With the AP exam now officially behind us, we are left with the challenge of what to do with the rest of our class time. We strive to make our class meaningful and purposeful for our students but have pushed hard and want to relax and enjoy the last few days or weeks. Some teachers have several weeks of school providing time to teach a novel while others, like myself, finish before Memorial Day.
Here are a few ideas to maintain an academic focus while enjoying a more low-pressured learning environment.
“Toast, Roast, Gift & Grub” Banquet
Celebrate the year with a two-day banquet where students reflect on the works they have studied. Each student should be prepared to participate in each of the following ways: toast, roast, gift, and grub.
Toast: Choose a character or author that you admire then write a toast explaining why you admire him or her, which you will recite at the banquet. If you would like to be more structured or formal, have students write this in the form of a 10 line ode.
Roast: Choose a character or author that you disagreed with, were annoyed by, or were glad to see reach their demise then write a roast, letting him or her know why you find them to be so despicable, which you will recite at the banquet. If you would like to be more structured or formal, have students write this in the form of a 10 line limerick.
Gift: Choose a character or author to which you want to give a gift. Perhaps it’s something they could have used during their journey, or something they earned (for better or worse!)
Grub: Choose a food that has some connection then bring in a bit of that food, enough to feed 3-5 people only. Maybe you can track down some Frankenberry cereal. Maybe you come up with a play on words . . . use your imagination!
Senior scrapbooks are a great way for students to create a personal keepsake which will last a lifetime. Scrapbooks are highly individual, but I ask that they include the following as a minimum: a name poem made from phrases beginning with the first letter of the student’s name, a photo collage of high school memories, a letter to someone who has had an impact on the student, a collage of favorite quotes, personal poems titled “Looking Back,” “Being Here,” and “Looking Forward,” and a creative cover. Most students add more than the minimum. Students pick up their graded scrapbooks after graduation practice with a personal note from me in them.
Novel Oscar Party
Next week we will prepare for our Oscar party based on the novels we have read throughout year. Students vote on a number of categories from best novel to worst antagonist and a myriad of other categories in between through a Google forms survey. Scores are tallied with winners put in sealed envelopes. Students will take turns presenting the category, nominees, and winners in class. As with any Oscar party, we will have food and dress for the occasion. This is a great way to look back on what we have read this year while making memories.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that finishing well is just as important as beginning well, and students deserve our best until the very last day.