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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Ending the Year on a Positive Note

Mary Beth Hertz

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

It's that time of year. You look up at your calendar and begin counting down to the last days of school. You might even have little numbers in the corner of the boxes indicating how many days are left in the year or until graduation.

Likewise, your students are on the edge of their seats. Maybe the weather has been getting nicer and nicer, or maybe students are in a hubbub about the upcoming dance or graduation or their summer vacation.

Administrators are wringing their hands with everything that needs to be done before the school doors close for the summer. Maybe they have preparations for summer programs, or maybe they're awaiting those all-important preliminary test scores from the State.

May is a tough month for anyone who works in a school.

I won't pretend to be immune to that end of year feeling, but I'm determined not to let it make me crazy.

Here's how we can stay sane and end the year with a bang.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Rather than counting down the days, start a list of your most successful uses of technology this school year. Celebrate your growth and make either a pencil and paper list (I'm picturing one of those papers under a magnet on your fridge or tacked to your corkboard), a blog post or Facebook note listing at least 5 things that you have done better this year (try tagging a few colleagues or teacher friends in your Facebook post to get a nice conversation going), a few new things you have tried or changes you have made in your classroom because of technology. This could be as simple as creating a filter in your email inbox, trying out a new Web 2.0 tool, starting a blog or using email to correspond with parents.

Encourage Student Reflection

Have your students reflect on their own use of technology and have them brainstorm ideas for next year. Let them offer up ideas for how technology could have been implemented in a lesson or project or have them list their favorite ways that the class has used technology this year.

Practice a Positive Mindset

When you walk into the staff lounge, do so with a smile and find something positive to share with your colleagues about this year. Try to pull a happy memory out of them of a successful lesson or bright moment in their year. Both of you will return to your students feeling refreshed.

Those are a few of my approaches. What else can we do to end the year on a high note?

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