Friday, May 13, 2016

Middle School Memories - Three End of the Year Activities

Middle School Memories
My 8th graders are entering their last three weeks in Middle School and even though most of them don't really want to admit it, they're having some conflicting emotions right now.  They're anxious (and apprehensive) about going to high school next year - leaving a school they've been at for 3 years and a place where they're now the "Big Men (or Women) on Campus" to go to a new school with new teachers and new classes.  For most, it means leaving behind some of their friends who are going to a different high school (our district has three high schools).  

Right now, it is difficult to get them to focus on school, no matter how entertaining the lesson.  They want to think back over their memories of friends and fun, and look ahead to the fall when they'll be enjoying new experiences.  So, I came up with a few lessons that let them learn some new skills AND get a chance to reflect back or look ahead.

Idea #1: “I’ll Always Remember” project in PowerPoint. Students combine pictures with a short paragraph about a specific memory they will “always remember” from each of their classes in a PowerPoint presentation and then share these.  Get the full lesson.

Idea #2: Memories from the Year video project gives students an opportunity to share their memories from the school year as a culminating activity to the year. It uses the Web 2.0 tool, WeVideo, which is convenient for teachers and students since it does not require download. Students use existing pictures and videos or shoot additional ones and then combine those with WeVideo’s built in music to create a video retrospective of the year. Get the full lesson.

Idea #3: Showcasing the Year’s Best Work in an Online Weebly Portfolio utilizes the free Web 2.0 tool to create an online portfolio/web site. No download is required to use the product, making it easy for teachers who are not able to download software on classroom computers to still give their students a choice in learning.  Students enjoy looking back at all their accomplishments for the year and seeing how their work has improved too! Get the full lesson.

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