Ed Tech

4 survival tools for your end-of-the-year toolbelt

End of school year toolbelt

Flickr: Blue Diamond Photography

We’re in the home stretch.

In my school district, that means there are six school days left.

In my classroom, that means the following:

  • Three final-exam review days
  • One Hispanic food fiesta day
  • Two full days of finals

In my tired body, that means a nagging desire to let my foot off the gas. To cruise to the last day.

In my heart, though, that means finishing the race strong instead of collapsing across the finish line.

I see this “tired body vs. heart” battle in my clothing selections most. I wear a long-sleeved dress shirt and tie to school almost every day (minus “Jeans Fridays”).

At the end of the year, thoughts of golf shirts and tennis shoes begin to creep into my mind. They’re so much more comfortable. The ties are suffocating at the end of the day.

I’m going to resist. How you dress reflects how you feel, your attitude.

I want to finish the race strong.

Here are some great end-of-the-school-year resources to keep you motivated to cross the finish line:

1. “Laugh and Love but don’t lament: Teach well until the last day” by Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher). I printed this one and taped it to the wall behind my desk last year at the end of the year. It’s still there. This article is a great source of inspiration for me.

Vicki writes that students are “just putting one foot in front of the other, ducking their heads to hope that I won’t notice them and doing as little as possible until the school year ends.” But, she writes, “we can do more than just put one foot in front of the other.”

2. The Orchestra app (www.orchestra.com). The end of the year always brings on a ton of do-do checklists. The genius in this one is that it’s so basic and intuitive. It’s almost like it’s designed for my brain.

Enter items on your to-do lists by typing or by speaking (which is great if you’re in the car).

Create multiple lists for different purposes and manage them easily.

Categorize your lists by when to do them. Star the most important.

Did I mention it’s free?

3. Virtual Apple (www.virtualapple.org). When I was young, my elementary school had a computer lab full of Apple IIgs computers. Going to the computer lab was like going to an amusement park.

As a kid, I was addicted to Oregon Trail. I loved hunting for bears and racing down the Columbia River. I wanted to make it to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Those educational Apple games haven’t died. They’re available for free at Virtual Apple. I played Oregon Trail this weekend for hours.

Check it out if you need a quick diversion. Or if your students get done with final exams and need something to do.

4. “35 Motivational Quotes for Teachers Who Need a Spark” by Go Ed Teacher Store. Quotes are like salve for the soul. Here’s a good one from this list:

Quote No. 32: “Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible.” – Robert M. Hutchins

Have any resources that help you finish the school year strong? Post a link in a comment or comment on one of these four resources!

(For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links, “like” Ditch That Textbook on Facebook and follow @jmattmiller on Twitter!)

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