Five Top Tips for Sailing Into Summer

Summer is only 12 days away - 12!  

There are still tons of things to do before closing down shop for the summer and here are my "fast five" top tips for Sailing into Summer:

I have always enjoyed telling my students that there will be a final exam during the last week of school.  They gasp and groan and I just say "Be Ready!" with a wry smile.

What I actually do is have a team Jeopardy competition with questions that cover anything and everything we learned that year. Sometimes, I even ask the students to write the questions (with answers) to submit for "the test".   

Then, we play the game and I give out treats to the teams.  :)

This year, we have "End of Course Exams" so I really cannot play this trick on them - it would be too cruel.  So after our test, we will instead focus on Socratic Seminars for the book we have been reading and making videos regarding our findings.

One thing that worked very well for me this year after various tweaks, was my behavior system.

I give out tickets for good behavior, answering questions, and for grades.  Then, each week, there is a drawing.  If I draw your ticket, you can choose the "sure thing" (a starburst or jolly rancher) or what's in box #1, box #2, or box #3.

I put chips in one box, a candy bar in one box, and some kind of school supply or some other "zonker" in the last box.

How many tickets do I draw, you ask?  Well, that's the beauty!  I keep a tally on my board that reflects whole class behavior and the number of tallies = the number of draws.

My students have really loved this!

One thing I think I would like to change for next year is to use my classroom door (which I forgot to take a picture of and is black) as a motivational piece.  Each period I stand outside my door and welcome the students inside with the door wide open.  On that blank canvas, I would like to put some motivating quotes like:

source:  Instagram from middleschoolmotivation (Burton Bell)

I would put up one new quote a week and then use that quote as a writing prompt on say, a Wednesday, after the students have had the opportunity to see and digest the quote for two days.  

I saw this on Pinterest and I think this is a perfect gift for my para!

I am definitely making this for my para this year and I know she will love it!

Last, but not least, an organizational tip.  But first, a disclaimer - I do not have a very organized storage system in my classroom.  I aspire to be much more organized, however, and in my aspirations, I have discovered this one little tidbit that has helped me:

Making a list of my most commonly used resources with their location.

I know, it's not exciting, but I tend to pack up my things and then forget where I packed them.  Then I spend what seems like forever searching for (and sometimes not finding) various tried and true resources.

Honestly, I know I need a better system, but it has to be shall we say, inexpensive.  I have seen hoards of very impressive bins with fancy labels but that would cost a small fortune that I cannot justify right now.  So if you have any suggestions, I am all ears!  :)

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Love the idea of a last week Jeopardy game. Thanks for the tip.

  2. I like your behavioral incentive system. I do one called Preferred Activity Time (P.A.T.) and my classes earn time for being prepared for class, etc. When they reach 45 minutes, which is half of our block, they choose a fun 'thinking' activity for class. Some activities include playing board games, or bringing in food for silent sustained reading. I amazed this works with high school students! Kim

  3. I love motivational quotes! I actually kept a pile of them (I would print them - whenever I would find ones I liked) and assigned a student to write it on the board for me each day.

  4. I tend to forget where I pack things, too, so I started making a list of the things I need most and where I put them. It makes unpacking so much easier (as long as I don't lose the list).

  5. I bet your kids love the end of year in your class but hate leaving since it sounds so fun!! Thanks for joining us!
    - Julie


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