That's a Wrap: End of the Year Celebration

By Brent Vasicek on May 4, 2011
  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

The brain likes clean beginnings and The Butterfly" — Struggling is essential for growth.  Anticipation 08-25-10 007

  • "The Starfish" — You can make a difference.
  • "The Dash" — Spend your time wisely.
  • "The Gem Story" — Gather all the wisdom you can. (See p. 43 of the pdf file.)

Year-End Tokens

Each year I leave the students with a physical memory of the year to treasure.

  • Gems to go with the "The Gem" story (above) can be bought at craft stores like Michael's. It costs about $5–$10 for each student to have one.
  • Starfish to go with "The Starfish" poem can be bought at craft stores or through Oriental Trading Co. Again, it costs about $5–$10 to buy one for each student.
  • Gold medals engraved with our class motto on the back are a must during a year with an Olympic theme. About $4 per medal.
  • Trophies engraved with our class motto go best with the entertainment theme. About $5 per award.
  • Pens with our class motto on it. About $1.50 per pen.
  • Denim backpacks with our 2i2 logo patch sewn on it. $20 per dozen.
  • T-shirts customized with our logo. Usually you can find a deal for about $5 per shirt.

Vasicek Medal  Vasicek Starfish  Vasicek Pen 

 Vasicek Trophy Vasicek Integrity Bro Alumni Shirt

Year-End Activities

  • Memory Walk — Each week throughout the year we create a mind map on a large Post-It note. This mind map captures the essence of that week's lessons and personal milestones. I save all of these oversized pieces of paper and place them around the room in chronological order on the last Monday of school. I put on some sappy music as they walk around and reflect upon the year quietly amongst themselves. Usually there are a few tears as some strong memories resurface. We share our favorite memories with each other.
  • Memory Walk Alternative — Have the students create a huge mind map on the front board. This mind map should include all their favorite lessons and memories from the year. Take a picture of it and give it to the students on the last day of school.
  • Auction — After the Memory Walk, I auction off the weekly mind maps from the year. Some very popular ones, such as the maps from Poetry Night and Christmas Day, go for top dollar. What do I use for cash? We use tickets given out for good behavior, leftover "Oops" passes not used for missing assignments, extra credit coupons that were earned but not utilized, etc. Any classroom reward system can be adapted to this auction idea. In the auction I also throw in some items that I won't be using the following year.

Feel free to borrow any of these ideas. However, if you are a teacher in my building, I respectfully ask that you allow this method of wrapping up a year to remain a solid 4th grade memory.


In what sort of fun or meaningful ways do you wrap up your year?


That's a wrap!

  2I2 Trademark 2010 Vasicek

Director Vasicek

2i2 is a trademark of Mr. Vasicek's classroom. It represents living your life to the fullest and doing it with integrity.



Thanks for so many super ideas. I noticed the link to "The Gem" story is unavailable. Do you know where I might find it or the author?

Brent! Thank you for these final curtain call ideas. We watched the starfish video and I gave out starfish to my class. I also gave out individual classroom awards with a medal for each kid. It was the closure we needed. Thank you so much for the clean ending! My class really enjoyed it. :)

I am glad it was a hit, Wendy! Enjoy the summer! Brent

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