Keeping them Captivated

It’s the final countdown to the end of the year and my students (and I’m sure yours too) are absolutely checking out. This year brought a degree of normalcy that we haven’t had for a while… and with it, a renewed emphasis on focus and responsibility. They rose to the returning expectations, but are also exhausted from the year.

As the year wraps up, I always like to finish with a reader. Sometimes what I plan to read 4th quarter when I make my syllabus in the summer doesn’t end up being the right fit for us in May… so I try to be flexible as I approach this last read.

1st: After spring break, I go to the last class day and count backward based on the number of days it will take me to finish the reader. We only read 3-4 days a week, so this is normally 3 school weeks.

2nd: I look at the number of days between spring break and the final read and I give students the choice of two or three units we haven’t gotten to (that will fill that amount of time) and they feel like they have picked the final unit of the year. Spanish 4 picked Recipe Talks, Spanish 3 picked Medicina o cura, and Spanish 2 picked Viviendas del mundo.

3rd: Our final read is always based on student interests (as observed through the year) and reading ability/interest. My Spanish 2s this year are reading Kristy Placido’s Robo en la noche. Spanish 3 is reading Nelly Hughes’s Selena. Spanish 4 is doing my favorite project for graduating seniors… READING CLUB. This year their choices were: AC Quintero’s El portal, Linnae Salvati’s DREAMER, Vanessa Ehler’s La receta secreta, My 48 horas, Jade Greene’s Sueño hecho realidad, and Melisa Lopez’s La lucha. EVERY group loves their book and it lets them come in, read, get their organizers filled out, and then check back out. It’s working so well.

4th: In levels 2 and 3, I do a fun follow up to gamify my comprehension questions at the end of each chapter. This gets their energy out and brings their focus back to the text. This is our game of Game of Quotes (learned this one from AnneMarie Chase).

5th: We follow up with a film in levels 2 and 3. Selena the movie for level two, Rio for level 3. The second to last day of class, we will finish the film and then create a master list of comparisons between the two resources and on the last day of class, we will do our last writing of the year… a choice board for their book. They can retell one of the stories as the B grade, they can compare and contrast the two stories for an A-/A, or they can compare our stories with some outside resource that we didn’t discuss in class for the A++.

Our school gives few final exams. Those who have any unexcused absence or have had disciplinary issues are usually the only ones taking them for me. Our rule is no more than 5 excused absences (unless you have a doctor’s note), no unexcused absences, and no in or out of school suspensions. Also they have to have a B or better in the class. The kids who DO have to take exams get a choice board from me. Find out more about my exam thoughts in this short PD.

We are down to 1 week and 1 day with seniors, 2 full weeks with everyone else. Exams are the following week, but I only anticipate about 12 total students over the two exam days! Hope these ideas help you ease through the end of the school year… keeping them captive… I mean captivated by the last content of your year!

As you begin to think about what you might do differently next year, don’t miss TPT’s Teacher Appreciation Sale on Tuesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Everything at Somewhere to Share (and many other favorite stores) will be 20%. Get an extra 5% off by using code THANKYOU23 at checkout.

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