April 1 might have been April Fools’ Day, but there’s no time for fooling around as the long-awaited fourth quarter of the school year is finally here. Summer is right around the corner. But before you can head to the beach or plan all those backyard barbecues, pay attention to these five tips to end the school year with success.
Sleep on it
Prepare for a shock: The Mayo Clinic’s recommended amount of sleep by age group is posted on its website and included here. It’s safe to say that most school-age children (and adults) are not getting the recommended amount of sleep. Researchers know that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. And if they do get sick, a lack of sleep can also affect how fast they recover. Make sure your children are sticking to a school-year bedtime and not a summer-break schedule.
Take it outside
With springtime temperatures and longer hours of daylight, children should spend some time after school getting exercise and fresh air. Not only will it help them sleep better (and longer) at night, it will improve their concentration for completing homework and studying for tests and quizzes. You also can set up a work station for your child on the back deck or patio for them to do homework while enjoying the outdoors during this time of year.
Organization is key
It’s only natural to feel weighed down if every piece of paper from the whole school year is still in your child’s backpack or binder. Start by taking out anything from the first semester. Most middle schools that give final exams only assess students on the second semester, the third and fourth quarters. If in doubt, send a quick email to your child’s teacher to verify what materials are still needed. Then, with your child, sort graded work and notebooks accordingly.
Call for help
If your child is struggling with staying focused, you don’t have to tackle that alone. Email your child’s teacher and request a short meeting. If grades are falling, ask for extra-credit assignments or inquire about after-school assistance in the more challenging subjects. Everyone’s goal is the same, to help each student be successful. For students with learning differences, schedule a meeting with the school resource teacher or guidance counselor; these educational professionals can help get your student back on track. Don’t wait until the last few weeks of the quarter to seek help if you need it.
Keep your eye on the ball
Create a special, end-of-the-school-year calendar. Get out colored markers and a piece of poster board. Mark any important school dates, upcoming field trips, class parties, final exams and graduation ceremonies. Use colorful stickers to count down the days until the last day of school. It’s easier to work toward a goal when you have a clear picture in mind, especially with younger children who haven’t yet developed a keen sense of time.
The fourth quarter with its mad dash to the end of the school year doesn’t have to be stressful. Using these five tips will help the fourth quarter fly by with good results and a successful end of the school year.
Michelle Blanchard Ardillo is a freelance writer and middle school language arts teacher.