It’s been a long year. Yes, I know, that’s quite an understatement. We’ve taught online, we’ve been in person, and we’ve been everywhere in between, but that doesn’t mean you can’t finish the year strong!
With only a few months (or perhaps weeks) to go, keeping students engaged can definitely be a challenge. They are getting antsy for summer and their focus is dwindling. However, I have found a sure fire way to keep students engaged until the last moment they are in my classroom.
Yep, that’s right, I let my students plan their dream vacation in the last week of school. And let me tell you, they don’t even realize they are using all the skills they learned throughout the year. In this cross-curricular project students will plan, budget, and journal about their “dream vacation”. They will pull skills from math, language arts, and social studies and work with their group members to complete the project.
Students work with a partner or two to complete the project, so it also incorporates teamwork and compromise. They begin by brainstorming a few places they would like to visit, before narrowing it down to one. Then, they research flight (or driving) costs and lodging information. They look up activities they would like to do and plan out each day. They keep a journal of their travels, and make a budget for each day.
Additionally, students will check the climate, write postcards, illustrate pictures from their adventures, map out their travels, and more. Typically I allow about 5-6 school days for this activity (about 1.5-2 hours each day). It can be a lengthy project, but it is the perfect way to finish up the year. I have former students who are in high school who still talk about where they took their “Dream Vacation” to!