How do you keep your students motivated at the end of the year?
Focus on the big picture concepts and how the smaller steps and skills help us to efficiently access higher level thinking.
So, the activities and exercises at the end of the year that I develop have a creative bent that encourages students to synthesize materials from various genres/disciplines/entry points. In other words, no tests and final exams, but instead get them to brainstorm songs and paintings and cartoons that connect to the class content and concepts — then, get them to mash things up, so that they pull ideas from September and October and November into this new context.
You can have them track their thinking in a map of some sort, or you can have them narrate it with writing or a short selfie video clip, but the main goal here is to transport the knowledge they have acquired into new and novel contexts for the purpose of then even transforming that new and novel context into something else.
Learning can never be stagnant — information just sitting there stuck on a multiple choice exam or a short essay test, no — things will always keep moving and growing and it is incumbent upon us to keep fostering creative and innovative interdisciplinary neural pathways.