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May 20, 2016

End-of-School-Year Activities

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    The months of May and June signal the close of the school year. Even though across the country schools are on different opening and closing calendars, we have a common thread that runs through classrooms around this time: how to keep students engaged until the "school’s out for summer" bell rings. My many years of teaching have led me to the conclusion that keeping structure in the classroom is an absolute, but it must be tempered with a change of pace. Simply put, spice it up!

    The end of the year is an opportune time to flex your creative muscles and try some things that you may not have had the opportunity to implement during the year. It is also a great way to test the waters and work out the kinks for that strategy that you learned at a seminar and thought to yourself, “How will I ever get this to work in my room?” This year, as the year comes to a close, I am looking to bring some fun back into the classroom.

     


     

    Class Theme Selfie Photo Station

    Cat in the Hat (our classroom theme)

    Selfies are here to stay. My students love them. I wanted to incorporate this concept into my classroom and use it as an incentive at the end of the school day as we are waiting to be dismissed or for one of our school incentive days. I am fortunate to have very talented artists in my classroom who are willing to create the photo station using recycled materials. It is not quite finished yet. The prototype is completed. Take a look at the process.

     

    Step 1: Plan and draft the selfie photo board 

     

    Step 2: Add Color

     

    Step 3: Does it fit?

    Our resident artists Malinda and Victoria get first dibs!

    Even our Vice Principal, Mr. Solomon stopped by for a trial run!


     

    Minute To Win It

    This is such a great way to challenge your student’s creativity and problem solving skills. It also gets them up and moving. Students are presented with a task and must complete the task in the allotted time frame. In the past I have used:

    Air Card Challenge

    Materials Needed:

    • 4x6 index cards or any stiff paper using these dimensions

    • desks

    1. Determine how many students compete at a time

    2. Fold index card in half horizontally and place one on each desk

    3. Determine distance from desk each student must stand

    4. Using only their breath, students must topple the cards by blowing on them

    5. First person to topple all of the cards wins

    Here's our version of this task. My students are totally into it!

    Cup Challenge

    Materials Needed:

    • approximately 20 paper or plastic cups — one cup must be different from the rest to determine starting and ending points

    1. Each student receives a stack of cups

    2. Cups are to be restacked by placing the first cup (this is the cup that is different than the others) from the top to the bottom

    3. Continue the process until the first cup is back on top.

    4. First person to get to the first cup wins.

    And the winner is...

    We play rounds with these so that everyone gets a chance to participate. The winners of each round compete for the final winners.

    The beauty of Minute To Win It is that is can be modified for difficulty to serve all ages. Check out fellow blogger Brian Smith's take on this for his kindergarteners and blogger Lindsey Petlak's approach for her fourth graders. Take a look to see how they have adapted the challenges for their students.


     

    Theme Week

    (This is usually reserved for the last week of school. Students vote on the theme of the day.)

    Starting in reverse:

    Day Five

    Choose a Color: All students in your class wear the same color top.

    Day Four

    Sport Day: Wear a sports top that represents your favorite team. This could be from any sport or league — Pop Warner, Little League jerseys, etc. are acceptable

    Day Three

    Mismatch Day: Wear two different shoes (heel height must be the same!)

    Day Two

    Twin Day: Coordinate a similar outfit with a friend

    Day One: Last Day of School

    Sunglass Day: If weather permits, teach outside and students can wear their sunglasses.


     

    Oldies but Goodies (Indoor/Outdoor Activity)

    Simon Says: Quick game to get students refocused and following directions

    Beach Ball Toss: Write words on a plastic beach ball. Teacher says a word and tosses the ball to a student. (This is the one time when I allow students to sit on the top of their desk. This makes it easier to catch the ball.) Wherever the hands land on the ball, the student responds to the prompt written there. For example, you might write "parts of speech," "definition," "antonym," etc. on the ball. If the student catches the ball with hands on "definition" and "parts of speech they would have to give the definition of the word and say what part of speech it is.

    Seven Up: This helps to calm down and refocus after recess.

    Hangman: Great for vocabulary review in all content areas

    For additional suggestions for games, I go to playworks.org.

     Pearls of Wisdom Have some fun with these activities. Join in and reconnect with your inner child.

    For additional resources, please check out: these 73+ Great Ideas for May/June for some wonderful suggestions!

     

    The months of May and June signal the close of the school year. Even though across the country schools are on different opening and closing calendars, we have a common thread that runs through classrooms around this time: how to keep students engaged until the "school’s out for summer" bell rings. My many years of teaching have led me to the conclusion that keeping structure in the classroom is an absolute, but it must be tempered with a change of pace. Simply put, spice it up!

    The end of the year is an opportune time to flex your creative muscles and try some things that you may not have had the opportunity to implement during the year. It is also a great way to test the waters and work out the kinks for that strategy that you learned at a seminar and thought to yourself, “How will I ever get this to work in my room?” This year, as the year comes to a close, I am looking to bring some fun back into the classroom.

     


     

    Class Theme Selfie Photo Station

    Cat in the Hat (our classroom theme)

    Selfies are here to stay. My students love them. I wanted to incorporate this concept into my classroom and use it as an incentive at the end of the school day as we are waiting to be dismissed or for one of our school incentive days. I am fortunate to have very talented artists in my classroom who are willing to create the photo station using recycled materials. It is not quite finished yet. The prototype is completed. Take a look at the process.

     

    Step 1: Plan and draft the selfie photo board 

     

    Step 2: Add Color

     

    Step 3: Does it fit?

    Our resident artists Malinda and Victoria get first dibs!

    Even our Vice Principal, Mr. Solomon stopped by for a trial run!


     

    Minute To Win It

    This is such a great way to challenge your student’s creativity and problem solving skills. It also gets them up and moving. Students are presented with a task and must complete the task in the allotted time frame. In the past I have used:

    Air Card Challenge

    Materials Needed:

    • 4x6 index cards or any stiff paper using these dimensions

    • desks

    1. Determine how many students compete at a time

    2. Fold index card in half horizontally and place one on each desk

    3. Determine distance from desk each student must stand

    4. Using only their breath, students must topple the cards by blowing on them

    5. First person to topple all of the cards wins

    Here's our version of this task. My students are totally into it!

    Cup Challenge

    Materials Needed:

    • approximately 20 paper or plastic cups — one cup must be different from the rest to determine starting and ending points

    1. Each student receives a stack of cups

    2. Cups are to be restacked by placing the first cup (this is the cup that is different than the others) from the top to the bottom

    3. Continue the process until the first cup is back on top.

    4. First person to get to the first cup wins.

    And the winner is...

    We play rounds with these so that everyone gets a chance to participate. The winners of each round compete for the final winners.

    The beauty of Minute To Win It is that is can be modified for difficulty to serve all ages. Check out fellow blogger Brian Smith's take on this for his kindergarteners and blogger Lindsey Petlak's approach for her fourth graders. Take a look to see how they have adapted the challenges for their students.


     

    Theme Week

    (This is usually reserved for the last week of school. Students vote on the theme of the day.)

    Starting in reverse:

    Day Five

    Choose a Color: All students in your class wear the same color top.

    Day Four

    Sport Day: Wear a sports top that represents your favorite team. This could be from any sport or league — Pop Warner, Little League jerseys, etc. are acceptable

    Day Three

    Mismatch Day: Wear two different shoes (heel height must be the same!)

    Day Two

    Twin Day: Coordinate a similar outfit with a friend

    Day One: Last Day of School

    Sunglass Day: If weather permits, teach outside and students can wear their sunglasses.


     

    Oldies but Goodies (Indoor/Outdoor Activity)

    Simon Says: Quick game to get students refocused and following directions

    Beach Ball Toss: Write words on a plastic beach ball. Teacher says a word and tosses the ball to a student. (This is the one time when I allow students to sit on the top of their desk. This makes it easier to catch the ball.) Wherever the hands land on the ball, the student responds to the prompt written there. For example, you might write "parts of speech," "definition," "antonym," etc. on the ball. If the student catches the ball with hands on "definition" and "parts of speech they would have to give the definition of the word and say what part of speech it is.

    Seven Up: This helps to calm down and refocus after recess.

    Hangman: Great for vocabulary review in all content areas

    For additional suggestions for games, I go to playworks.org.

     Pearls of Wisdom Have some fun with these activities. Join in and reconnect with your inner child.

    For additional resources, please check out: these 73+ Great Ideas for May/June for some wonderful suggestions!

     

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Susan Cheyney

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