Closing the Year With ‘Class’

Closing the school year is rewarding and challenging, but you can increase the potential of a rewarding close to school with purposeful planning of year-end activities. Good planning, as well as the flexibility to seize teachable moments, sets the stage for meaningful closure and celebration.

Plan deliberately.

Prioritize and schedule your tasks and remaining lessons for students. Allow time for year-end necessities such as cleaning out files, washing down tables and chairs, and sorting materials. Recruit students to help. Keep a tablet handy during the final weeks to jot down your wish list of To Do’s. Expect end-of-the-year excitement and rising outdoor temperatures to elicit restlessness among your students. Capitalize on their extra energy by continuing relevant learning and creating new challenges. Let students teach part of a lesson, perform applied research in a content area, or design assessments for a study unit. Maintain order by reminding students of routines and their personal responsibility to the learning environment. Keeping them accountable academically and behaviorally is crucial for maximum enjoyment of the school year’s end.

Teach flexibly.

Inherently, the end of the school year brings extra tasks. To enjoy the process of teaching and learning until the last day, proactively maintain professional balance through cooperation with students and colleagues, organization, prioritized goals, and flexibility. In addition, remind yourself to view each student as an individual—a special person who benefits from eye contact and a smile, belief in his or her abilities, and seeing your enjoyment in learning.

Reward the class.

Celebrate accomplishments as students learn. Students may create a document, laminated poster, or bound booklet that showcases their work and identifies future goals. Draw a timeline of growth in knowledge and skills. Play a special game. Throw a party! Bring in balloons and popcorn. Have each student write his or her name as an acrostic, and ask the other students to write encouraging words or phrases for each letter describing the student or his or her contributions to the class. Commend your students for their yearlong efforts and achievements.

Reflect to renew.

During the last few weeks of school, reflect on your teaching and set goals for the future. Describe your practice, analyze it, and launch new objectives. Capture your reflective process to show evidence of improved teaching competencies—via entries in a spiral notebook, scribbles by lesson plans, or adjustments to a behavior log. Structure your self-assessment with an evaluation tool or a teaching-standards document. When evaluating, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments!

Set specific goals.

Choose one or more professional-development goals to accomplish during the break. You might take a class, research an aspect of teaching, plan a new unit, or upgrade current documents. Select personal goals as well! Making time to walk in the park, read a book for pleasure, or finish a home project also is important. Enjoyable “life moments” renew your energy and restore your focus personally and professionally.

Try these ideas to keep your classroom a place for achievement and success until the final bell. When that bell rings, you’ll be the teacher who ended the year with “class”!


In a simple three-column table, document the following: Teaching Competency, Evidence in Practice, Future Goals. When completed, add this professional artifact to your portfolio.



Author: Sharon A. Kortman

Setting Goals for the New Year—It’s a Science!

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing & communications at Kappa Delta Pi.

KDP Global

Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to get active on KDP Global!

It’s so hard to believe that 2015 is already upon us. I always make it a point to sit down and write down a set of goals for myself for the coming year. Some of mine for 2014 were successful (writing and mailing more personal notes and sitting down for breakfast every morning) and some were less so (keeping my email inbox clean).

This year, inspired by a recent article I read, I’m going to focus on being less of a procrastinator. We’ll see how that goes…

I’m fascinated by what makes us want to set goals at the New Year AND what makes us make or break our goal promises. I found this article from TED Ideas on The Science of Setting Goals. It’s really interesting—check it out!

Have you set a goal for 2015? Leave your reply in the comments!

What’s Your 2014 Goal?

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing and communications for Kappa Delta Pi.

Happy New Year 2014We’re officially a week into 2014! I’m always intoxicated by the possibilities that a new year brings. While I know resolution setting is frowned upon by many, I always make it a point to sit down and write down a set of goals for myself for the coming year and revisit them quarterly. Some of mine for 2014 include writing and mailing more personal notes “just because,” keeping my email inbox clean (I’m an email hoarder!), sitting down for breakfast every morning, and, of course, being a healthier person.

I thought I’d ask our members if they were doing the same, especially setting goals as they relate to their careers as educators. Check out some of the responses we received via Facebook and Twitter. Have you set a goal for 2014? Leave your reply in the comments!

“Starting my EdS next week…then plan for EdD!” –Jaime

“I want to inspire more students.” –Robert

“Get my Major Assessments done pronto!” –Catherine

“Starting and finishing my dissertation!” –Vane

“Complete this year on a teaching high note…and finishing my MAED in school counseling with a new position as a school counselor!” –Mary Ann

“To graduate in December with Honors.” –Marie

“…Just got my substitute teaching license this morning. Monday, apply for job!” -Richard

“Land my first position after graduation in May! –Rachel Anne

“Giving my students my absolute best so that they can soar into the next grade…summer is creeping so close!”–Bynikini

“Meeting students where they are and giving them the confidence and skills to get ahead!” –Laurie