The Highway to Success

Ending the school year with a strong finish

"Are we there yet?"

The end of the school year is a lot like those long car trips. Your students are ready for school to be over and for the summer to begin. We, as teachers, have to encourage students to stay engaged and to keep their eyes on "their road to their destination"---a successful ending to the school year. We must help them plan for a strong finish to the school year. Here are some strategies to keep your students thinking positively and for staying engaged.

1. At least once each week—until the final class—remind students where they started and how far they have come, academically and socially, as well as in their attitude and effort.

2. Be precise when reminding students of all the attitudes and actions that have gotten them to this point. We might say, “These are the reasons for your success. Do not abandon these characteristics in the last days of school. Build upon them. Perfect them.”

3. Lay out both a daily and weekly plan of achievement for the final days of school. Students must know about and understand the plan, the need for it, and the achievement that is expected.

4. Resist the urge to change the rules of the game—especially now. If you want to guarantee a troubled ending, all you need to do is change your expectations, initiate new procedures, install new rules, or change your approach.

5. Celebrate work, effort, improvement, and success frequently.

6. Remember the importance of relationships. Relationships are very important to students at this time.

Motivate and Prepare Students for Testing

Some students get nervous about taking tests. Calm their nerves by sharing a great book. The Big Test is a entertaining book that teaches students several good test-taking strategies, but the most important one of all is to RELAX! Follow up the read aloud with a "taste-testing" of learning. Allow students to bring a healthy snack to school. Use the snack as a true learning opportunity. For example, set up learning centers for specified academic activities. If a child brings a banana, have him or her use a math skill like dividing the banana into fractional portions. Additionally, have an informational article about bananas with a corresponding constructed response. It might be best to plan the snack ahead of time or provide a specified snack for students. (I have a copy of this book for each elementary school!!)
Inspirational video You can do this