Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finishing Well

I was looking back over my posts and realized that April has been a little sparse. Five For Friday keeps me motivated (most of the time), but in general I feel like most things start to fizzle out in April because the end of the year craziness is approaching. Let's keep it real. Some teachers seems to keep it all together all year long, but I am definitely not one of them! ;) I've had many moments this year that I have felt like I am hanging by a thread. Other moments where I am amazed at how things are clicking, and that, in spite of it all the kids are flourishing and growing. 

Those moments make it worth it.

Normally, by April, I'm already thinking how next year will be "different" I start doing a lot of end of the year reflecting on how I need to change things for next year to help things run more smoothly. My "next year" list starts forming, and growing. 

But this year I feel the need to make sure I am finishing well. I want my kids to enjoy every minute until the very end. I want to make the most of the time that's left to keep pushing my kids forward. I want to teach the content, but make sure we are having fun as well. 

It can be so hard though. Spring fever has hit my classroom. The weather is beautiful. Needs are great and it makes kids emotional. It can be exhausting to stay two steps ahead. Its hard to find the right balance. The balance between staying on schedule and taking advantage of spontaneous moments. Maintaining order, but letting loose sometimes. Sticking to the expectations or giving some extra motivation. It's HARD!

How do we finish well?
I would love some more ideas, but here is what we will be trying!

Popsicle (POP SEE KO. you know you say it like that too.) Fridays: Our team started this a lot earlier last year, but if the kids have had a good week, they get a popsicle at recess on Friday. Last year the kids that didn't had a little inside, practice time. We wanted to make sure we were rewarding kids that always tried their best, and hopefully motivate the others too.

Gardening: We are finishing up our unit on how the world works and moving into how we organize ourselves. We have a bunch of seeds we have started growing and some brand new raised beds that are needing to be filled. I thought we could bridge our units and figure out how the way we could work together to keep the garden thriving and manage chores and such. Plus the outside time will be a bonus.

Teamwork Time: That is coming back full force. The kids are having trouble getting along again so we are going to go above and beyond to make sure we stay friends to the end. ;) It will be fun to try out some of the same tasks now that they are almost second graders! 

Partner Reading: Once or twice a week we are going to make sure we are getting together with other classes to practice our reading. We have fourth grade buddies that we have met with all year. We can read with other first grade classes, read to kindergarteners, listen to second graders read to us. We have practiced reading all year long. Now it is time to show off to others what a great job we are doing. (Plus being able to chat briefly with another adult is a bonus! ;) )

Make it fun: Go Noodle and Kahoot. Learn while you play and move. At this stage you sometimes just have to fool those kids into learning!

Go Home: Really, at the end of the day. Sometimes the best way to finish well it to leave the mess behind and recharge doing whatever makes you most happy. 

So. I will finish well. I will give it my best. And on the days I am not to sure, I will reread this post and remember these ideas. ;) 

What would you add to the list?

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