined in the fun this weekend. Grab a cup of coffee, kick back and enjoy. Oh and of course, don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!
Lots of awesome prizes to be won by ONE Grand Prize Winner!
Thanks again to the teachers above for their donations! Both Joey and I are giving you a choice of any three items in our TPT Stores and there’s a $35.00 Amazon gift card thrown in there as well:)
I’ve been super excited for this event, so I hope you enjoy it!
PLEASE NOTE: Just in case you’re new to Rafflecopter, clicking the “Follow Me” link on the widget doesn’t automatically follow the stores and blogs of the contributing teachers. It takes you to the store or blog and it’s up to you to follow once you’re there. If it’s a TPT Store, click on the red “Follow Me” above their name. If it’s a blog, look for how to follow them on the side bar – usually there are a few options. When you “Like” a Facebook link, it is automatic and then you can enter.
I haven’t done this before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. I’m having a FLASH SALE today, June 16th, until this time tomorrow. Everything in my TPT Store is 20% off. I know many people have finished for the year and next year is the furthest thing from their minds. However, school schedules vary depending on where in the world you are. I still have a couple of weeks left, and I know I’m starting to reflect on what my plans may include for next year. Perhaps you’re the same!
As I’ve mentioned before, most of my resources are for grades 6-9 Math, Language Arts, Classroom Management, Back to School…etc… Come on over to my TPT Store today to grab some items in my first ever flash sale!
I posted a challenge for you a while back. In case you missed it, I suggested that you ask your students to give you some feedback on your teaching before the end of the year. This is the original blog post: End of the Year Challenge for the Teacher.
There are lots of different ways to do this, however, I like to keep it simple. I ask my students to give me three things that I did a good job of, or generally positive comments about me and/or my teaching AND one thing that I could try to improve on for next year.
Well, I would never ask you to do something that I wasn’t going to do myself. So, just the other day, I had my students assess me and my teaching. As always, it was VERY worthwhile and I got lots of helpful feedback for next year. I thought I’d share just a few of these comments with you and remind you to take up the challenge to have your student assess you, if you haven’t done so already. As I said in the original post, you will be putting yourself “out there” when you take on this challenge. Students could try to hurt your feelings, however, I have found that they do take the task seriously for the most part, because I stress that it’s really about me being able to do a better job next year.
I gave my students some ideas to start off with about comments that would be helpful and those that would just be hurtful OR simply not helpful. “Too much homework” would not necessarily be helpful. I asked students to give a possible solution if they had a problem with how things were done this year, rather than just complaining about what they may not have liked. This way, they had to really think about what they were going to write before they wrote it. If they had a problem with how something was taught, this was the time and place to say so, however, I also was asking for a suggestion for how I could have done it differently – again focussing on me trying to improve things for next year.
Here’s what some of my students had to say. You’ll see from some of the comments, why I keep putting myself out there, year after year. It’s always worth it.
Of course I love the comments that give me the warm fuzzies – especially at this grade level and after a very challenge-filled year. Some students put that there wasn’t anything that they could think of for me to improve – not true…but nice to hear:)
I also got some great suggestions from my students: More in-class breaks, offering scheduled after school help for all subjects – not just Math, providing more time to rehearse presentations and giving more options for students who don’t like to talk in front of the class, switch from binders to scribblers to be more organized…etc… It was also quite clear that they appreciated the Social Studies and Math projects and games that I worked so hard on this year. I’ll definitely continue with those next year.
So, it’s time. Take on the challenge. As long as your students are still in front of you, it’s not too late. Be brave. Keep an open mind. And of course, let me know how it goes!
It was such a beautiful day here today – just felt like summer! We’re so close to the end now…I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve had quite a year! I won’t get into all of the gory details, but I am definitely looking forward to a bit of a break. We were in the paper quite a bit this year for different reasons and that will continue on for the next while. This is the most recent news story about my school, but it really is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what’s been going on this year. More details about that later, perhaps.
So believe me when I say, I know how busy and stressed everyone can be – especially at this time of year. We’re all looking at our curriculum documents, making sure (perhaps hoping) that we’ve covered everything…We’re looking at our students – wondering where they will finally finish in terms of placement or promotion into the next grade. It’s a hectic time, I realize. That being said, I have a challenge for you, because I know you’re up for it!
I believe in being a life-long learner. So, every summer, I find the time to read at least one professional book. I’m still on the lookout for what I’ll read this summer, so if you have any suggestions – please let me know! I find, that I have NO time to read much in the way of professional resources during the school year. However, over the summer, I can always find some time at the beach or on a lazy, rainy afternoon to do some reading to improve my practice. I always find lots of strategies, ideas and suggestions that I highlight and make mental notes of that I can use in my classroom the following year. Yes, it is the summer and we all need time off. But I find that when I don’t have the usual stresses of the classroom, picking up a professional resource is more of a pleasure than a pain, because I’m choosing to read it!
My challenge to you, is to find a professional book to read this summer. Before you run out and buy anything, I suggest checking with the resource department at your school. Chances are, that your resource teachers will have some professional books available that might be right up your alley. Maybe you even have a book in mind right now, something that you’ve been wanting to read, but haven’t gotten around to.
Of course, you need to take the beginning of your summer break to just breathe! Once you’ve gotten some relaxation in – mid-break…let’s say…I challenge you to pick up that professional resource and be one of the “life-long learners” that we encourage our students to be.
Below are some of the books that I’ve read in the last couple of years. If you have no idea what to read – any of these would be good places to start. It really depends on where you are in your career and what you’d like to know more about, or personally work on.
I LOVED each of these books for different reasons. Good luck with finding a book that you’re excited to read this summer and accepting my “challenge”. I bet a lot of you already do this anyway…not much of a challenge for you folks;)
“Motivating Students Who Don’t Care”
This is a quick read, at only 65 pages. It offers 5 main processes for motivating students and reasons why they may be unmotivated in the first place. A great read for those of us who teach middle school especially, where motivation can be a real issue.
“Start Where They Are”
This is a book that I’ve read MULTIPLE times and plan to pick up again this summer. It is the go-to book for doable, differentiation strategies for middle school.
“The First Days of School”
This is a classic for teachers, new and seasoned. It’s full of strategies and ideas to get organized for those first days of the school year, which makes it the perfect summer read.
So, once your year is officially done, take some time for yourself and when you’re ready, pull out that book and enjoy! Please let me know what books you plan to read or are reading, and what you think of them!
I want you to take a moment and think about how many times your students were judged and evaluated this year. How many tests did they take? Projects, assignments and oral presentations completed? Contests entered? Sports games or music concerts played? How many times were they asked to read aloud? Share their writing with others? Offer an answer in class?
Students take a lot of risks in the run of a year, although many of us may not really consider these things “risks”. Asking a student to share her writing with a partner (especially in the middle grades) is actually quite a significant risk to be taking. What if the other person makes fun of her? What if they didn’t write a story that was quite as long, will they think she’s a keener? What if they just don’t think the story’s funny and then they tell everybody how stupid it is? It’s risky and we ask them to do things like this every day.
We don’t ask students to take these risks for no reason, of course. We don’t assess and evaluate because it’s just so darned fun (well at least I don’t). We want our students to do better – to improve. We want them to be successful – that’s why we expect so much from them – time and time again. So, what’s your challenge, you may be wondering? Or perhaps you’ve figured it out.
Your challenge: Have your students assess your teaching for this year.
Think of it as your end of the year report card. Now, you could have (perhaps should have) gotten your students to assess your practices on a consistent basis this year – as we send a report card home each term or quarter. There’s always next year. But, for THIS year, what I want you to try is quite simple. Give your students some time to assess your teaching for this year. Have them reflect back on all of the projects that you completed, things you’ve done and said.
Let’s even save on photocopying, simply give your instructions on the board:
Write THREE things that I have done well this year and ONE (only ONE please) thing that I could try to improve on/do differently. Add as many specifics and details as possible and any advice that you think would be helpful.
Don’t forget..the “I” is you this time…not the students. Don’t have them do it for themselves as well – this assessment is for the teacher!
You want to know what you did a good job of this year so that you can try to do the same next year AND you’d really like to improve on some things as well. You need to know what to work on. They’re completing this assessment to help you, not hurt you! Make sure that you discuss what information would be helpful and what they could write that would just hurt your feelings. Any feedback you have given this year, was never meant to hurt their feelings and you expect them to be as professional with their comments. With that said, they ARE children and you must prepare yourself for what they could say. However, if 20/20 students say that the one thing you should work on, is not yelling so much, maybe they’re trying to send you a legitimate message – not just trying to be difficult. If you decide to accept this challenge – it is a challenge. Meaning, it’s not necessarily going to be easy. You’re putting yourself out there – so be ready.
Have students do this evaluation completely independently. You can give them some examples of what would be helpful and what wouldn’t, to get them started. You can’t stop giving tests, for example, but maybe you could give a review sheet before the test. Also, you want to know what projects they enjoyed, but you want to know WHAT it was that they enjoyed about the project.
When you read their comments – be prepared for your students to be honest. Think of all of the things that you’ve said or written on papers…think of all of the grades that they’ve seen on the tops of their pages. Think about every test or assignment that you’ve given back…some students sit on the edge of their seats waiting and others cringe. If you decide to complete this challenge, you are allowing yourself to be judged. You’re asking them what you could improve on – so take those things seriously. What they say in both categories may or may not surprise you. But wouldn’t you like to do better next year? What would your students say about you? I challenge you to find out!
*Warning: You take this challenge at your own risk! If you have a group of nasty, mean students who try to hurt your feelings and give no helpful information at all – I apologize. However, I commend you for taking the risk in the first place. You know your kids. You know may what they’re capable of – the good, the bad and the ugly. Good for you for taking the risk, to try to improve your teaching.*