The end of the school year can be a fun, but stressful time. We want to make sure our students are learning up until the last day, but we also want to review, tie up loose ends and have time to reflect. Here are 10 ideas for ways to have fun and keep learning right up until the last day of school:
1. Create a yearbook.
Students can work collaboratively to create a class yearbook or they can each create their own. They can include a page for each important event (field trip, assembly, etc.) that happened throughout the year. They can also add pages for each subject so they can record some of the most important things they have learned. The memory books or yearbooks can include “All About Me” pages, as well as a place for students and other teachers to write messages to each other.
2. Create an ABC book.
Using one page for each letter of the alphabet, students can create an ABC book for a particular subject, or for the grade in general. They can use their books and anchor charts to review as they search for a word for each letter of the alphabet. Click here to get a FREE template.
3. Have the students become the teachers.
Every student has something they know how to do and are really good at. Have them teach the others. They can even turn in lesson plans and create assessments! It will help them learn how to dissect a topic, plan out the steps to teach it, and develop their presentation skills.
4. Write letters to next year’s students.
Your current class can write letters to your future students. They can give advice and encouragement, tell them what makes your class special, and share tips about your grade or classroom. Have the students tape them to the inside of the desks for next year’s class to find and read!!
5. Write a letter to your future self.
Your students can write letters to their future selves. They can include all of their likes/ dislikes, what they think their future will be like, what they remember about their current grade. Give them to the parents to hold until a future date, such as their high school graduation or 18th birthday.
6. Get creative with awards.
Of course, you could give out that “most improved math student” award. Or, you could give out “most likely to find the teacher’s keys” or “best storyteller.” Be creative and think about what makes each student unique. It’ll show the kids that you really know them as people and that you notice their strengths beyond academics.
7. Do a final project.
This is a great way to spend the last week or two of school. You can have the students each work on their own, or in groups. Come up with a way to synthesize the learning you have done over the year and tie it all together with a project. For example, in third grade, we are writing books about an animal from one of the countries we have studied this year. We are researching and including information about their habitat, diet, etc. We are using data to create a chart or graph for our book. After researching and organizing the information, students will draft, revise and edit, and publish.
8. Make a video or podcast.
Another great project for the end of the year. Assign roles and tasks and work as a class to create one video/ podcast that the students can keep as a kind of digital memory book. It could be full of interviews, photos, collections of things done of the year, etc.
9. Create a summer bucket list.
This is a fun way to get the kids ready for summer. And you can help them sneak in lots of learning by giving them ideas like “read under a tree” or “learn more about kangaroos.”
10. Invent a math game.
Kids love making up games, especially if they can play them outdoors. Assign each pair/ group a standard or concept and have them come up with a fun way to teach or practice it. They can write out the directions, make all of the pieces, and teach the class how to play. And then you’ll have some new ideas for next year’s math center!!
Happy (End of the Year) Teaching!!