It’s almost the end of the school year! Raise your hand if you’re ready to wrap things up and head off for summer vacation!
While I love my students, I always look forward to a relaxing summer to recharge and spend time with my family!
If you’re a veteran teacher, you know how hectic and chaotic the end of the school year can be! This is one lesson that I learned the hard way!
21 years ago I was a first year, sixth grade teacher with a class of unforgettable kids.
It was the last week of school. We had wrapped up our curriculum for the year and I was feeling pretty proud of myself!
Thinking I was doing the right thing, I spent the last few days in class watching movies, undecorating the classroom, and celebrating.
IT WAS THE LONGEST 3 DAYS OF MY LIFE!
Why am I sharing this embarrassing story with you?
I want to save you the torture of end of the year classroom chaos and help you to have a solid plan for a few end of the school year activities that will keep your students engaged!
If I could give you one piece of golden advice for the end of the year, it’s this: keep ‘em busy!
Busy students are happy students. No doubt, happy students make for happy teachers!
Let me share some of my favorite end of the school year activities to help avoid chaos and send your students off in style!
1. END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR MEMORY BOOK
Are you looking for an end of the year project that doubles as a keepsake for your students?
This fun project is always a hit with my students because it’s a chance to reflect on all of the fun they’ve had throughout the school year.
Bonus – their answers give me a lot of insight about what made their year special. 🙂
Have students both distance learning and in person?
This no-prep end of the school year project includes both a digital version and and easy to fold print version.
2. WRITE LETTERS TO NEXT YEAR’S STUDENTS
Your students next year will love hearing from former students! It’s a great way to make the new class feel welcome and ease some of their fears about a new year.
These letters can include details such as:
- Most important things to know about the teacher
- A sneak peek at what they will learn about next year
- An activity or lab in class that the students loved
- Words of advice for next year’s students
These make for a great bulletin board display and a warm welcome for your incoming students!
3. TIME CAPSULE ACTIVITY
Every year since I have started teaching, I have done a time capsule with my students on the first day of school.
Just a friendly reminder that if you started a time capsule activity at the beginning of the year, don’t forget to do bring it back out at the end of the year to complete! 🙂
I love this project for a few reasons:
- It’s a great way to get to know students in the beginning of the year!
- Students change SO much during the school year, it’s an amazing way to celebrate their growth!
- It’s a 2 for 1 project – beginning and end of the year!
Students complete these on the first day of school. After they are completed, I collect and file them away for the end of the year.
During the last week of school, I return the time capsules to the students with their beginning of the year responses covered up for them to complete again.
I love to hear the squeals of laughter and amazement as they open them and compare a year’s worth of changes!
If you’ve never done a time capsule project and are thinking about it for next year, take a look at these print and digital time capsules! Prepping for next year already? Take a look at this post about how to build relationships during the first week back to school!
4. SCIENTIFIC METHOD ACTIVITIES
What student doesn’t love a hands-on activity? There are so many fun activities that there’s never enough time to do everything during the school year.
A few extra days at the end of the year is the perfect time to reinforce the scientific method skills students have learned throughout the year!
A few student favorites that would make engaging end of the school year activities include:
5. END OF SCHOOL YEAR PASSION PROJECT
It’s a great feeling to finish teaching your curriculum early! Am I right?
Encouraging a passion project is a fun way to allow students to explore their own interests.
One way to do this would be to set up a framework and have them extend their learning of a specific topic you studied this year. Most teachers are so tied to the curriculum, it’s hard to spend an extra day or two on related topics of student interest.
The possibilities are endless! For example, if you studied the solar system, perhaps students want to branch out and learn about the different types of stars or black holes. Perhaps they want to investigate what it takes to become an astronaut.
Some ideas for students to show what they learned could include a PowerPoint presentation or a poster project with a gallery walk to view other classmates projects.
No matter how you decide to celebrate the end of the year, remember to take some time to reflect on your successes and treat yourself for a job well done!