Sailing Into Summer Blog Hop

Guess what? 

It’s almost time to turn off the alarm clock!  The end of the school year is just around the corner, and the final countdown has begun (maybe weeks ago for some of you). As part of my end of the year preparations, I am once again thrilled to participate in a blog hop sponsored by Julie Faulkner and the Language Arts Classroom.  In the spirit of Julie Faulkner’s “fast five” theme, here are five “Sailing into Summer” thoughts I want to share with you:

1)      Final Exam Freebie
Need something for early finishers to do?  Or do you, like me, have a short exam and a two hour block of time?  Never fear!  I have a FREE activity that you can use with this extra time.  Have your students write advice letters to the next year’s students.  If you prefer, this can also be developed into a longer lesson for one of the last days. Best of all, these letters serve two purposes- just post the letters next school year for a quick and easy bulletin board!



2)    Don't Fix What Ain't Broke
When studying novels in my classroom this year, I incorporated more discussion than ever.  It just makes sense that if students are going to be “college and career” ready, they should be taking more ownership of their learning.  However, it has been quite challenging for students to initiate productive discussion.  In response, I tried several activities to encourage thoughtful discussion. For example, I had them watch online videos of classes completing Socratic seminars.  I also required partner rehearsal before whole-class discussion and used a “whip around” to get us started.  In “whip around,” every student shares something about the reading without interruption from other classmates.  I plan to continue these discussions and hope to improve them even more next school year.  Keep an eye out in my TpT store for resources to facilitate these discussions in your classroom, too!

3) Nothing to Lose
Frustrated with the use of cell phones in my class, I'm on the hunt for new strategies for dealing with them next school year.  Apparently, I am not the only one with this struggle as there has been a recent TpT discussion thread about this topic.  Since cell phones will not be going away, and my administration does not help teachers enforce the current rule in which students are required to keep them off during class, I think I may just try reverse psychology.  Maybe even, I will require them to keep their cell phones on their desks where they are visible to me?  I’m still uncertain of my exact plan, and would love suggestions in the comments below!



4)  Graduation Gifts
Last year, I purchased mini-buckets from the Dollar Store and filled them with Smarties for my entire Advanced Placement English Literature class (all seniors in high school).  Then I wrote a note on each which said, “Congratulations Smartie!”  For this year’s students I may do a similar gift with candy.  I am thinking of filling gift bags with candy bars and silly sayings such as, “You survived Mounds of work” and “You are no Air Head.” And for a few special students, I expect to buy books or journals as graduation gifts.



5)     Packing Tip
Are you overwhelmed with the idea of packing up your classroom? In our school, we have to take all posters & decorations off our walls and put everything in our cabinets for the summer.  If you face a similar situation and your administration allows it, get the students to help you pack up!  I have found that my students LOVE to help breakdown my classroom during the last couple of days of school.  It also saves me from hours of extra work!



Hope these thoughts help you survive these last few days.  Thanks for “hopping” over to OCBeachTeacher and celebrating the end of the school year with me!
Hop on over to these blogs also!

9 comments

  1. We have had cellphones in the classroom for a few years now. The best strategy that worked for me was to have it on the desk face down. Let us know what you come up with.

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  2. I am so curious as to what you will find to use with cell phones! I also like the idea of showing Socratic Seminars on video - do you recommend any specific videos? Thanks!

    -Lisa
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

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  3. Hi Kristi, I like the idea of having them keep their phones face down on their desks. Then, if there is a reason to use them, I can just ask students to flip them over. Kim

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  4. Hi Lisa, I don't have a specific video to recommend yet because the ones I found are really more for teachers than students. However, I plan to keep searching for some better ones to show my students next year and will share when I find them! Kim

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  5. No clue about the cell phones (sorry)! Is that a picture of your classroom? It looks so welcoming. :)

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  6. Is cell phone use allowed at all? Sometimes letting them set the class rules around their use lets them take ownership and they are more likely to follow them. Keeping them on the desk is good too. Turned over!

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  7. I've embraced cell phones, rather than continued to fight them. There are some fun apps that allow me to post quizzes and have students text in answers. They buy in and since their phones are out, I don't have to keep telling students to put them away.

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  8. I loved all these ideas- my fav post of yours!! Thanks for joining us!
    - Julie

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  9. Thanks, Julie! @Melissa - What apps do you use? I have tried polleverywhere.com but would definitely be interested in other recommendations.

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