Closing the year strong and showing the students how they have grown over the past year is an important step to ensuring students continue our journey through the last days of school. In class today, I took an activity my students completed during a week three pre-assessment. The task presented to my students at the time was to draw a world map and label the continents and oceans from memory. The students frantically searched the walls for something to help them, but I had covered every map with butcher paper and hidden every globe and atlas I had in another room. Every student had an expression of struggle on their face as they worked to put anything they could think of on their paper. It was a great moment in my classroom.
Flash forward to today. I opened up my closet door and pulled out a stack of poorly drawn maps and closed the door behind me. Every student looked at me as I explained what I was about to show them. I heard several say, "Oh! I remember that." I sat down and I could see my students' faces begin to scrunch up a bit as they realized I was about to put their work onto the SMARTBoard. With no names attached to the drawings, students tried to guess which piece was theirs. One by one, we laughed and talked about each map (a term I will use loosely in this story) and what each person's strength was in their drawing. It was a great conversation starter to lead into their growth this school year.
When we finished looking and respectfully critiquing each map, I asked them to think about how they had grown in their understanding of maps from their first experiences in week three. The students described many of the different World Geography topics we discussed throughout the year. Every student was able to talk about their growth in the class based around one activity done thirty-two weeks ago. At the end of our conversation, I explained that we still had a few weeks of learning to go and we should not waste this opportunity to continue our growth. The students were fired up and ready to close out our journey for the 2016-2017 school year on a high note. It inspired me to bring my best for them.
So, who's ready to finish strong this school year? How do you plan to motivate your students to end their year on a high note?