ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 3, 2014 ON WWW.RONHUSTVEDT.COM
I’ve never been a big fan of ending the school year showing some lame “social studies related” movie. Not to judge, I’ve been there and done that, but never again. For one thing, that’s what so many other classes are doing and getting kids to want to focus on their third video of the day is annoying. Another reason I won’t do that anymore is that this is a golden moment of the school year. You have a group of people who have been with you through thick and thin…these kids are experts on being your students. They know the most up-to-date version of the teacher you are now. Why not find out from them what they got out of the experience and what sticks in their minds?
Also, having done a last few days of the year assignment for many years now, I’ve found that this final assignment can be very meaningful for students. It’s your chance to provide a meaningful ending to a good year rather than just a session of screen-watching babysitting.
When I had 8th graders we’d conclude the year by doing some personality tests (Myers-Briggs, Gregorc, etc) and then they had a final reflection assignment. They also wrote a letter to themselves that they were mailed a year later along with a note from me. Last year, I had my 7th grade students write about how they were the “Keepers of the Republic.” This assignment was then handed off to their 8th grade teacher both as a writing sample but also as a jumping off point from one year to the next.
This year, I am going to ask my 6th graders to reflect back on what they learned from the year, what they wish they’d done better, and what they’d have like to do differently. The questions are phrased very carefully so that the focus is on the work they did and how things were set up…no questions about “what was the most fun” or “what did you like best” because I feel like that’s not going to tell me what was the most impactful.
So here are the questions I’m going to handout tomorrow in class for students to discuss as a large class, then in small groups, and then reflect upon individually. Take these and borrow them as you choose, change them, or scoff at them smugly and rock the end of the school year in your preferred way.
1) List the major assignments/projects we worked on this year.
2) Which assignment/project did you learn the most from? Give examples.
3) Which assignment/project made you work the hardest? How so?
4) What are two a-ha moments from this year? Provide details as much as you can remember.
5) What assignment/project did you feel you did the best on? Why?
6) What assignment/project do you wish you could do over again? What would you do differently?
7) What are three pieces of advice for Mr. H. to either keep doing, do better, or totally change?
8) What are the one or two most important things you learned in this class that you will use in your future?
ADD A COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR OWN TAKE ON THIS…WHAT WOULD YOU ASK STUDENTS? GOOD IDEA? BAD IDEA?