Once you’ve committed yourself to something, pace yourself to the finish line.
Track season has ended and we’ve celebrated many personal records with my son. Because of spring schedules, it was late in the season before the whole family was together to cheer Jamin on. When the gun went off he led eight competitors in the mile for the first three laps. As they neared the bend for the final lap my youngest cried, “I think he’s going to win!”
“Watch though,” I cautioned. “Those other runners have been saving up and they are going the challenge him in this final lap.” Sure enough, the second and third place runners sped up and lengthened their strides, but so did my son. I watched in amazement as he not only held onto his lead, but doubled the distance between himself and the pack.
Kicking it in at the end of a race isn’t based on special abilities or luck — it comes from practice and skill. In my early years of teaching I was exhausted by the end of the school year. I remember my hardest year I burst into tears and had a good cry on the floor of my classroom when the last student walked out. Over time and by watching my colleagues, I learned what I needed to do to have stronger finishes to the school year.
1. I kept bringing in new things. Was our quiet signal getting tired? Let’s pick a new one. Did I have an idea about a different strategy for passing out science materials? Let’s try it. Instead of saying, “I’ll do that next fall,” I started just doing it as if it were any other time of the school year.
2. I held on to routines whenever possible. Outside of field trips and field days, we kept to the rhythms of our learning. Both the students and I were able to produce better work when we could rely on predictability.
3. We incorporated what my students wanted to learn into the literacy block. Spring was the perfect time of year to do genre studies of jokes, raps and comedian monologues and perform them for audiences. It was amazing how humor softened short timers’ syndrome as students counted down the days.
Whatever you do to sustain your stride and kick it in to the end of the year, you can rest assured you will finish strong. This week we’re highlighting summer reading resources. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Senior Editor, Choice Literacy
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Here are two articles by Franki Sibberson from the Choice Literacy archives to help you plan for summer reading.
Preparing Students for Summer Reading details Franki’s routines, activities, and strategies for summer transitions during the last days of the school year:
Poetry That Celebrates Summertime and the Outdoors is a booklist featuring delightful verse that builds a reading bridge between the classroom and happy summer adventures:
We’ve asked Choice Literacy contributors to share their summer reading recommendations for teachers in our annual round-up. This is the first installment in a two-part series:
This Pinterest Summer Reading is chock-full of literary craft projects with a summer theme:
They Follow Me by Ginny Lowe Connors is a poem that captures beautifully the exhausting joy of watching students learn, grow, and change before our eyes:
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How do you guide students to select books for independent summer reading? Aimee Buckner challenges teachers who are requiring middle students to pick books based solely on lexile scores in Independent Reading By the Numbers is NOT Text Complexity:
Katherine Sokolowski adapts an idea from Jim Burke to get her fifth graders outdoors and envisioning their growth over the summer in Football Field Learning:
Books can help children deal with the toughest challenges in life. In a new booklist, Andie Cunningham shares her top picks for stories about characters grappling with the death of a loved one:
In this week’s video, Katie DiCesare helps first grader Ava craft beginnings and endings for her nonfiction writing:
New PD2Go: Karen Terlecky leads her students in a 5th Grade Sentence Observation activity:
This routine is linked to these Common Core Standards:
L.5.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
L.5.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
That’s all for this week!