5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Yes, the countdown to the last day of school is on! We have worked hard all year preparing for this huge milestone. It will take a lot of energy for you to keep your classroom under control during the last few weeks of school. Everyone is ready for a break, so don’t be afraid to play! Join me as I share a few end-of-the-school-year activities that combine fun and learning.
During this time of the school year, it is very important to refresh student learning by integrating more fun into your lessons. For example, instead of having a traditional quiz, test your student’s knowledge in a game show format. Students also have more fun learning about things that are of high interest to them. During the last few weeks of school, I allow my students to brainstorm a list of topics they would like to learn more about. I try to incorporate as many common core standards as possible into their selected topics. Who would’ve thought that a topic such as ice cream could be so much fun and so educational? Read my Spring Fever post for additional strategies for keeping your students interested at this time.
Read the story Goodbye House by Frank Asch to your students. Have your students discuss Baby Bear’s feelings and their own feelings. Ask them to draw pictures of items and activities that they would like to say goodbye to before the end of school. I use each student’s work to create a “Goodbye, Classroom” book.
Have individual student-teacher conferences with each of your students. During this time, have your students reflect on and share what they have learned this school year. Ask questions like, “What did you like most about this class?” “What did you like least?” Don’t underestimate the responses you will get from your young learners. Honest feedback from questions like these can be very helpful when planning for the next school year.
Have a discussion with your class about what an autograph is. Talk about how collecting them will help everyone remember their friends in class. To save money I make these books by stapling several sheets of white paper together. I allow my students to decorate the cover. They look like little celebrities walking around the classroom getting their books signed by classmates.
Celebrate the end of the school year by hosting a class compliment party. It's very simple to implement: all you need are a few kind words! Have your students think about something they like about each of their classmates. During the compliment party, each student pulls a classmate's name and briefly describes their positive qualities. My students love to hear what their peers think of them.
This is a cute activity to use to end one year and help prepare for the next. Invite your students to leave behind a bit of advice for those who will follow in their footsteps. I have my children create “A Year in Kindergarten” time capsule. They each write and illustrate their favorite activity or most memorable moment of kindergarten. Next we gather each student’s work and place it in a container for the upcoming kindergarten students to enjoy.
You can wrap up your year of reading with an awards ceremony for favorite books. Come up with several different categories such as “Funniest Book.” Have your students nominate their favorite books for the awards. Set up a special shelf to display these award-winning books in your classroom.
Invite your students to bring books and games they enjoy from home for a full day of fun. To set up an atmosphere of comfort during our reading time, I allow my students to bring in a pillow, blanket, or stuffed animal. I also provide them with a small snack to enjoy while reading. During game time, students love spreading out all over the room playing various board games.
An end-of-the-year picnic has always been a favorite class activity of mine. To celebrate our hard work, each year I plan a picnic for students and their families. I like to incorporate some fun sports such as egg and spoon or sack races. The picnic provides a fun opportunity for candid snapshots of the your students, parents, and siblings as they enjoy the festivities.
For additional end-of-the-year activities, check out the Scholastic page "Wrap Up the School Year With a Strong Finish" and the Instructor article "Learning Up to the Very Last Minute." Scholastic also offers tons of great end-of-the-year printables you and your students will enjoy!
What end of the year activities do you have planned for your class? Please comment below!