The last couple of weeks of school I believe are the hardest of the year. The students are ready to be finished which makes it harder for the teachers. The teachers are ready for summer, which makes it hard for the teachers. We still have things to teach, but the students cannot sit still and don't have the patience for long lessons or big assignments. So what do we do?
What I did this year, which will probably come back to haunt me over these last 9 days of school, is give them a hands on project to work on. We are spending at least 5 class days working on a end of unit project. It involves drawing, writing, creativity, and most of all a different pace during class.
This last week, I watched a lot of them get excited about what they were doing, they loved being able to be hands on and show what they know in a different way other than on a worksheet. Of course, there were some of them that just wanted to finish as quickly as possible and make my life miserable over the next couple of days because they believe that their small effort was going to be worthy of an A. (I stipulated that if it didn't contain some sort of color, I would be putting an A on it.) But you know what, sometimes I have to think about the students that this means the world to because they have put up with me all year, making them write and read without the least bit of a chance to do a project such as this.
Something I realize as I watch this students complete this assignment is that, I need to do a better job of having more assignments like this. They love being hands on, and unfortunately in Language Arts, we spend a lot of time reading, writing or talking, not a lot of time creating. I am challenging myself to come up with more ways to have them create things next year.
(Over the summer, I will write a post of all the challenges I make to myself for next year.)
What sort of hands on projects do you have your students do?