Front page > Lesson Plans > Seasonal > Reviewing the Year
The books are turned in and for many, there remain yet a few more days before summer vacation arrives. While some teachers choose to turn their students loose in the classroom to play games or socialize, and many more have parties, picnics and field trips, there are just a few educational activities left for you to try.

Finals are a review that many students are now required to complete, some as early as middle school. But when they're done memorizing all those facts for the written exam, put your students to the real test. What have they actually learned this year? How will they use this new wisdom in the years to come? Can they show you that they've actually retained some of the more tedious lessons? Try these activities on for size....

Build a Diorama
If it's English & Language Arts you're tackling, no matter what grade level, have students recreate one of their favorite scenes in 3D. A scene with dimension built inside a shoe box or perhaps even a larger box requires some physical activity and artistic creativity as well. Working in groups or individually, ask students to recreate their favorite setting from a book or play you taught this year.

Story Time
As an alternative to a diorama, you might also have students construct puppets for each character in a book you studied this year. When you've assigned each character to a student, have the remaining students build scenery and even a stage for a puppet show. Have an afternoon of entertainment with neighboring classes or visit a different grade to expose younger students to the literature they can look forward to. You can also assign different groups in your own class different books, then let the groups perform for each other. Don't forget to assign the writing of an abridged script as well.

Movie Hours
It may seem obvious, but many teachers spend the last few weeks of school showing movies. (Oh yes, that again...) Hear us out though - often times you will find that a classic story has not only been made into a movie, but remade, and then remade again (Lord of the Flies and Hamlet just to name a few). Compare the different versions with your students. Critique the acting and discuss the "creative license" that directors and writers have taken in each film. Are the costumes accurate? Has the ending been rewritten? Rate the movies and write reviews from the original author's perspective.

Science Fair - Take 2
You may have already participated in the Science Fair this year, but you can recap the fundamentals of a winning entry by building "mini-entries." For a quick, one-day lesson have students apply the scientific method to a classroom experiment of their choice, but using only the materials on hand. This makes it easier on you and keeps students from turning a small experiment into a full-blown project. When they have finished their conclusions, have them construct a small desktop display (again using only materials from around the room) and host a miniature Science Fair. Keep it simple! One example of a project would be "How much pressure does it take to break a pencil?"

Welcome to the Real World
Revisit one of our favorite themes by asking students to tell you how they will apply what they've learned in your class to the real world. What practical applications will their math and science lessons have? What did they learn in English that will help them in the workforce later in life? What have they learned that will contribute to their future social life? Have them write a short paper to explain, or brainstorm out loud and make a list on your overhead projector or on the chalkboard. Rewrite the list in the form of a bookmark and run photocopies, then cut and hand out as a parting gift.

Letters to Learn From
Hey, the kids aren't the only ones that should be learning here! Many teachers will have their students fill out a questionnaire at the end of the year that asks things like "What did like most about this class?" "What did you like least?" "What would you have done different if you were the teacher?". While getting honest responses to questions like these can be very helpful to you as a teacher, you may not always be able to get completely honest responses. Don't discount the usefulness of asking you students for feedback, but remember that once you form a relationship with those students, they may be reluctant to tell you about things they didn't like, and others may believe that telling you they loved everything will earn them points on their final grade. So after you give them the quiz or have them write down some quick thoughts, have them write a letter to the teachers they haven't met yet! Ask them to tell their teacher for next year what they would like to learn about, and what kinds of projects they like or dislike and why. As a service to their future teacher you can pass these letters along. Ask the teachers of the grade under yours to do the same for you. It can a rewarding and education experience for everyone.

Submitted by Lori Heiser

Close your eyes....
And go back.....
Before the internet or the MAC
Before semi-automatics & crack
Before chronic and indo
Before Sega or Super Nintendo
Way back.....
To the Commodore 64, if you were rich...
I'm talkin' bout hide and go seek at dusk
Hot bread and butter
The ice cream man (only after dinner)
The water ice truck
Doin' steps
Red light, Green light
Pretzel Day at school
Chocolate milk
Lunch tickets
The first time you got on the big swings
Catch a girl - kiss a girl - OOOOOH!
Penny candy in a brown paper bag
Playin' Pacman in the corner store
Double dutch
A Chinese rope made from rubber bands
Kick ball
Stick ball
Dodge ball y'all!
Mother may I?
RaiChinese apples-n-bow ice cream
Candy apples
Apple Jacks
Hoola hoops and sunflower seeds
10 packs of Kool-Aid for a dollar
Jolly Ranchers
Blow pops
Ring pops
What about grape and watermelon Now-Laters??
The water plug (I can't get wet! All right well
don't wet my hair...)
The smell of the sun and lickin' salty lips.....
Watching Sat. morning cartoons
Fat Albert
Road Runner
Josie and the Pussy Cats
The Three Stooges
Catchin' lightning bugs in a jar
Playin' tops or sling shot
When around the corner seemed far away
And goin' downtown seemed like goin' somewhere
Climbing trees
Cornrows with beads and foil
A million mosquito bites and sticky fingers
Cops and robbers
Cowboys and Indians (we didn't know the real story
back then)
When you wanted a Schwinn - but only had a Freespirit
G. I. Joe with the Kung-Fu Grip
The cabbage patch craze??!!
Homemade skateboards
Sittin' on the curb
Jumpin' down the steps
Jumpin' on the bed
Pillow fights
Being tickled to death
Running 'til you were out of breath
Laughing so hard your stomach really hurt
Being tired-from playing
Remember that?
I ain't finished just yet.....
Capn' Crunch and Fruit Loops came way befo' Apple Jacks!!
What about going to the candy store (dill pickles
with a peppermint stick, mmmm especially HOT pickles!!
hot sausages, pigs feet...)
What about crowding in a circle around the "after
school fight" and then running when the teacher came......
What about the girl who had the big-bubbly handwriting??
"Evil Kneivel" wind-up motorbikes
"Hot Wheels" race car sets
"Big Wheels"
Chemistry Sets (trying to make explosives and
getting purple stuff)
Radio Shack (tm) AM/FM radio kits
Burning ants with a magnifying glass
Graham Crackers & milk
Picking wild blackberries
Putting pennies on railroad tracks and watching them getsmashed
Skipping rocks on a lake
Tackle football and grass stains
Last, but not least, Saturday afternoon
"Sooooooouuuuulllll Train!"
Your moms made you pick out the switch that you was going to get whipped with
You used to think that wrestling was real
The kid who never wanted to play football with the fellas, but chose to jump rope with the girls
If you acted up, your mother would whip you on the spot -- no matter where you were
Those people who got Jheri Curls (tm)
Momma driving past McDonald's every time
"Toughskins" (I had 'dem joints!)
When you got a hole in your pants, you didn't get new ones-you got a patch that didn't match
Your momma would cook turkey for Thanksgiving and stretch it out for 2 weeks until it was gone (well, not mine...)
Eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar
Jumping people's fences to pick apples, plums or grapes or...
The brotha' that had the best break dancing suits
--- but couldn't dance...
Somebody getting into a fight every year at the family reunion
Having Family Reunions
Throwing rocks at the neighbor's dog
How moms burned up the toast, scraped off the black stuff,and said, "A little burnt toast is good for you"
Asking your father for something after moms already
said, "No!"
You can't forget...
"I Ain't Gone Bump No Mo' With a Big Fat Woman"
Double Dutch Bus Coming Down the Street"
Solid Gold (Dionne Warwick, Marilyn McCoo and ARSENIO HALL)
Blade Collars (don't front)
Going to bed at 9pm
DISLIKING the opposite sex
Stretch Armstrong (for the brotha's)
Lyte Brite (so as not to neglect the sista's)
"Snoopy Come Home" (who all cried?)
Going to see any Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby movie
AT the theater the first 45 that I bought with my own money:
"Clap your hands everybody if you got what it takes,
cuz I'm Kurtis Blow and I want you to know that these are the
There's more, but I hey.....