Relax and Let ThemTeach

It's May. . . IYKYK. A friend likens it to "tax season for teachers"; LOL! Open House, state testing, report cards, all the end-of-the-year projects, plays, performances. . .  Anyone else ready for summer?! 
One of the BEST ways to re-energize your class is by letting students take over. Wait! What?! I turn over the teaching (well, a portion of the day) to my students. I love telling my class that I'm done teaching and now they get to be the teacher. Their eyes open wide and they immediately begin thinking of all the things they know and are good at. Students write a lesson plan (teachers in training!) and submit it a couple of days in advance of their lesson. I can review it and foresee any possible problems. Download a copy of the student lesson plan HERE.

Every year it is a joy to see my kids' talents, interests, and the range of topics. This is the perfect opportunity to allow students to shine in non-academic ways! In the past, students have taught their classmates how to draw anime characters, how to make a stop motion video, how to use a yo-yo, how to make a clay coil pot, how to make slime, make guacamole, and how to fold origami!

Another student wanted to teach basic piano to the class. Undaunted by the fact that there is just one piano, she surveyed the class about their experience with music and piano. Based on the results of her survey, she categorized students into novice, beginner, some experience, and experts. She selected specific excerpts of sheet music for each student: the novices had only two notes that required only the right hand and she labeled their paper keyboards with notes. She differentiated for each student, up to those who take piano lessons by giving them sheet music that required using both hands (treble & bass clefs, that she labeled: right hand & left hand) and paper keyboards with no notes. After circulating while students "practiced" on their paper keyboards, she called students up to the piano to play their piece. Again, oh my goodness!! That lesson planning must have taken hours!!
Students get such a kick out of taking over as the teacher (& a better understanding at how difficult it is to teach when kids talk and blurt out!) and they gain new respect from classmates for their strengths! We all learn so much! (And it makes the end of the school year a whole lot more fun!)

What special activities do you do to wrap up the school year?

Check out more terrific teaching ideas below.

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