The end of the school year is always my favorite! I love how we have our routines down, we have learned a ton, and then we are able to celebrate! It is filled with fun projects and events that are so special! I like to make a big deal and host several games and have fun projects during the last week! Since we are doing school digitally I have had to adapt. I thought I would share some of my end of the year must haves for distance learning!
I am putting everything into one large Point to screen share on Zoom. My co-teacher will manage the questions and hands while I manage the PowerPoint. I used backgrounds I got from Callie Danielle’s Happy Pack and they make the whole presentation so cute! It is only $5 a month and is totally worth it (I AM OBSESSED!!).
Digital Memory Book: I love having my students put together a memory book at the end of the year! It is a great keepsake for them. Typically I pair this with a portfolio but the bulk of our work is done the last quarter of school (current day quarantine). I created this memory book as a digital alternative. Simply upload to Google Classroom, or whatever platform you use, and share so your students can edit their own copies! They can type in their answers! They can also print it out if they prefer a paper copy!
Slideshow: Cue the waterworks. I love looking back at pictures from the year and seeing how my students were BABIES and then all of a sudden they have aged a ton (in a good way!!) I try my best to take pictures throughout the year, not a strength of mine, and put together a slideshow in iMovie. I pair it with a song or two that we loved that year!! This year’s song is “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” My students are Disney/Pixar obsessed and I cannot wait to see their reactions, or should I say the parents reactions…. The parents always LOVE the slideshow! I will upload it to YouTube as an unlisted video so parents can share the link to loved ones, a parent who could come, or just keep it! I so wish I could share my slideshow with you all, but obviously I cant.
Awards: These are not your typical awards. I like to focus on character qualities and things that make the students them! Last year was my first year having the kids vote on which award their classmates received and it was a huge hit! To adapt it to present day I created a quick form and then the kids submitted their votes. I used this pack this year (it’s free on TPT!!)This is another great pack (also FREE)! This year I mailed the certificates with a little confetti (sorry parents) to the students and they will open it at our Zoom Awards!
Guess Who – Baby Edition: This is a new game for this year! I asked the parents to email me a photo of their child as a baby and put it together in a slideshow. I am going to have them guess who each baby is and have some fun with it! My co-teacher and I also contributed our baby pictures!! I think it will be a lot of fun!
I hope these ideas were helpful as you come up with some ideas for the end of the school year! I cant’ believe we have done a whole quarter online! It is bittersweet ending the year like this, but I am grateful for the technology we have to still do some of my favorite activities!
The end of the year is quickly approaching! For me, our last day is Tuesday June 9th. There are a few things I like to do every year at the end of the year! They help me to go into the next school year not completely overwhelmed by what I didn’t do at the end of last year.
Have a box of supplies ready for the next school year. I got this idea from Samantha Henry on TPT. You can download here freebie here. I also like to throw masters of handouts I have found that like to use the next school year as well as those things that I can never seem to find at the beginning of the year.
Password list – I can’t tell you how many times I do not remember my passwords! Make sure you write them all down (don’t forget your school computer password – this was a mess for me last year). If you don’t do anything else do this! Download my FREEBIE on TPT here!
Send out thank you notes to your families. I think this is a nice gesture and it is good for families to know that we appreciate them and are grateful for everything they have done. With the craziness of this year I think this is even more important! I even like to give a little token to those parents who have volunteered during the year.
Put away your last week of school things and organize all loose materials! you will feel so much better when you walk into a clean classroom next school year! I know it is not fun, but put on some jamming music, a podcast, or show and get busy! It will be worth it!
Laminator – a must have for any teacher! I know many schools provide large laminators, however I often find that it pulls apart. My personal laminator has been way more durable!
Paper cutter – like a fool, I waited to purchase this going into my second year of teaching. If you are going to be a teacher and can only buy one thing pick this! We have so many things to cut (especially primary grades) and this saves your thumb from aching!
Door bell – weird but super effective for getting student’s attention. This is my signal each morning for the kids to come to the carpet for morning meeting.
Sticky clips – GAME CHANGER especially if you do not have much bulletin board space. These stick to cinderblock and are removable and re-stickable.
Carpet markers – my kindergarteners starting ripping up my rug we sat on for whole group time. I transitioned to these and they are amazing. They stick firmly on the carpet in my classroom and the best part is that the kiddos cannot lift them up at all.
Clear pockets with binder holes – Okay, so I keep all my third grade science and social studies units in their respective binders. I had had the problem with task cards and vocabulary cards falling out of the inside pocket until I found these. These are amazing! Just slip one in your binder rings and store all your vocabulary cards or task cards without them falling out!
Heavy duty pencil sharpener – let’s be real, we sharpen 100s of pencils a week. You need a heavy duty sharper so you don’t have to walk to the office/resource room/where ever your school pencil sharper is. This one is great and has lasted me a few years!
“Teacher Toolbox” – If you have ever searched for teacher organization on Pinterest you’ve seen this, it’s a classic for a reason! It’s a great way to store all those little office supplies! TPT has tons of great labels. No joke I have purchased 4 different versions of these! This year I switched it up with this FREE one on TPT!
Dry erase pocket sheet protectors – These were a game changer when I first found them. I like whiteboards, but these are something else! You can print off any sheet and stick it in there for the kids to write on with dry erase marker. I would primarily use these for station work or game recording sheets. You also save paper 🙂
Photo Case Storage Box – These are great for storing those amazing large station packs primary teachers will inevitably purchase on TPT! I like the clear sets over the colored sets but both are amazing! Look out at craft-stores for these too!
I am a solid 8 weeks into distance teaching and we still have 3 and a half weeks left!!! It’s crazy to believe that our whole 4th quarter (and then some) has been remote. Despite this time being so unideal I am grateful for the way it has helped me to grow in how I use technology in the classroom. Today I thought I would share some technology related distance learning tips with you all!
Keep in mind that I do teach two grade levels: kindergarten (math) and third grade (social studies and science).
Educreations App for iPad – Okay, so Lauren introduced this app to me and I am forever grateful! I’ve been able to use this app when I teach math lessons to my kindergarteners. I am able to take a picture of our math worksheet and work through it with them. Best of all – it records anything I say! It has been so helpful! You can also use it as a typical whiteboard.
Brain Pop – Brain Pop videos have been LIFE! They also are offering FREE accounts during this time! My students are obsessed with Brain Pop videos and I basically have one for every single social studies or science lesson.
Google Forms!!! – Google Forms are just great in general. I would use them to poll parents for certain events or to get some feedback. During the pandemic I have been using them as my assignments for every single worksheet/quiz we would typically have. Not only does it provide them with instant feedback it is also way easier than having the parents take pictures and send it to you. I will do another blog post later about some Google Form tips and tricks.
Zoom/Google Meet for Morning Meetings – Let me be the first to say I am not a fan of video chatting and when we were discussing teaching live over Zoom I was not stoked. My third grade co-teachers and I have been hosting daily Zoom morning meetings and they have been amazing! We keep it simple and really try and use this time to continue to build connection and have fun (no academics…gasp!) Here’s what our schedule looks like:
Prayer (I teach at a Christian School)
Opening question – We try and keep it fun and silly 🙂
We quickly go over the assignments for the day
Game/Activity – This has been the best part! We’ve done scavenger hunts, would you rather, never have I ever, Trivia, GoNoodle, dance parties, show and tell, and so many other fun things!
Last little bit to chat (aka chaos).
On teacher appreciation day I got a sweet card from a student telling me how much she has loved seeing her classmates! It is so worth all the technology hiccups and love/hate relationship with Zoom. I would highly recommend! They miss their friends and I learned that most of them don’t even have each other’s numbers!
Comment with what technology you have loved using during this time!
One of the most challenging parts about being a primary teacher is having engaging materials for my students to interact with. In my first year teaching kindergarten I had no clue what to do and found myself running to my co-teacher and TPT for all the help! One of my students’ favorite games was memory games or matching games…they loved them! I created this set of matching games using CVC words with all the vowels as middle letters. They are easy prep and can be used in literacy stations or as informal assessment. The beauty of this activity is that it can be used in a group or with an individual student! I hope these games are useful for you and that your students love them!
Each vowel has cards with graphics, purchased from Educlips, and matching words. I offer a color and black and white set.