1–Give Whole Class Rewards For Meeting Goals During the Last Days of SchoolOne of the ways I keep my students from going crazy at the end of the school year is with whole class rewards. I ask students to list possible rewards and treats they would like for meeting certain goals. I’ve taught second and fourth grade, and students typically want things like:
- Sit anywhere we want
- More time on the IPADS
- Extra recess time
- No homework pass
2–Incorporate Choice Boards with CentersAnother end of the school year idea that keeps students engaged is using choice boards with different center options. I try to keep the rigor and routine flowing with my literacy centers, but I jazz them up by adding different game ideas that students get to choose. Choice boards are great because they help students build independence. Plus, students want to have more choice during these last days of school, so they are motivated to stay under control. Anything engaging AND motivating is a winner in my book during the end of the school year when my “teacher-patience-tank” is running low!
3–Complete End of the School Year Memory BooksAhhh…the sweet walk down memory lane! Another last day of school activity is to have students complete end of the school year memory books. Throughout the school year, I take tons of pictures of my students. Then I use a free app on my phone to get them developed without cost. All I have to pay is shipping. I give these pictures to my students for their end of the year memory books, which I print on sturdy cardstock and use one of these to hold the book together. It’s fun to watch my students turn into little “scrapbook” champions creating their memory picture books!
4–Keep Your Students Moving with Classmate Scavenger HuntsStudents of all ages have the “wiggles” during the final weeks of school. You can stress yourself out trying to keep them completely still and quiet all day, or you can flow with their busybodies by incorporating more movement into your lessons. I use class scavenger hunts like to get them out their seats in a productive way. It encourages collaboration, gives them chances to move and talk, plus it doesn’t involve any teacher prep! Click the image here for your Free download. No email address required. Direct link to the freebie!
5–Have an End of the Year School Balloon CountdownI will admit, I didn’t think my students would stay calm with this one. I assumed the loud balloon pops would make them act crazy. Boy, was I wrong! This balloon countdown works like a charm. Here’s what you need:
- Colorful Balloons
- Sharpie Markers to Write Numbers on the Balloons
- Small strips of paper to stuff inside the balloons
6–Make a Summer Bucket List TogetherAnother way I keep students engaged during the final days of school is with Summer Bucket Lists. This idea also works well to help students reflect on how the year went and how they can do better moving forward. I also practice what I preach! While students are making their Summer Bucket Lists, I also make mine with them. It really helps your kids to see that you are also engaged in the end of the year activities.
Have Fun with Your Students!!Every year I am amazed at how fast the school year goes by. The days especially fly into summer once testing is over. No matter how rough the year started or progressed, I feel that bittersweet feeling as my kids are packing up and walking out the door for the last time. It’s important to not only leave a positive impression on them for their year with you, but it’s also important for you to be mentally and emotionally healthy as you end another year of teaching. So have fun!! It will be over before you know it.
I’m sure you have wonderful ideas too for ending the school year well and keeping things from going crazy! Please comment below with your suggestions for the end of the year.Let’s transform learning beautifully together!