Every year as a principal, I’d find myself emphasizing at this time of year one very important thing to staff: Don’t stop teaching. Maintain the structure and routine in your classroom. Children thrive when the instructional day remains consistent. In my annual reminder email I’d write something to this effect: “Dark rooms and movies, along with unstructured activities can lead to issues with discipline and detract from an opportunity to provide our students with high quality learning experiences until the very end.” And then, I’d walk the halls and visit the classrooms because that’s how important it was to me that instruction continued for our students. They had too much they needed to learn for us to waste a minute not giving them what they needed.
Now-don’t get me wrong. We held the annual field day, awards day program, and those other end of year events. However, we had a collective agreement that the ending of state testing did not signify the ending of instruction or learning. Learning for our students had no finish line.
The end of the school year, or anytime you have available for that matter, is a great time to capitalize on the opportunity to extend learning for those who have demonstrated mastery in a particular area, provide intervention and support for those who still demonstrate academic deficits, and position students to be as ready as possible for their next step in their academic journey.
I worry that the heavy emphasis on state testing being over-sends a signal to our students and perhaps to some educators, that the bell has rung on the instructional experiences we provide. Learning is a continuous process that has no ending. Let’s model that for our students whether testing had ended or not, because if we keep teaching they will keep learning!
Y’all be easy,