As the summer break finally approaches, many teachers will be thinking about what to do with their classes for the last lesson. Often both my students and I can summon up little more than the required energy for sweets and a video, but it is nice to end the year on a more upbeat and positive note. One of my groups of eighteen year olds wanted a primary school style party for which they all brought in food. I normally say no to these requests out of concerns about getting through the work; the mess I would have to clean up, and being a general party pooper, but I’m glad that I went along with their plans this time; for one thing they made nice cakes. So while eating cake, you might want to try some of the following ideas:
- Advice for next year’s students – Ask students to create ‘Do’s and ‘Don’t’s posters for future students. They could instead make a video or podcast of their highlights of the year to be uploaded onto the school/college’s intranet. It is nice to have the opportunity for reflection on how the year went and of course this ticks some boxes for Student Voice and marketing your subject.
- Treasure hunt – You could make this subject specific. Save time by asking a couple of students to help organise it and write the clues. Older students seem to particularly enjoy this (the primary school connection again) as my colleague found when his A Level students requested an Easter egg hunt!
- Big fat quiz of the year – Get the students into groups and ask them to give themselves an imaginative name, in the style of a pub quiz. Include core content that the students will also need for the following year. This works best with different rounds including a picture round, word association, and one round about the students including funny incidents that have happened in class throughout the year.
- Pictionary – This requires no preparation by the teacher and all you need is the board. Drawing something to represent a theory or concept is quite a challenge and really gets them thinking.
- Who am I? – The classic post-it-notes-stuck-to-heads game. Include scientists, historians, sociologists, writers (or whoever is relevant to your subject).
And for students leaving…
- Pay each other a compliment – This is a lovely idea of one of my colleagues. Students each have a sheet of coloured paper stuck on their backs. They walk around the classroom and write something they will miss about that student on their paper. The students then have the piece of paper as a nice keep sake (this might not work out too well of course with a group of students who really don’t like each other!)
- Graffiti wall for the class of 2012 – Let the students leave their mark on the classroom by having a wall of poster paper on which they write their names. This can then be added to every year.
Emily PainterSociology Teacher, Cadbury Sixth Form College