As the end of the year approaches in my school district, my fifth grade students have morphed into crazed zombies—little thought and lots of activity.
I know it’s normal for this time of year, but I’m wondering what happened to my sweet little students from the beginning of the year! They’re still in there, somewhere!
When the days get crazy and my need to remain sane is paramount, I rely upon two tried-and-true euphemisms: go with the flow, and keep calm and teach on.
Go with the flow. With hormones and heat, my boys are arguing and wanting to jump out of their skin to be outside. My girls are creating dramas worthy of soap opera television. All my kids require interaction and activity, so I need to provide lots of opportunity for both in my classroom.
Trips outside to the outdoor classroom are a must. As long as they stay focused, we can stay outside for extended periods of time. They love it and so do I!
I provide a plethora of opportunities for talking with group discussions, working with partners, and talking while they work.
In a generally quiet classroom, it’s challenging to open up to more talking, but when they break the rules to talk, sometimes you just need to give a little and go with the flow.
Keep calm and teach on. I still continue challenging them, with lessons every day (except on days with special activities). I don’t have a “worksheet day” or fall back to mere fun coloring activities. (I’ve tried a variety of “just for fun” stuff in the past but it usually results in classroom chaos and overwhelm for me.) That’s not what makes me happy and, in the end, my students aren’t happy either.
Part of keeping calm is keeping my rules and procedures the same. I know with outside activity and group work, I keep misbehavior to minimum, but there are still my kiddos who can’t seem to control themselves. If you let one go, it’s like a zombie apocalypse virus—it’s virulent and spreads fast.
With a few weeks left in many parts of the country, I know we’re antsy for our summer vacations too. But as long as we go with the flow and keep calm and teach on, we’ll beat the overwhelm of the end of days.