“If you’re a student or a parent and you’re concerned about academic progress, what to expect next year or steps you can take to extend learning over the summer, talk to your teacher(s) about making an appointment. They’ll be excited you’re taking the initiative to have the conversation!"
By the time the top of the calendar says June, many students, teachers and administrators find themselves anticipating the final day of the school year. This often leaves the last few weeks of the academic calendar feeling shapeless and makes it difficult for students and teachers to use the time effectively. Here are a few ideas that teachers, students and parents can use to ensure the school year ends on a positive, meaningful note:
Do a student-teacher exit interview
Parent-teacher conferences tend to take place early in the school year, but everybody knows that teacher feedback at the end of the year would be even more valuable. One great way to have that conversation is to do an end-of-year exit interview. Teachers can schedule individual time slots with each student to discuss their journey throughout the year, celebrate their greatest accomplishments and set goals for the following year.
If you’re a student or a parent and you’re concerned about academic progress, what to expect next year or steps you can take to extend learning over the summer, talk to your teacher(s) about making an appointment. They’ll be excited you’re taking the initiative to have the conversation!
Create a year-end portfolio
Portfolios are a classic way to show off high-quality work and demonstrate personal growth and strengths. Pulling together a portfolio at the end of the year helps students reflect upon their learning experiences and provides a framework for conversation between parents, students and teachers about progress and milestones.
If you’re in a tech-integrated classroom and have documents stored online, it’s easy to print them off or even create portfolio folders through a file sharing platform like Google Drive. Even in the age of technology, though, physical portfolios are great artifacts that students can keep for years to come and reflect back upon. To make creating the portfolio even more purposeful, teachers can integrate a reflection component for each piece in the portfolio, leading students to actively engage with their work one more time with the benefit of hindsight perspective.
Write a reflective personal narrative
At the end of the year, students feel like they’re at the end of a long journey, and they can actually gain a lot by writing that autobiographical story down. This is an especially meaningful activity in writing or language arts classes. Students can use their knowledge of narrative structure and character development to think about challenges they’ve faced and ways in which they’ve grown.
An end-of-year narrative could take many multimedia forms as well: a storybook with illustrations, a podcast, a mini-movie or even an epic poem! By prompting students to tell their own story at the end of the year, parents and teachers can help foster self-knowledge and critical, reflective thinking.