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Testing is Done…What Do We Do With Our Students NOW?

The tests are taken and are secured at Fort Knox. Yeah! We’re Done! Time to send our students home for the summer. Oops – according to the calendar, instruction is supposed to continue for a few weeks.  What now?

I reached out to some of my favorite MyEdExpert.com authors for help. One thing in common: do something highly engaging.  Because motivation can sure wane when students start seeing blank bulletin boards and textbooks stacked in the corners…

First, a math idea that I love…and if you have $5 it’s already built. Jerry Burkhart, an author whose expertise is in creative math thinking, has something called “Intrepid Math Problems.” Get this: these problems typically take DAYS to solve and potentially have multiple answers.  These are a math EXPERIENCE in which students solve to learn…rather than learn to solve.

Todd Stanley, who has penned several ed books, believes that this window between testing and summer is the perfect time for what he calls a “passion project.”   Students chose an area of study that they want to delve into. (I concur! This is when my students selected any decade that we’d studied during the spring for deeper examination.)

Find a fascinating novel to read to them, perhaps from a period of history they’ve studied. That’s one idea from Laurel Schmidt, author & expert on inquiry-based strategies. Or, consider inviting in some community experts to share their work or hobbies with the class.

Monica Burns’ response did not surprise me, being the tech guru that she is. Explore new technology tools! This is the perfect time to revisit units that warrant additional time, but freshen them up by incorporating new tech tools.

Angela Peery, who has a new book out called Blended Vocabulary, thinks this is an opportune time to explore Greek and Latin roots with engaging mini-lessons.  Students can create short phone videos, draw pictures, play games…love it!

What about doing something cross-curricular? Learners can see that, “Hey, you use math in SS!” If you’re interested in this approach, I have a jigsaw experience in which students each play a role, including mathematician and engineer in deciding, “Which invention shook up the world more, the cell phone or the cotton gin?”

Enjoy your last weeks!

Suzy Pepper Rollins

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One comment

  1. Sheila White

    I began to think of what I’ve done in my history classes at the end of the year and a few things came to mind. I’ve had success with role playing historical events; a dinner table with famous people goes well. I’ve done diplomatic problems where students try to find solutions to global issues like the Middle East; students even write treaties. If the tech is available, have students write storyboards, scripts, and produce a short film of an event from the past. Invite classes to an assembly where the films are shown on the big screen! I’ve also shown historical themed movies where students critique the accuracy of the scenes, costumes, locations, etc. Then they can write a review of the film. When I taught philosophy, I covered existentialism and invited a French teacher with her AP class to have a morning discussion – I served croissant while my colleague delivered a presentation on Sartre and we discussed how we felt about this school of thought. You can keep kids as engaged in the last weeks as you’ve done throughout the year! – Sheila

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