Not unlike the beginning of the year, the end-of-the year creates anxiety in children and they often communicate this through their behavior. You have probably noticed that students are needing extra reminders about behavioral expectations that you have had in place since the beginning of the year. They are extra chatty and have a hard time managing their bodies. At this time of the year, children sense that something is up – even if they can’t tell you. They hear adults talk about, “next year”, “in your new class”, “in your new school”, etc. and they become anxious about the change.
To help both the teacher and the student manage this, bring out some of the same things you did at the beginning of the year, and try these suggestions:
- Re-teach behavior expectations; roll play what to do and what not to do.
- Provide positive reinforcement more frequently – like you did at the beginning of the year.
- Catch them being good and provide descriptive feedback.
- Implement a new classroom reward system: i.e. marble jar, star jar, spell out a word, etc. and reward them with something fun!
- Read books on social skills and have students act them out!
- Implement the Bucket System: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? Each time students are filling someone’s (including yours) bucket, they can put a sticker on their bucket!
- Re-teach skills in the moment – capitalize on teachable moments.
- Provide more choice throughout the day. Students tend to have better behavior when they are able to choose their activity.
- Talk about feelings! Let them share why they are excited, nervous, happy, sad, etc.
- Increase physical activity. Let them get their wiggles out in fun ways. Check out: Go Noodle!
I have found that classroom management is most difficult at the beginning of the year and the end-of-the-year. Go back to the basics with your kiddos. Re-teach your behavioral expectations and implement a new system to acknowledge their efforts; the novelty of something new will tighten up your classroom management and help both you and your students make it a fun and exciting end-of-the-year!