Don’t Get Caught Watching The Paint Dry
In the classic movie Hoosiers (1986), “Shooter” Flatch, the assistant basketball coach calls “Timeout!” In the huddle, he tells the team “This is the last shot that we got….We’re going to run the Picket Fence….Don’t get caught watching the paint dry!” As classrooms across the United States enter the final days of the school year, I am reminded of this scene from the movie. ‘This is the last shot that we got’ with each of our students. Are we going to have Field Day, Movie Day, Pajama Day, Beach Day, Popcorn Day, and Free Day? Are we going to coast until the final bell rings or are there more intentional ways to end the school year?
In recent years, I have seen several positive ways to spend the final weeks of the school year. Students come to school thirsty for learning. I understand that there are more discipline referrals at the end of the year and that some students are trying to get suspended from school so they can start the summer break early. What if we made the end of the school year more fun than watching the paint dry?
20 Ways To Spend The Final Weeks Of The School Year
1. STEAM Day
2. Scavenger Hunt with GPS or QR Codes/Review Key Skills
3. Mystery Reader Day
4. Jump Rope For Heart
5. International Day
6. Music Day
7. Design a Doodle 4 Google
8. Mystery Skype
9. Leadership Theme Day
10. Lunch with Parents Day
11. Math Theme Day
12. Digital Citizenship Day
13. MakerSpace Day
14. Buddy Readers
15. LEGOS Day
16. Make a Class YouTube video.
17. Poetry Slam
18. Adopt a University (By Class)
19. Career Day
20. Imagination Station
Ask students to design the dream classroom. You may be surprised by what you get.
Employers are searching the globe for employees with the 5 Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Contribution. Take a timeout with your co-workers. Analyze the final weeks of the school year and ask, “Will these lessons and activities help students become College and Career Ready?" Students have earned the right to a break at the end of the school year. However, a break does not mean we should stop teaching life lessons and skills. What key skills do students need to know in order to succeed at the next level? How can we incorporate these skills into the final weeks of the school year?
Review sessions don’t need to be drill and kill. There are multiple ways to prepare students to take the winning shot in life! Some schools rely on “Tradition” at the end of the school year. The students attend school for the final 14 days knowing that they will not have to think, design, collaborate, or participate. Tradition dictates that we have Field Day, even though several students are not athletes. We have free choice day where students can do whatver they choose. In elementary schools we ask students to help clean the desks with shaving cream, according to tradition. The students who need the most academic support - Those who won’t be going on a summer trip to Disney World, Europe, a mission trip, a summer camp, or to the Grand Canyon - check out early and may not get the enrichment they need entering the summer months. What are you doing during the last weeks of the school year? Share your ideas with educators on ASCD EDge. ‘Don’t Get Caught Watching the Paint Dry.’