As the end of the school year approaches, you may find it challenging to keep your students engaged and motivated in class. As a secondary multiple prep teacher, you may find yourself in one of two situations:

  1. either you have a lot of content to cover with little time left,
  2. or you have finished everything early and don’t know what to do with your students for the remaining weeks.

In this blog post, we will share five strategies that can help keep your students engaged and motivated during the final stretch of the school year.

Strategy 1: Help students Create End-of-School-Year Portfolios

Portfolios are a great way for students to showcase their progress throughout the school year. You can ask your students to collect and compile their best work into a tangible item that they can take with them.

Creating portfolios does take some preparation. But, it’s a great way to show students where they started and where they finished. And it provides them with a sense of accomplishment.

Strategy 2: Have Students Create their Own End-of-School-Year Review Games

End-of-year assessments can be boring or time-consuming to prepare for. So why not have your students create their own review games?

You can ask them to develop review activities based on units they learned throughout the year. This activity can be a team project or an individual assignment. It can be assessed based on how well the other students perform when playing their game.

Strategy 3: Showcase End-of-School-Year Student Work

You can showcase your students’ work through a variety of methods, such as posters or presentations. For instance, you can have your students create trifold poster boards using PowerPoint. (Think “professional science fair”).

They can include photos, screenshots, and descriptions of their project. These posters can then be printed and displayed around the classroom or the school.

You can invite parents or other members of the community to a science fair-style showcase. Where students present their work and explain what they learned.

Strategy 4: Plan an End-of-School-Year Field Trip

Planning a field trip can be a great way to keep your students motivated during the final weeks of the school year. It can be a reward for their hard work throughout the year, and it can be a fun way to learn outside the classroom.

You can plan a trip to a museum, park, or any other location that is relevant to your course material. Some of our favorite field trips didn’t require us to leave the school. Just the classroom.

Field trips can be a great way to help students connect what they have learned in the classroom to the real world.

Strategy 5: Conduct an End-of-School Year Project-Based Learning Activity

Project-based learning activities can be a great way to engage your students and allow them to work on a topic they are interested in.

You can ask your students to develop a project that addresses a real-world problem, or you can provide them with a list of topics to choose from.

These projects can be individual or team assignments. They can be assessed based on the students’ ability to apply what they learned throughout the year. Or maybe they aren’t assessed at all.

In Summary

The end of the school year can be a stressful time for teachers, but it doesn’t have to be a dull one for students. These five strategies can help keep your students engaged and motivated, even during the final stretch of the school year.

Whether it’s creating portfolios, developing review games, showcasing student work, planning a field trip, or conducting a project-based learning activity, there are many ways to keep your students interested and invested in their learning.

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You are in the final stretch of the school year, and I’m finding that teachers will fall into one of two camps. The first one is that you have. So little time left of the school year. By yet. You have so much content that you need to cover, you’re trying to figure out how to smoosh it all together.

And then the second camp is you have done a very good job of getting everything covered, so much so that you still have a few weeks left and you do not know what. To do today’s episode is going to be speaking to that latter camp,  and even if you do feel like you are crunched for time, there are probably some little nuggets that you can get from this.

I’m going to be sharing five strategies or things that you can do to keep your students engaged and motivated in the final stretch of the school year. Welcome to the Secondary Teacher Podcast, the podcast for middle and high school teachers juggling multiple preps to get the strategies to reduce.

Overwhelm so that you don’t have to choose between being an effective teacher and prioritizing important relationships. I’m your host, Khristen Massic, a 10-year high school engineering teacher, former middle school assistant principal and teacher coach. Every week we will discuss strategies, systems, and time-saving tips to help you not only survive but thrive as a multiple prep teacher.

With my new position at the district office, I’m doing a lot more again with high schools and. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a traditional high school, and I’m starting to feel that anxious, nervousness, excited part of the end of the school year with the seniors and who’s going to graduate and what awards are they going to get if they’re going to graduate.

All of that that I haven’t actually experienced for a while and. Brought back a lot of memories. We have all of this happening with the seniors, and then most of my classes were split. I had juniors and seniors and sometimes sophomores all in the same class period, and our seniors would check out.

Early, and we were expected to continue to teach up until the last day of school, but there was always some unsurety of What, what am I supposed to teach when some students have already checked out not just mentally checked out, but they’ve already gotten their okay to graduate and they’re not showing back up again.

Did have to get creative about what to do with those last few weeks of school so that. Students would still stay engaged. I’m going to share five things and the last two are my favorites, so I’m saving them to the end, but I’m gonna start with portfolios. Now, this one I debated about whether, whether or not to put this on the list because it does take a little bit more prep in that if your students haven’t saved their artifacts or if they weren’t digital artifacts, it’s a little bit difficult to compile a portfolio at the end of the school year.

If they have nothing to actually put in there, but I’m going to put it in there anyway because it is a great way to show progress for your students where they started, where they finished, and gives them a tangible item to leave your class. Now the second one is to have them create their own review games.

We. Are typically doing some sort of end of level course assessment, whatever, and they can get kind of boring or it’s a lot of work on your part to create a bunch of review materials. And this is a great time to have students create their own, you can do it a few different ways. One would be here’s all of the course material and have them come up with some sort of review activities for each other.

And that can be part of the assessment is how well the other team does and that other group and kind of share those ideas. You’re putting it back on their plate and it could be the entire class. It’s the cumulative, whatever you learned in the class. The other thing you could do is you could have them choose specific units that they either enjoyed themselves or they felt like there was something missing and they would have possibly been able to get more from it, had their

Been some sort of resource or game or activity or something that they are going to develop. Moving on to number three is showcasing student work. Now, once again, I feel like most of my ideas. In this episode are having two different prongs, but one would be to have a showcase. This does, of course, require a little bit more effort on your part because you would need to figure out how that looks.

Is it going to be after school? Is it going to be during class? Who are you going to invite? Is it going to be science fair style, where parents or audience members or faculty or whomever goes from student to student, table to table and learns from them? Or you could do posters. One of the things that I learned from an FFA advisor was how to create a trifold poster board using PowerPoint.

And I didn’t realize that you could do this. Until showed me. But you can make your slide huge that a plotter could print out, and it could be two feet by three feet or three feet by four feet or whatever, and you can have students put together a poster and then you can get it printed or plotted.

Now, I had a plotter in my classroom because I taught drafting, but most school districts will have that. Or if you need to, you can go to Staples or Kinkos or any other like, Print shops will also have a large format printer, and you could have them do it in black and white. They look really good in color, and what I loved about it is that you could have them take photos or screenshots or things that they were doing, explain what they learned.

Maybe they can tell a little bit about the project, something that they’re proud of, and then you can print that off. And then those can be showcased around your classroom. They can also be around the school. It kind of helps in a couple of different ways. It’s showcasing your students, but then it’s also advertising the cool things that you are doing in your classes.

Okay. Then my next one, this is one of my favorites, is to do some sort of summer job prep. This is a perfect time where students are getting ready to go into the summer and. You’ll probably find that a lot of your students are getting a job or they need to get a job, or they want to get a job, but with.

Cell phones and devices and everything else. I find that students are having a harder time with their communication, especially when they are in situations where they don’t know anyone, and a job interview and application is definitely one of those uncomfortable situations that they don’t have practice with that you can help give them a leg up so you could have them.

Find applications. Online, search for jobs, show them how to find a job. You could have them fill out applications. A lot of them are probably digital now if they’re even requiring applications. Going through that, helping them through that, letting them ask questions as they’re filling out applications.

And quite honestly, some of your students are going to need to role play how to even ask for an application or whether or not a place. Is hiring, all great, wonderful things you could do. Then this would also lead you into interviews. Depending on the amount of time you have, think about, do I have time to do interviews, interview skills, what do you wear?

How do you talk, how to present yourself? Do you shake hands? Do not shake hands. All the interviewing etiquette and then. If you have even more time, you could go into mock interviews. You could bring in other paraprofessionals from the school, parents, other teachers, other people who’d help you out and actually conduct some mock interviews.

This would not only help your lowerclassmen, but your seniors as well, and even your. Your middle school students, they may not be applying for jobs, but to get them that practice and having that communication skills, those are going to really benefit them in their lives and help kick off their summer really well.

And my last and final one, which is my favorite, is previewing your next course. I know. Recourse requests have already, that ship has sailed. But more likely than not, I know this from being friends with counselors, is that not every student turned in their, their registration card or however your school does it.

More likely than not, they still have students who need to find out what classes they would like to take in the fall and in our district. Our students can still change their schedules, it’s not set in stone. It’s mostly set in stone, but not really, students still change their schedules over the summer.

This is another time where you can be promoting your next class, but think about something that would be fun or intriguing. You could start a. Project that would be something that you’re going to be doing in that next class. One of the things that I’d love to do was allow them to use my 3D printers.

There were certain classes that used the 3D printers frequently, and those were typically my advanced classes, but my beginning classes or even something like robotics that wasn’t really related to 3D printing or didn’t have that in their standards, they always wanted to use the 3D printers because they saw them in the room.

This was a point of. The school year where I would give them a little taste. We would do the first unit of that class or have them create something very small that would be quick, that didn’t have a huge learning curve, but that would give them a quick win and then a sample. Into the class so that they could possibly decide to take it next year if they hadn’t already decided to take it already.

Let’s recap the five different things that you can do to keep your students engaged at the end of the school year. And I know there are certain grades that this is easier said than done, but I’m looking at it specifically from the high school lens of. Those who are getting senioritis and all the other students who are getting it as well, even if they’re not seniors.

The first is to have them compile portfolios. The second would be create their own review games to review the content that you taught in your class. The third is showcase your student work. And this can be in an event or it could be something like posters. The fourth is some summer job. Prep applications, interviewing all of the stuff that goes along with getting a job.

And the fifth and final one is give them a taste and a sample of the next course that you would like them to sign up for. If this episode was helpful to you, it could be for others To help spread the word about this podcast, take a screenshot of this episode, add it to your IG stories, and tag me at Khristen Massic, K H R I S T E N M A S S I C.

Until next week.

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