Kids Love End-of-Year Classroom Takeovers!

By Kathleen Palmieri

You’ve spent the school year teaching students skills and strategies and covering the curriculum, giving your best for your students. Now as the year winds down, the time has come to let the kids take over!

Before you get alarmed, this is not something new. Some call this time “You be the Teacher” or even an extension of “Genius Hour.” Whatever you choose to call this time, it is a wonderful way for students to share what they love, their interests, their culture, and, many times, what they’ve learned.

Here are some of the things we do in my classes. If you’re still in school, you might want to give it a try!

There are many benefits when students take over the learning in the classroom. They might include:

● Having students review topics covered throughout the year.
● Extensions of the curriculum – this year, for social studies, we included language lessons in Italian, French, Japanese, and Jamaican Patois to name a few.
● Students learning more about each other by sharing cultural celebrations, family trips and life in other parts of the world.
● Inviting students to talk about their interests outside of school, including those that tap into cultural arts such as ballet, Broadway music.

Examples of Student Takeovers

Ballet and Broadway Musicals:

Learning about Italy:

Japanese lesson:

Jamaican Patois:

A Joy for Students and for Me!

You might expect students – singly or in pairs – to offer a presentation of their choice. Or make it voluntary. Devise your own ground rules, based on the time you have and the number of students involved.

When students present, many times you will experience a mirror of your classroom management skills. This is truly an eye opener – as they teach I’ve heard myself and seen how what I do in the classroom impacts my students. The first time I heard the strategies I use such as “stop and wait” or saying “My voice is on” and having the students respond “Ours is off” it truly warmed my heart.

The level of engagement when kids are teaching other kids is amazing. They truly love to listen and learn from each other, creating an authentic learning environment. I can almost guarantee some of your quietest students will want to participate, maybe by buddying up with a friend to teach a lesson.

I have loved the self reflection I have gained as many of my students imitate my style of teaching or the flow of a lesson. Aside from the classroom management skills mentioned above, the hooks and wrap ups that have been used are simply amazing and give me a sense of what kids liked and what stays with them.

I also teach mathematics and other lessons that are coming up as our year draws to a close include “Math Tricks” and “Using the Order of Operations.”

As the summer weather creeps in, I highly encourage you to let the kids take over. It is a great way to not only allow the students to shine, but also for you to take pride in knowing what you do daily really matters.

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher and NBCT Professional Learning facilitator. She is a fifth grade educator in upstate New York who reviews and writes regularly for MiddleWeb. With a passion for literacy and learning in the classroom, she participates in various writing workshops, curriculum writing endeavors, and math presentations. As a lifelong learner, she is an avid reader and researcher of educational practices and techniques. Collaborating with colleagues and globally on Twitter @Kathie042500 and expanding her education adventures at are ongoing practices.


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