May 30, 2013

7 Digital Ways to End the School Year

If you’ve been swearing all year to get students online using some of those amazing digital tools. digital summer copyI have some ideas for you. These seven projects will be so much fun, they will eagerly welcome the new school year, hoping you have more toys for them to learn.

The trick with so many of these online sites is: Let students explore. Don’t rush them. Don’t teach them every twist and turn. Don’t expect perfection. Expect inquiry and enthusiasm and self-paced discovery. Let them solve problems as they create.

Here are seven ideas for amazing end-of-year projects that leave students thinking the school year is ending too soon:

End-of-year Multimedia Summative

Students take pictures of each other holding up favorite projects or working on tech skills–humorously, of course. Use these pictures in an Animoto movie to share light-hearted details of their Year in Tech. Open it with a magazine cover of student (created in Big Huge Labs). Accessorize with music, transitions, and text bubbles. Save to class network and load onto the school set of iPads. Students can play these movies on the last day of class as they celebrate the end of school. If you don’t have iPads, gather students in comfortable seating, play a student video as they reflect on another successful year of Tech.

Tips and Tricks Trading Cards

Create trading cards (in Big Huge Labs) for next year’s students that share grade-level hints and tips about thriving in tech class

Voki Cheerleader

Create a Voki that will greet next year’s students with attaboys when they most need it–you can do it–just two more minutes of typing! You are blazing! And you almost never look at your fingers–woah!

Introductory Movie

Create a movie of the school for prospective students. Walk around the campus sharing what goes on in the gym, the science lab, lockers. It should be upbeat and positive, underscoring activities that make the school a uniquely great learning environment

Digital Welcome Book

Create a digital ‘Welcome’ book, telling next year’s new students how to keep track of log-ins, what the computer UN and PW is, the best approach to keyboarding, when Minecraft Mania time is, and anything else you decide is important for new students. Maybe do the Classroom tour that the teacher usually does on the first day of school. Walk around the classroom pointing out where the bulletin boards are with important news, what the ‘Evidence Board’ is, how to use the printer, where to get new headphones/pencils if yours disappear–which are the best headphones. Tape this as a movie that can be played on an iPad. Next year students will each receive an iPad at the classroom door with instructions on how to activate their student-guided tour.

Jeopardy Summative

Play Tech Class Jeopardy! There are a lot of online templates for Jeopardy. Simply use questions that sum up the year’s worth of tech knowledge or take the questions from the students. What do they think was most important? Divide the class into teams, give them study guides to prepare. While they study, you create the game slides, and then play on the last day. An alternative to this is to have each team create their own Jeopardy game, with questions of their choice, and spend 15 minutes on each game–see who wins.

Summer Padlet

Put up a Padlet (the new name for Wallwisher) on the class website, blog or wiki (in my case, the class internet start page) inviting all students to add notes about what they’re doing this summer. Keep these up all summer, until the new school year. Students can check in while on vacation and add notes for classmates about what they ended up doing even though they planned something else.

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for, featured blogger for Technology in Education, IMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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