The end of the school year is an exciting, yet bittersweet time. While everyone loves summer break, teachers and students have had a whole school year of connection, community, learning, and growing. It can be difficult to say goodbye. We talked to our fellow teachers to find out how they wrap up the end of the school year and make those last few days memorable.
Fun activities for the end of the school year
These are not only a great way to have fun with your students at the end of the school year, but a lot of them are educational or incorporate socio-emotional learning. All of these ideas come from our Teach 4 the Heart Facebook group. Here are some ideas:
- Create a memory book of the year. Together we brainstorm events they enjoyed throughout the year and have student to write a brief blurb about the event. I will give them copies of pictures I have taken throughout the year to add to their page. If I didn’t have a picture, they drew a picture. I use a 3 ring binder and also include an autograph page. -Addie M.
- Trish D. also does memory books with her students, but she uses a scrapbook made of paper bags so there are pockets for photos, etc.
- I would always have my social studies classes make and illustrate timelines covering all the events we'd learned about that year. -Alexx S.
- I do storybook character awards. I teach first grade and it is such a big year for learning to read. Each kid gets an award telling which book character they remind me of and why. There’s always a Junie B. Jones who brings laughter to the class and a Jack or Annie from Magic Treehouse who love to explore. -Kristin K.
- I've made Google slides and we play a game for review of ELA questions. Students are quite competitive, as I mix it with a game of tornado. I've also done movies that relate to the short stories, novels, excerpts, plays or poems we've read. -Samra S.
- For end of the year gifts, I give a beach ball for students to autograph, a summer bag with lei, sunglasses, a book, and a squirt toy. -Trish D.
- Our last current event is a made up one- the sky's the limit. -Becka P.
- There was a teacher I knew who took pictures of every project the kids did and had them put the photos together into a slideshow video. -Alexx S.
- We finish up the weather unit in science. They will partner up to design and make a kite to fly in a contest the last week of school. -Karen H.
- I read Animalia by Graeme Base and The Z was Zapped: A Play in Twenty-Six Acts by Chris Van Allsburg. And then have the students create ABC books about the year, or the school, or their grade level, etc. I publish, bind and give the best one to the librarian or administration as a reminder of that year. -Emily H.
- I love the i-Mazing End-of-the-Year Project from Upper Elementary Snapshots. Students create a paper iPad full of "apps" that show off their learning on 9 topics they studied that year. -Alexx S.
- They love their gadgets. Put them in groups and let them come up with a creative way to sum up their school year. Give them a grading rubric and watch the creativity flow! Award all groups for effort and participation, but do something special for the winning group (for example, ice cream coupons, pizza coupons, etc.). Past students have gone around to landmarks and come up with poems, raps, songs, etc., talking about subjects and things the teacher said. -Rayette S.
- For virtual learning, I gave out copies of the IKEA Home Fort Building plans PLUS cheap clips from Amazon to hold sheets on the fort. You could do this in class, too! (You can find the IKEA building plans here.) -Trish D.
- I would end the school year doing a novel study with my English classes. One of the last projects we did was to create a "movie poster" for the book. It would include the title, author, summary of the book, quote from the book, a review, and an illustration. -Alexx S.
- We do an Invention Convention - they come up with a cool invention draw it or make a prototype and present it to the class. -Becka P.
- We "engineer" ice cream; we make ice cream in a bag with different ingredients for different flavors. -Nicole B.
- Awards day is always fun. Come up with some award for every student. (Some I have done have been- "Most Likely to be a Yoga Instructor", Most Likely to become a Computer Engineer and not a Hacker", and "The Three Amigos" award). -Michael W.
- I celebrate "a student a day" as we count down to the end of the year. The class gets to tell that child what they like about them the most and I make a poster for them to keep. -Kristin K.
- I assign a project where the students make a "How to Survive Guide." They may choose a serious topic (a natural disaster, changing schools, etc.) or a fictional and/or humorous topic (a zombie apocalypse, a teacher's class, etc.). -Boyd U.
- Have your students create an educational video. You can even have the class vote on awards for the videos. -Linda K. (For all the details about this project, check out End Your Year with this Engaging (Yet Simple) Video Project)
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