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End-of-the-Year Countdown

By Tiffani Mugurussa on April 30, 2013
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

Looking for a memorable end-of-the-school-year experience for you and your students? This year, I am counting down the days using an alphabet theme. We will begin when we have 26 days left on the school calendar. We will have a new theme each day, beginning with the letter A and working our way to letter Z on the last day of school. I shared my ideas with my grade-level team, and they were all willing to join in the fun. When I told my class about this plan, one might have thought I had told them they would have recess for the rest of the year, they were so excited.

When creating my alphabet themes, I kept in mind that they needed to be easy to prepare and easy on my wallet. Below, is my list with the first item after each letter indicating the theme and/or activity, along with some optional activities in parentheses. I've also added color words to some of the days to suggest students wear an article of clothing in that color on that particular day.  For example: B: Blue and Bubbles Day, students are encouraged to wear blue that day.


A-Z Countdown

  • A: Art Day (Athletics, Add a Recess)
  • B: Blue and Bubbles Day (Beach, Books)
  • C: Cookies Day (Cards, Counting, Crafts)
  • D: Doughnut Day (Digging in Dirt)
  • E: Exercise Day (Earth, Elegant)
  • F: Frisbee Day (Favorite ____ )
  • G: Green and Game Day (Going on a Field Trip)
  • H: Hat Day (Hula-Hoop, Hawaiian)
  • I: Ice-Cream Day (Inside Out)
  • J: Jokes and Jump Ropes Day (Jelly Beans)
  • K: Kindness Day (Kickball, Kites)
  • L: Ladybug Day (Letters to Next Year's Teacher, Lunch With the Teacher)
  • M: Mismatched Clothes Day (Movies, Music, Move Desks)
  • N: Numbers and Next Year Day (Noodles, Nutritional Snack, Nap Time)
  • O: Orange and Outside Day (Obstacle Course, Outdoors)
  • P: Purple and Popcorn Day (Pajamas, Pizza)
  • Q: Quiet Day (Quilt)
  • R: Red and Rock-'n'-Roll Recess Day (Read-In, Relay Race)
  • S: Stuffed Animal Day (Summer Birthdays, Sunglasses)
  • T: T-shirt Day (Twins, Tea Party)
  • U: Uplifting Compliments Day (Unique Hair, Uniform)
  • V: Video Day (Visit Your New Classroom)
  • W: White and Water Balloon Day (Water Play)
  • X: X-change Autographs Day (X-treme Cleaning)
  • Y: Yellow and Year-End Day (Yo-Yo’s)
  • Z: Zip Up and Zoom Out Day (Zebra, wear black and white)

Another idea is to read a book each day. Here is a list of books I have compiled. Many of these are popular books that you can find in your school, local or even classroom library.


A to Z: A Book a Day

If you don’t have enough days left in the school year, you can try a different approach:
10 Days to Summer Break! Fill each day with something fun, such as:

  • Beach Day: Wear beach attire and play with beach balls
  • Picnic Day: Bring blankets and have a picnic
  • Art Day: Make a class mural
  • Bike Day: Have students bring bicycles and then practice bike safety and take a bike ride
  • Hawaiian Day: Wear Hawaiian attire and learn to hula dance
  • Movie Day: Watch a movie and eat popcorn or take a trip to the local theater
  • Read-In Day: Bring blankets and favorite books, wear pajamas
  • Pancakes Day: Make pancakes and enjoy a hearty breakfast
  • Kite Day: Go out to the field and fly kites
  • Water Play Day: Turn on sprinklers have a water frenzy
  • Baseball Day: Bring some whiffle balls and bats and teach the kids to play baseball
  • BBQ Day: Have a class barbecue and invite the families to join in


School-Wide Celebrations

Does your school have school-wide end-of-the-year events? Bringing the entire school together to celebrate a year of learning and accomplishments can be very rewarding for your students and their families. Look into organizing an event to promote unity and create a positive school experience to end the year with.

Volunteer Appreciation
It can often be difficult to find dependable volunteers to help in the classroom or with prep work. Show your volunteers how much they are appreciated by honoring them. Have a school-wide assembly to recognize your volunteers or host a volunteer breakfast, luncheon, or tea. At our school, each teacher donates a book to the library in honor of their volunteers. We make a bookplate that is placed inside the front cover with all of our classroom volunteers’ names. 

School-Wide BBQ
Our school has an end-of-the-year BBQ during lunchtime with barbecued hamburgers and chicken in the cafeteria. Families are encouraged to attend and lunch, picnic-style, with their children. Many of the teachers bring blankets to sit on and enjoy an afternoon outside with their students and their families.

Field Day
Field day occurs during our last week of school. Our PE specialists put together activities for all of our classes to rotate through. Some of the events are musical chairs, basketball toss, tug-of-war, Hula-Hoops, relay races, and parachute play. We invite parents to man the stations and our PTA serves Popsicles as a snack.

Ice-Cream Social
Our PTA has an end-of-the-year ice-cream social. We provide the ice cream and ask families to bring toppings. We also invite the incoming kindergartners and their families to join in

No matter how you end the school year, make it fun and memorable for your students. They are just as excited about summer break as you are. It’s hard to stay focused on science and social studies when you’re thinking about going to the beach or swimming after-school. 

What end of the year activities do you and/or your school have planned? 

Comments (4)

My class always gets antsy toward the end of the year and mistaken behavior tends to rise that las few weeks of school. Your ideas for theme days may be just what I need to implement to keep the students engaged and keep my sanity for those last weeks. Thanks for sharing!

Today I was just wondering how I could make next year's EOY more enjoyable and less frantic..."if I could only pace myself w/o cheating my students...hmmm..???" Your "Keep Calm and Countdown" saved me; it was just what I needed! Thanks so much.

I think this article is terrific! This has been a difficult year. Our school has had so many changes take place. Some good & some not So good. I recently witnessed a couple of teachers talking in the hallway about a Parent who has breast cancer. It was truly disturbing. I did not hear compassion in this conversation. Instead I heard diverse negativity, for the Parent & the Student. I thought maybe I'd misunderstood. So I confronted the senior teacher about it. She confirmed my first impression of the conversation. She began to talk to me about this Parent. Not saying what exactly what was said, I will describe it as outrageously disturbing! I asked if perhaps this Parent had ever caused any type of waves or complications. That wasn't the case at all. She was actually upset because the Student was having difficulty consecrating in Class & had missed quite a few days. This making her job harder. I was floored! I expressed my opinion, I told her in the future she should ask for my help. I'd be more than happy to assist in this type if situation. I wouldn't think twice about helping. In fact I would even offer this Parent & Student help through the Summer. This way in the Fall this Student wouldn't be So far behind academically. Well that was my biggest mistake. This teacher completely lost her temper with me. She told me to mind my own business. Wow! I didn't see that coming. I apologized for being a concerned Teacher. This has truly been sitting on my heart and I'm thinking of going to the Board about this. I just do not feel like this teacher should be gossiping in the hallway about anyone, to begin with. Second, if she talked to me in that harsh manner.... How does she treat her students. Not to mention this one in particular. This was totally uncalled for and I can't believe she's teaching in the same school as I am. Ugh!!! I think this is what they call "A Bully Teacher"

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