Are end-of-year projects way to beat end-of-year exhaustion?

Since Arizona doesn’t have any snow days to worry about, we are in our last two weeks of school now. My son’s charter school has an interesting way of dealing with the last week of school — term projects. They are weeklong studies taught by regular teachers mixing grade levels. Some have more education value than others. However, it keeps the kids occupied without sending homework or letting them straight up watch TV to kill time.

Here are some examples:

  • Martial arts for 5th and 6th graders
  • Teen Shakespeare for 7th through 10th graders
  • Sci-Fi Movie Days for 6th and 7th graders (I assume there is discussion attached to the watching.)
  • School mural — 5th and 6th graders — painting a school mural
  • Digging up your roots for 7th through 10th graders — exploring their family trees
  • Motor building for 8th through 10th graders – with the science teacher
  • Perseus Past and Present — 5th through 6th graders — taught by the Latin teacher
  • Sports — 6th through 8th graders –
  • Medieval Castles for 5th graders taught by the classics teacher
  • Living Wax Museum for 6th and 7th graders — They research someone and then dress up like them
  • Chess Championship for 5th through 7th grade
  • Documentary film making or 8th through 10th
  • Creative building for 5th through 10th
  • Star Wars for 5th and 6th
  • Game shows 5th and 6th
  • Intro to Italian for 5th through 10th
  • Card Games for 7th through 10th
  • Comicon for 5th through 10th
  • Math games for 5th and 6th
  • World of Music for 5th and 6th
  • Table games for 5th through 10th

Obviously some have more educational value than other. A few had fees attached (like $20) but Walsh was trying to same me money so he only put in for the free ones. He ended up with table games, which may not be a bad thing. He hates to lose so maybe it will be good to practice in a school setting.

I forgot to mention they also are cutting the school day short the whole last week. They are starting school about 55 minutes later and getting out at 1:25 instead of 2:45 p.m. Walsh in thrilled. His sisters who are on a different schedule are not. (The school will still obviously hit their required number of learning hours but I have no idea how this is all working out.)

So what do you think about the idea of mixed-grade projects for the last week of school? What do you think about shortening the days?

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