Keep Those Kids Engaged: 20 Ideas for the End of the Year
Chief Educator, Michal Eynon-Lynch shares quick tips and ideas for making the most out of the last days of the semester.
Believe it or not, the end of the school year is upon us! It’s the perfect time to take a moment with your students and help them reflect on all the amazing, brain-stretching, resilience-building, learning and growth they’ve achieved. Pear Deck is perfect for this! Here are 20 inspiring ideas to close out the year!
Rev Up Review Time
Test review can be a real bear. There’s always a tension between making it fun but also useful. How do we help students make lasting connections rather than cram and forget? Here are some fun but impactful ways to use Pear Deck for review.
1. Make It Fun With Flashcard Factory
When it’s time to review terms before a final test, load them up into Flashcard Factory. Students will have a blast creating flashcards together and, even better, retain and recall those terms come test time.
2. Play Pear Deck Jeopardy
Use Pear Deck to run your Jeopardy Review game. I love the way our Coach Stacey Roshan tweaks the Jeopardy process to make sure students get rewarded for the right answer not just speed and helps them follow-up after the game with reflections and corrections.
3. Math Sketchpad — Watch Students Solve Problems.
When students are preparing for a test, it’s helpful to see their thought processes and identify any misconceptions. Set up a Pear Deck Drawing Slide to let students think through and write out the problem. On your Teacher Dashboard, you can watch their work in real-time, observe their thinking and see if, and when, it goes of track.
4. Know Thyself: ID Areas for Review
Make a slide that lists the different topics that will be on the test. Have students indicate (by circling, dragging dots, or typing) the areas where they think they need the most review. You can then break into groups based on their selections. This helps students reflect on their own knowledge and take an active role in preparing for the exam.
5. Write It Out
When your test requires short answer or essay responses, students often need practice constructing a coherent argument or summary. Use the Pear Deck Text Response to let students practice. Display exemplars and common mistakes on the board to workshop as a group. After class, you can leave comments in the Takeaways and give each student more detailed feedback.
6. Mind Map Big Concepts
Use the Pear Deck Mind Map Template or a Drawing Slide to let students map out connections between key ideas. This can be particularly helpful before exams with essay or short answer questions that will require students to synthesize. Here’s a deck to get you started!
Essential End-of-Year Reflections
The end of the year can zip by in a flash; with all the tests, fun events, and final projects, students can be halfway through a cannonball before you realize they’re gone. Help students tie a little bow on the year and take their biggest lessons with them into the future.
7. My three most important takeaways from this year…
Ask students to reflect on the major takeaways from your class or the year.
8. When I start school next year, I hope I remember…
What’s a lesson students want to take with them and remember next year?
9. If I could go back to the beginning of the year, I would tell myself…
Ask students to reflect back to the beginning of the year and think about something they wish they knew back then. This can help them realize a way they’ve matured or identify an anxiety that turned out to be unnecessary.
10. Over the summer, I’m going to…
Ask students to make a goal for the summer. This can help students be intentional about their time. Maybe they want to read 10 books, or earn $1000. Maybe they want to learn how to cook. Maybe this is a student who pushes herself really hard all the time and what she most needs to hold herself to is relaxing.
11. Create a Digital Year Book
Create a Deck with each month of the school year on a Drawing slide. Walk through it with students and ask them to write or illustrate a favorite memory from that month. Share that Takeaway with the students’ parents. Don’t have time to do all 12 months? Shorten this one to just the beginning, middle and end of class.
Power Up Projects and Presentations
When it’s time for end-of-the-year projects and presentations, Pear Deck can help introduce the project and let students engage each other in their work.
12. Have students present with Pear Deck
Students can create their own Pear Deck lesson to show their ideas and get their peers engaged. It works for all ages! Behold! Here are kindergarteners presenting. It’s adorable.
13. Create a student-paced deck as a research guide
When you want to guide students through researching some specific sites, you can set up a series of Web Slides and Text Slides. Set the Deck to Student-Paced Mode and let students explore the embedded web sites. On the Text Slides, they’ll be able to take notes or respond to your specific prompts about what they should be looking for.
14. Introduce capstone projects with embedded Google Docs
When you have a big project to introduce, you can use Pear Deck to show students the details and solicit questions. For example, use a Web Slide to embed a Google Doc with the project rubric. Students will be able to read through it. On subsequent slides, ask for questions and checks-for-understanding about the project.
End of the Year Logistics
There are plenty of things to wrap up at the end of the year. Here are ways you can use Pear Deck during your Homeroom time. Create one Deck for the whole school to use and collect all the important information in one spot.
15. Register for classes next year
During Homeroom or meetings with guidance counselors, let students indicate their choices for the following year. You can export the answers to a spreadsheet and sort as necessary. If you already have a site where students register, embed it in a Web Slide. That way you can walk students through the process with some explanation slides, and then let them register without having to send them off to a new URL.
16. Order Yearbooks
Use Pear Deck to let students submit order for end of the year items and activities. You can make it student-paced so they can work through the different choices at their own speed.
Set up a Pear Deck to let students nominate each other for end-of-the-year yearbook awards.
18. Vote for Stuff
Set up Multiple Choice questions to let students vote on awards to give, student body candidates, and end-of-the-year activities
19. Teacher Evaluations
Put teacher evaluation questions into a Pear Deck and let students give feedback to teachers.
20. Staff Meeting
Finally, if your or your administrator need to get your whole staff on the same page, present through Pear Deck. You’ll be able to engage staff members in dialogue, hear from those who don’t usually share their opinions, and model great teaching strategies.
That’s all folks! Let’s make the most out of these last classroom moments!