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End-of-semester teaching practices


far_to_go

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Hi all,

Do you have any end-of-semester practices to make things easier and smoother for yourselves and your students?

I have a few that tend to work well:

- On the last day of class, as students are coming in, I play "We Are the Champions." Never fails to get people smiling; it's nice to start off the last class well.

- I don't offer extra credit during the semester, but during the last week I usually offer a very small and simple extra credit assignment- something that will take students less than 20 minutes to complete, worth only a miniscule number of points, easy for me to grade, emphasizing some important take-away point from the course. The psychological effects on the students are great, because as they approach the final they want every little bit of reassurance they can get.

- I always buy myself a new CD to listen to when I'm grading a huge stack of exams. Helps to keep me in a good mood :-)

What are your tips and tricks for making the end of the semester more bearable?

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I like the itty-bitty extra credit idea; I can imagine that a little gesture like that really helps!

I've been known to do exam review "Bingo" or "Jeopardy" for the last class. Sometimes when I tell colleagues that, their reaction is like, "Seriously?! These students are supposed to be ADULTS in UNIVERSITY!" But you know what, it works, for both the mood AND their marks. It requires some extra prep, to ensure that the students get something out of it, but I've found it to be worth it.

Also, I put this picture in my last slide right before I dismiss them:

http://verydemotivational.memebase.com/2010/03/28/demotivational-posters-you-dont-study/

My best strategy for marking, if the essay/exam submission schedule permits, is to do ALL of my TA grading before tackling my own end-of-term graduate papers. To have it done REALLY promptly makes me feel like a superstar and ensures that my focus is intact for my own work.

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