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You’ve officially made it past the halfway point of the school year! As we near the summer months and the end of the current grade level for your students, you’re likely to start hearing requests for extra credit assignments. Students tend to get into panic mode around March and April, and start stressing about their final grades. While some teachers don’t offer extra credit, it can be a great bonus for some students who are extra hard working or who might need a little extra help at the end of the year. No matter what reason you have for offering extra credit ideas this year, take a look at some of our top ideas to implement in your classroom this spring.
Current Events Report
This is great for a social studies class especially, but can be used in any subject. Have your students research a current event and write a report on it. It’s up to you if you allow them to use sensitive or political subjects, but be sure to lay out the guidelines for them on what you require. You may have them utilize various sources to research it, such as an oral news report, a written news report, an interview, and so on. This could be something that goes along with a unit you’re doing in class or it can simply be a way to get your students involved in real-world events.
Especially great for language arts classes, having your students write a business letter is a great extra credit assignment. Have them pick a real business and write a letter to them about anything they choose. They can write to a candy company requesting samples for the class, they can write to a corporation about an issue they see with the company, or they can write to a sports organization asking about how they run their company. Ensure they are given appropriate guidelines on how to write a business letter, and have them send the letter once it’s graded to see if they get a response.
Writing a children’s book may sound easy and students often enjoy it, but it tends to be more difficult than many of them realize. Whether you’re an English teacher or not, your students will gain a lot from writing a children’s book as an extra credit assignment. If you teach science or social studies, have them write about a particular concept they learned in class and explain it as thoroughly to a young audience as they can. It’s up to you whether you allow them to use digital images or if you require them to illustrate the book themselves.
Science Fair Project
Some schools require students to participate in the science fair, but if yours isn’t one of them, you can offer extra credit to your science students when they do a science fair project. Make sure they have the guidelines and requirements before they begin, and make sure their project idea and science experiment is approved before they start the process. It should be graded as an extra credit assignment in the same way that it’s graded as a science fair project, including all the requirements of the scientific method, pictures, and a completed display board.
Encourage students to attend a lecture, performance, or conference off-campus to learn about something you’re studying in class. You can have them bring you a ticket stub and have them write up a review of the event and tell you what they learned. You can search your local area for academic events with college professors, authors, and more. Better yet, have your students research some local events that would be beneficial to them and get approval for a particular event.
This is a common extra credit assignment. It’s easy for you to grade and it is extremely beneficial for students. Let them take their old tests and go back through and rework the questions they got wrong. If you can manage it, it’s best to have them do this in class where they can’t just borrow a friend’s test and copy the answers. Even better, have them explain what they did wrong (if applicable) and have them do another similar problem to prove that they’ve mastered the concept and skill that they originally got incorrect.
School Event Attendance
This isn’t so much of an academic assignment as it is a school spirit activity. Your school likely has a number of events going on, including concerts, plays, sporting events, and more. Have your students pick one to attend, bring you the ticket from it, and write about the event. This not only encourages school spirit and camaraderie amongst students, but it might also help students get involved in a club or activity that they wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
You might need to set up strict guidelines for this one, but this can be a fascinating extra credit assignment, especially for social studies students. Have students pick a movie based on a true story—the easiest thing to do is have them find one about a historical event. Then they watch the movie and compare the events in the movie to the true events that occurred in history. Some examples might be Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Schindler’s List, Troy, and Gettysburg. Make sure the movies are age-appropriate for your students and that your students have parent permission to see them.
Social Media Profile
Another great idea for social studies classes is to have your students set up a social media profile for a historical figure. Have them create the biography for the individual, including an “About” page that lists the individual’s experiences, favorite things, family, etc. Be sure they include job information, hometown, and more.