Ending the Year on a High Note
April 5, 2017 by Michelle Reynard
180 Days of Hard Work
Now that spring is just a few weeks away and most annual standardized assessments have been completed, the focus has started to shift to the end of the school year. Final exams, conferences, graduations, how prepared each child is to move on to the coming grade or new school – it can all be a little overwhelming. Your child may be feeling anxious, over assessed or a combination of the two. It’s also not uncommon for students to run out of steam at this point in the year, abandoning successful routines and seeming less motivated to complete work both in and out of school. These last few months are still important. And so we wanted to share are a few ideas to help them navigate through this final period.
Talk it Out
Let your child know that it’s alright to feel uneasy about the coming changes or less enthusiastic regarding familiar activities. Talk about the reasons behind assignments and routines and how they apply to life outside school. For example, a child who is dreading a weekly class meeting might relate to a parent sharing that regular staff meetings are a part of their routine as well. Stories of how committing to participating and focusing, even when tired, can prevent them from missing something important have more meaning when they’re based on a loved one’s experience.
Additionally, you might talk about things your child can do to contribute during class or planned activities. Deciding to ask or answer at least one question, during a specific lesson, can motivate a student to follow along even if interest in the subject has lessened. Agreeing to do the same in a similar situation at work or a parent event, then discussing the results with your child afterwards can also lead to interesting dinner conversation.
Change Up the Routine
Routines are important for children, especially those with learning challenges; however, providing choices or altering small components can improve motivation and results. Adding something as simple as a 10 minute exercise or snack break can relieve the monotony of a repeated activity. New materials, like a special notebook or colorful highlighters to note important details, can also be helpful. Try sharing a work space with your child if you have an important event or project to prepare for. Seeing mom or dad take notes and reread a passage is a silent reminder that classroom strategies are often life skills. The more children can see parents modeling behaviors, the more likely they are to see the value.
Visit Your Local Library
While this may already be part of the family routine, it’s often eclipsed by the bells and whistles that come with technology. Stepping into a library without an assignment or agenda and just exploring the tremendous resources available can relieve stress and foster curiosity. Observing readers of all ages engaged in group study sessions, quietly enjoying books, or diligently doing research can reinforce the importance of learning in a different context.
Plan for Fun
Schedules can be especially hectic towards the end of the school year. But finding time to enjoy new experiences outside of school can promote interest and participation in school. Local and state parks, museums, fairs, public theater, or a day trip to a nearby town are a few possibilities. Start talking about summer. Share any exciting plans you have already scheduled. Show them there’s light at the end of the 180 day tunnel.
Finishing out the school year is like finishing a marathon. It can be difficult to fight through the exhaustion to keep going. However, having someone to cheer you on through the final steps can make all the difference in the world. Every day that we go to school is opportunity to learn and to grow. Let’s help them harness every opportunity in last of the 180 days.
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