At the end of the term…
Returning from a week of conferences around the UK, I suddenly realised that schools only have one more week left before their summer holidays. Working in higher education when I have annual leave rather than set holidays, I sometimes become disjointed from the regular rotation of holidays and/or events associated with the school year. Since things are coming to an end, this week’s waffle is about activities that I used to do in the last week of term.
Stained glass windows make a good end of term activity.
If memory serves me right, by now the reports have been written and the final year 6 play completed and the costumes and props packed away for another year. Sports Day is just around the corner with plenty of opportunities within the daily practices to teach mathematics. Although everyone is looking forward to a well earned break, there is still another week to go and the it is important to maintain a sense of learning to the bitter end. In order to do this, I always tried to create activities which were more open ended that the children could participate in.
“Don’t forget to rate this waffle at the end – thanks!”
Welcome to the class – At the end of anything, it is important to take time to reflect and make changes. Sitting down with the children and discussing what they have enjoyed about the organisation of the class during the past year and what they thought went well, allows them to express their views as well as you gaining some valuable feedback ready for next year. This also allows you the opportunity to make changes for next year with the children rather than doing this in isolation over the summer. Once these have been discussed and finalised, the children can be encouraged to write a letter of welcome to a pupil who will coming into the class. This can follow a basic template – for example – what the child has enjoyed and even a piece of advice. Creating their own envelope in another lesson and decorating it makes it all more personal. Remember the selfie you took earlier in the year? Well these can be used again to create a digital image of a stamp which can be collated onto a couple of sheets of A4 paper and printed off (maybe even in colour!).
Stained glass windows – I’m not sure whether I have waffled about this before, but it is always worth a repeat. Taking a sheet of A4 paper, the children draw pencil lines across the page in different directions forming a range of spaces of different sizes and shapes. Thinking back across the year, the children take the opportunity to remember the different activities and/or events which they have enjoyed and depict these in the spaces in the form of an image supported with some keywords. These can then be coloured (including the background to the image) until the whole page is completed. If you want this task to take a shorter period of time then using A5 paper is an alternative. Once the paper is completely covered then a felt tip pen and a ruler can be used to go over the original lines forming the stained glass window effect. These can be laminated before the children take them home…if the budget allows. This activity not only allows the children to create their own record of the year but it also promotes discussion where the children reminisce on their year within your class.
Right at the end – At the start of every year I have a speech that I give to the children about the year ahead. In one part of this I say to them that before they will know it I will be stood in front of them saying that the year is over and that it was time for their summer holidays. At the time they often say to me that it seems ages away but, as we are well aware, time goes quickly – especially when enjoying yourself at school! Right at the end of the last day, in the last two minutes, I remind them of my speech, having not referred to it at all since the first day. It always puts a smile on my face as they suddenly remember the first day and all say, as if they are now adults…”Where did that year go!”
Other activities which I have completed with the children, but don’t have the time to detail here, include creating a super hero team, similar to the Fantastic Four, recording videos/podcasts of them speaking to themselves in ten years time and creating a ‘Dummy Guide’ to Year 3/4. Whatever you decide to do, remember that time goes quicker when the children are actively engaged so keep planning in reduced detail until the bitter end! If you are coming to the end of a year of teaching, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I always did and make sure that you have a break over the summer.
I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send me them to be via twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, google+ or email.
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Have fun, engage and I’ll catch you later