End of the Year Survival Tips - History Gal

End of the Year Survival Tips

The end of the year is a crazy time! State tests loom around the corner and stress levels rise for teachers.

This May lower your stress level with these easy to incorporate tips!

1. Let the students teach each other. 
 In all three of these activities below, the work is all done by the students and all you have to do is supervise!

Museum Exhibit: If you teach U.S. History, assign small groups of 2-3 students a decade: 1970s, 1980s, 1990, or 2000s. Have each group create a museum exhibit that represents the decade. The exhibit can include items like a timeline of events, a portrait wall of important people, artifacts from the time period, a short video for museum visitors to view, a Pinterest board of images from that decade, etc. In your classroom, set up all of the decade exhibits, grouping the similar decade groups together (i.e. all of the 1970s exhibits in one area), and let your students visit each of the exhibits. If you want the exhibits to be virtual, check out the Museum Box and see if it fits your needs. This activity also works great for World History by assigning the small groups a civilization (Early River Civilizations, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, etc.).

Video Interviews: Have students in small groups create mock-interviews with important people they've learned about during the school year. It could be a one-on-one interview with a host and an historical figure or a talk show with a host and multiple historical figures from similar or different time periods. Students can act them out in front of class or use iPods/iPads/video cameras to record the interviews.

Student Created Stations: Let small groups create stations. For example, if they are learning about the Civil Rights Movement, give each group an important event during the Civil Rights Movement. Give them time to research it and create a station to share what they learned with the rest of class. In addition to creating the station, they will need to create an activity (scavenger hunt, a handout to complete, a matching game, a short quiz, etc.) for their classmates to complete when they visit the station.

2. Play Games or Simulations.
It is hard to get students engaged at the end of the year. A short lecture is about all they can handle. As a result, I created a lot of games and simulations to play at the end of the school year. These kept my students engaged and exciting about coming to class!

Here are a few of my favorites:
Attrition kickball to simulate World War I: Students have to answer a question about WWI when it is their turn to kick. If they get it right, they get to kick and they pick someone from the other team to join their team. If they get it wrong, they go to the end of the kicking line. The game can easily be adapted as a review for most other topics.

Bingo: I give students a blank Bingo card (a chart/table with 25 squares) and they place 24 terms from a list I have on the board onto their card. Instead of calling out the term, I call out the definition. Students have fun playing it and I like that they are preparing for the exam!

1-2-3 Draw!:  On index cards, write down key terms, concepts, and
people that you want your students to review (one term per card). Create a place where students can draw and the rest of the students will be able to see. I use my chalkboard at the front of the room. If you don't have a board at the front of your room, you could use an easel or tape paper to a wall. Divide your class into 2 teams. When it is their turn, a team sends up an illustrator who randomly picks an index card with a term. The illustrator cannot show anyone the card and has 1 minute to get his/her team to call out the term by drawing images on the board or paper. If his/her team correctly guesses the term, they get a point. Then, the other team goes. The game continues until all the cards have been drawn. The team with the most points wins.

Don't want to create your own games? I have lots of review games available! You don't have to spend time to create it and your students are engaged and actively learning at the end of the year. What more could you ask for?

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  1. The end of year survival meets me right where I am - I love the idea of the kids being the teachers!

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  2. Love the have the students teaching each other idea...not only good for the chaos, but very empowering. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Games are brilliant this time of year! I love the idea of Attrition Kickball to review WWI!

  4. Love the games you've suggested and will have to try them out during review in June! Thanks!

  5. Thanks for all the wonderful comments:)


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