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You barely made it to Saturday morning after school gets out for summer break and you hear, “MAHHHHH-MMMMM, I’m BOOOORED!”
With a roll of your eyes, you patiently ask, “Well, what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know….. I’M BORED!”
And so it begins, right? If you are like me, you’ll agree that it is not a parent’s job to entertain their children every minute of every single day. Sure, we have some things planned here and there, but I expect my kids to be able to entertain themselves sometimes and I don’t mean sitting on an iPad all day.
30 minutes of reading, 15 minutes of piano, and “other duties as assigned” by the boss (ha… that’s me) must be done before their hot little hands touch a tablet. They are actually pulling weeds in the backyard as I type. That’s right… they are getting in tune with their inner earth!
Beyond the required work time each morning and the occasional structure of an outing, a trip, basketball practice, or gymnastics, there are a lot of summer hours to fill. A LOT OF HOURS!
To make your life a bit easier, I rounded up over 100 meaningful summer activities that can absorb some of those hours. Activities are organized by category. This FREE PRODUCT is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
In addition to the checklist shown here, I also created a Summer Passport. Each page has a space for a stamp that can be added upon completion of the activity and a couple of lines to write about the activity.
Each set of activities is organized by category so that you can make multiple booklets or just one big, fat passport book with over 100 pages (as pictured above).
Are you counting days, hours, and minutes until summer vacation? Do you give your school papers a ride home each night and find that it was merely a field trip? Those ungraded papers remain just that…. ungraded. Do your students seem to have forgotten all of the classroom rules and procedures? Are you pushing your snooze button “just one more time” each morning?
Yep. You’re suffering from end-of-year angst. For most teachers, it’s inevitable, but surely comes sooner for some than others.
How do you push through? And, better yet, how do you push through WHILE continuing to foster your students intellectually, socially, and emotionally? Though you are beyond exhausted and your body is just going through the motions, there are a few things you can do that may make your life much more bearable. You might even find yourself feeling excited about the prospect of next year! GASP! Yes, that little flame of anticipation might start to show signs of life.
Pack every single minute with student engagement. This is the worst time of year to be unprepared, even for a few moments. Your students are just as anxious for summer as you are and their bodies will utilize every single unstructured moment to move and groove. No joke. On that note, part of your plan should include physical movement. No matter the age, we all need to get up and move around at this time of year. Can you do your lesson outside? Do you have yoga cards or other structured movement exercises you can utilize more frequently during this time? Use them!
Ask your teammates if they have any end-of-year traditions that their students love. Check out free end-of-year activities on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you want to have a plethora of activities at your disposal, consider using a Last Week of School Activity Pack designed for your grade level that includes class activities, reflections, and no prep printables. When your students remain engaged in meaningful activities like these, you will see a huge decrease in disruptive behaviors and time will FLY! As an aside, it is really important for you to provide opportunities for your class to reflect on their learning and overall experience during the year. It allows them to feel a sense of closure and peace as the year comes to an end. It is extremely normal for everyone to feel mixed emotions… including you!
Does your classroom library need organizing? Do your windowsills and bookshelves need dusting? Carve out 10-15 minutes at the end of each day for end-of-year cleaning and organization.
Looking forward to fun, preplanned moments will allow you to feel like you are hitting milestones along the path to the ultimate prize…. summer! Can you schedule a barbecue with a friend? A massage? A manicure or pedicure? Happy hour at your favorite restaurant? Go ahead and put them on your calendar. Thinking about doing them isn’t enough. Write them down and make a commitment to reward yourself each week.
Switch up the configuration of your classroom, choose a color scheme or decor theme that you love, search classroom decor on Pinterest and choose a couple of pins that you want to model your classroom after, or organize your most cluttered cabinet. Though it may sound ridiculous, all of these activities will lift weight off your overburdened shoulders and give you a fresh perspective. If nothing else, it will begin to light the flame of anticipation for next year’s class. Here is a blog post that provides even more suggestions to keep your “teacher fire” lit when burnout is looming.
Before the last day of school, make a point to look at every single student and take note of three things you love (in your mind or on paper). Yes, you CAN find three things to love about EVERY SINGLE student in your classroom. On an energetic level, this shifts your mind from “get me outta here, I need summer” to “holy buckets, I love this group of kids” and that might be all you need to make it through the rest of the year with a smile.
Even if your eyes are half-closed and you’re ready for bed, peruse this list one more time and make a commitment to follow through on one suggestion. When you notice that it’s working, come back and choose one more. Before you know it, you’ll be turning your alarm clock off and enjoying the freedom that summer brings!
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Welcome! I am Kirsten Tulsian. I teach English as a Second Language for students in Kindergarten through 6th grade each morning. By the afternoon, you can find me creating fun teaching materials for elementary students. When four o'clock hits, I am momming my magner-ific little munchkins. I love coffee, kind hearted people, and the perfect balance I've found in my current life. Join me for teaching and learning adventures on my Kaboodle!