So many things to do on the check off list. In addition to lots of administrative requirements, here are some things I also do before I close the door with a "Yippee...it's summer!" and leave the building.
Please share what is on YOUR countdown to summer checklist.
1. Before the students leave, I have them write a Dear Incoming 6th grade letter. I tell the students to list a couple of tips that they'd like to give the incoming students about my social studies class and how to be successful. On the first day of school, the new students read the letters and we discuss some of the tips that were suggested.
2. During study hall the last week of school with testing done, and less assignments for the students to work on, I often asked if anyone wished to cut out "fresh" letters for next year's bulletin boards. Students helped me take down all my boards.After the room was bare, a major echo could be heard in the room, Fortunately, it didn't stay that way for long. I would begin decorating my room for the fall. I used to get some very confused looks from colleagues as I'd busily put on things for September in June! Students offered to cover the boards with newspaper when I was done so the construction paper didn't fade over the summer. This was a real time saver because when I came down the end of August to set up my room, I just removed the paper and could move to other tasks needing to be done for the first day of school, I found many other teachers eventually joined in on this "pre" readiness idea.
3. I always did a major file cleaning each June as files have a way of accumulating! I also sorted my desk drawers so they'd look ready for the new school year. I offered students any of the materials that were able to be given away.
4. Having a walk in closet with all my materials, I also dusted and straightened up the closet. Past social studies projects that students had made and I had asked to save were checked to see if they could last another year. When I retired, I actually tracked down as many students as I could to offer them back their donated 6th grade projects they had made for my annual Ancient Museum night. Some were 20 years old!
5. Before the students leave, I put up huge papers for each homeroom. Students were encouraged to write a goodbye note on the papers(which I saved and are now in my attic.) Before I was in a departmentalized middle school team, I was a self-contained classroom for 17 years. We'd make yearbooks. I still have those, too. Last year on Facebook, a student I had almost 30 years ago contacted me. Turns out her 6th grade yearbook with poems, short stories, class will, etc., was long missing. I found mine and mailed her copies of her "work" show she could show her kids. She was appreciative.
6. I also gave the students an end of the year letter. See below....
7. As I closed the door to my classroom for summer, I would always say...WHERE did the school year go? " Life is an adventure....enjoy the ride!"
Have a wonderful summer!
End of the Year Letter to Students:
Do you give parting comments to your students at the end of the school year? On the last day of the school year, I would give a letter to each of the students in my 6th grade classes. Here is the last one I wrote the year of my retirement.
Perhaps, you have letters you'd like to share?
END OF THE YEAR LETTER TO MY STUDENTS:
After 33 1/2 years of teaching at HCS and having had more than 2000 students sit in my social studies classroom over these many years, I have decided to retire from teaching at the end of this school year in June. I've tried to interest you about the world in which we live during our time together and hopefully, learn something about yourselves as well.
I'd like to leave you with some thoughts which I find useful in my life:Know the true value of time, snatch, seize, and enjoy every minute of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination, never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.(Chesterfield).
Life is NOT a Spectator Sport. Use ever day to the fullest. Read, try to make someone smile, help someone, say a kind word to someone, dream things you'd like to do and work to make them possible AND and at the end of the day, be able to say,Yes, I used the day well.Remember...YOU make your own HISTORY!
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men(and women) to do nothing.( Burke) It's not always easy to break from the crowd, but speak up for someone you feel is being mistreated, don't stay silent, for it may be you that hopes someone will speak up for you one day!
Life is an adventure...enjoy the ride. I wish you much happiness as you travel down life's highway and hope you have few bumps along the way but, perhaps some interesting detours!
The Social Studies teacher who loves the color purple!