“Now What? It’s the end of the year, they have taken away my textbooks, the testing season is over, now what do I do with my kids until the end of the year?” This question is repeated over and over in secondary Social Studies teacher’s classrooms. How do I keep my student’s engaged the last few weeks or days of school in a meaningful way? My resources have been taken away and the principal won’t let us just show movies for two weeks, so what do we do?
Choice Increases Engagement!
Give your students choice! This is actually the best time of year to teach! Students can be moved from the “have to learn” state standards to the “want to learn” opportunities that excite them. With a Social Studies Choice Board you can allow your students to reflect on the year, demonstrate their learning, and look ahead.
This choice board is designed to address the major people, themes, and events in history while focusing on a student’s past, present and future. The key to the choice board is to allow students the opportunity to have a say in their own learning. Students can chose to work with a group or independently, they can choose to use their artistic skills or their musical skills, they can choose a topic that excites them about the future.
Teaching with a Choice Board
Present your kids with the choice board. Explain that they will be sharing what they have learned in your history class in the “Past” column, sharing the highlights of their friends and school year in the “Present” column, and looking ahead to next year in the “Future” column.
The “Past” column will focus on the topics they learned in your class. What did they enjoy the most? They can use their Interactive Notebooks to reflect as they create a Bio-Poem, board game or skit with their friends. Not only do you have an activity to showcase their learning – but now you also have board games to play and skits to watch on the last day of school!
The “Present” column is all about their lives. What tips do they have to share about you as a teacher? What awards would they give their classmates? If they could write a song about their year – what would it say? These choice of activities engage your students – they will want to share their tips and stories with you and their classmates.
And finally, the “Future”. What class will they be taking next year? Will it be World Geography? The second half of US History? What do they really want to learn about in Social Studies? You can guide them towards a certain topic like “How music spreads around the world” or “Civil Rights leaders from my community.” Let your students explore!! Are they interested in taxes? Creating a budget? Renting an apartment? Those could be choices for a future economics class! At the end, your kids can share what they have learned with their classmates – and go to the next grade level prepared.
If you need help managing your students at the end of the year, you can also use the contracts and group work evaluation sheets I have included. This choice board can easily be made into stations to minimize the amount of prep you need for the end of the school year. I hope you enjoy these ideas!