How to Keep Kids Focused at the End of the School Year

Are you ready for the end of the school year? These tips can help you keep your students focused ’til the end.

student smiling

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Engaging Students at the End of the School Year

With just a few weeks to go, chances are every classroom in your school is filled with the frenzied anticipation of summer vacation. Students and teachers alike have worked hard all year long, and they’re ready for a couple months of rest and relaxation.

To get there, everyone has to stay focused in the last weeks of the school year. I know that’s a challenge!

Here are a few end of the school year tips that can help you to maintain control (and sanity!) and keep students engaged in learning through the last day.

Stick to the Routine

For many students, a change in routine can create chaos on its own. I know with my own kids that’s the case, and I’ve seen it with my students too.

Make sure to stick to your regular classroom schedule whenever possible. Kids are more likely to stay on track and settled if they know what to expect from their school day.

And when end-of-year programs, even fun ones, interfere with your routine, make sure the kids know well ahead of time what to expect.

Find Fun Twists to Incorporate into Lesson Plans

While your main schedule should stay the same, try adding a little fun into your lesson plans. The variety can be just what students need to keep their attention where it should be.

Incorporate games, turn lessons into art projects, and look for other fresh, new teaching techniques to keep everyone engaged. You might even get them moving around the building with something like this free school scavenger hunt or a variation of it.

Turn to the veteran teachers at your school too. They’ll likely have a lot of ideas for you. Also, I’ve collected some fun and easy ideas on my End of the School Year board over on Pinterest, if you’re looking for something new.

Start a Special Project

An end of the school year project, especially that allows the students to work in pairs or groups, can be a wonderful way to reinforce benchmarks while creating some fun.

My students loved getting to use craft materials I didn’t typically share with them, like scrapbook paper, washi tape, and my “special” markers.

Have them write a book or story with favorite moments from the school year. Spark their logical side with a fun STEM project that will reinforce science and math skills.

Give Them Some Freedom

By the end of the year, some students are bored with everyday worksheets and activities. Providing new choices, within the framework of your regular routine, can help everyone stay on task.

If you have literacy centers, for example, you may like to swap in a new sight word activity, such as my Stamp Marker Sight Word sheets. You just print and add markers like these. (affiliate link for your convenience).

stamp marker sight word worksheets

Take Lessons Outside

The temptation of the sunshine streaming through the window can be more than many students can resist. …More than you can resist too!

I was always looking for ways to take my class outside. We went out for silent reading time and took sidewalk chalk out to do what would normally be whiteboard work.

RELATED: Sidewalk Chalk Literacy Activities

Science lessons go outside particularly well. You can also find physical math and language games that are great for an outdoor classroom day.

Create a Reward Plan

Give your students a reason to dedicate themselves to staying on track in the last weeks of the year.

• Offer incentives for completing homework and keeping classroom behavior appropriate.
• Offer tickets into a drawing for some books to take home at the end of the year.
• Give points toward earning a special snack or activity on Fridays, or other similar incentives as are allowed within your classroom and budget.

The last weeks of school can be chaotic, but with a little creative planning, you can finish out the year as strong as you started.

What are some of the ways you keep your students focused in the last weeks of the school year? I’d love to hear about them!

how to keep kids focused at the end of the school year


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