End of the Year Classroom Ideas

 

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and it is a chaotic time! You’ve got a million things to do and not much time to do it! But I know that you STILL want to make sure that these days are memorable for your students. I asked my awesome community to tell me what they do to keep the end of the year fun and they answered with a TON of amazing ideas! I know that you will find some great ideas in this list that you can implement in your classroom!

Even though there are some ideas that are similar to others, I’ve included all of them. Sometimes there are small variations that may work better in your classroom, and I wanted to give you as many ideas as possible!

 

CLASSROOM SWITCHES/MEET THE TEACHER/LETTER TO NEXT YEAR’S CLASS:

  • We do a “Meet the Teacher” day when next years class comes to meet the teacher and do an activity together.
  • I always have the students write a letter to the upcoming students. They include their favorite part of the year as well as tips to be successful. 
  • I enjoy having my students write letters to my future students. They practice writing in an authentic way. They discuss rules, routines, expectations, or anything they want. These letters are distributed to new students at the beginning of the next school year. This is a great activity for letter writing with an authentic purpose.
  • Our school also does a special class trade on the morning of the last day. Teachers each plan an activity and trade classes every half hour. It’s a lot of fun!
  • I enjoy writing letters to the upcoming class and having a summer send-off party where the kids get all kinds of stuff to do with their families. It gets local businesses, etc. involved, too.
  • Second grade does room rotations on the last day of school. Each room has a different activity for the class to enjoy. I have bowling, another teacher might have board games, etc.. The kids really enjoy going from class to class. Then after recess we clean the room and the desks with shaving cream. They REALLY like that!
  • On the last day, I ask my students to write a letter to a student who will be in my class next year to welcome them and tell them about some of the things they will be doing in my class. They address them to Dear Third Grader, or you can have them leave the name the blank and fill in names once you get your new class list.
  • I teach 6th grade. In the last days of school this write two letters. One is to the students in my class next year – these letters are then on the incoming student’s desks when they arrive on the first day of school. The other letter is to their future self, which I will be giving to them on the morning of their high school graduation, filled with their hopes and dreams and interests and hobbies.
  • We make a memory book since our school doesn’t do a year book. I also love the escape room you have!
  • Favorite Memories of the year Flipgrid activity – students each record their favorite memories and we watch them on the last day after our yearbook signing event.
  • We write a letter to our future end of 3rd grade self, seal it in an envelope, give it to Mom or Dad to give us in a year. We write a letter to our 3rd grade teacher that includes what made us successful in 2nd grade. Then we write a letter to the upcoming 2nd graders to tell them what to expect. The last 2 days we have science experiment day and the final experiment includes us cleaning the classroom so it doesn’t look like we were here.

 

FOOD RELATED:

  • We do “Read & Feed” and the kiddos can bring pillows, blankets & snacks while they read.
  • I usually have my kids make S’mores. We make our own ovens out of aluminum foil (they have to draw out their design and then shape the aluminum foil into an oven), place a graham cracker, mini-marshmallow, and piece of chocolate inside and loosely wrap it up. Do not put the top half of the graham cracker until after the “cooking”. Place the ovens outside in a sunny spot and let the solar heat cook the S’more. Open and enjoy.
  • Picnic lunch– we eat out of the cafe as a class and eat outside. I usually do it on the same day I do beach theme day, so we bring towels and sit outside!
  • This year we will be having a “camping day.” We’ll be using the camping math project and students will be able to bring sleeping bags and flashlights. We’ll end the day with real s’mores!
  • We always have an end-of-the-year breakfast on the second to last day of school (Our last day is always a 1/2day).
  • End of the year picnic lunch and celebration of learning with families.

 

MEMORIES/KEEPSAKES:

  • Compliment Graffiti (we pass a ‘graffiti page’ around the room for all kids to write a compliment for each of their classmates). The students just glow from excitement and warm fuzzies when they get their own graffiti page back!
  • We put our scrapbooks together to take home and share with parents.
  • We put together journals. Throughout the year we print out pictures at special events or activities. The students write about them during their center time. Then at the end of the year we compile them into a journal to take home as a keepsake.
  • End of year Memory Book and Student adjective wordles activity – I put a sheet on each students desk with their name on it. Then we scoot to each desk and add an adjective to describe each other. I take the lists and create a wordle for each student describing them i their classmates own words <3
  • Reflections and self portraits 
  • I provide pictures I’ve taken and students make a scrapbook sequencing their year. We use reading and writing skills!
  • I like to show my students some three words videos (inspiring message, fun memory etc. and then take a picture). I email these back to parents. In celebrating, we close our eyes and think of favorite moments to put on a GoogleDoc. I ask students to raise their hands if they have any and give some guiding questions. I tap students who have not raised their hand to be scribes at first then rotate.

 

FUN STUFF:

  • We make liquid sidewalk chalk paint (1 part cornstarch, 1 part water with a few drops of food colouring) and decorate the sidewalk in front of our school. Chalk paint is way cheaper and if you make lots, goes a lot further than regular chalk!
  • I teach a self contained classroom with 7th and 8th graders. For the last 3 years I have had a Tie Dye day (afternoon). I have it labeled as “We are dying for summer!”
  • I celebrate by placing a certain number of balloons (filled with fun activities) on a bulletin board. Each day I choose a student to pop the balloon to see what exciting thing we will be doing the next day. Some ideas are lunch with the teacher, sit where you want in class, etc. One of the items that I place into one of the final balloons is to tie-dye t-shirts. These shirts will be worn on our field trip and last day of school. We all sign the shirts too!
  • the last week we do something special each day such as one day of bubbles, one day of fun in the sun, (bring a beach towel, sunglasses, and a chapter book) to read and relax outside. Another day is outdoor fun. Kids and Teachers bring in sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, soccer balls, etc. Then there is board game day, (students bring in their favorite board game and students rotate around so they are able to play a variety of games). We sign autographs, some years we do ice cream sundaes. We do a lot of math and reading challenges. They love writing on their desks with Expo markers.
  • “Let’s Go Out with a Bang” balloon pop. Instead of putting activities inside, I put each student’s name inside one balloon. When popped, they become my “Student of the Day.” They are our line leader, we make a poster on chart paper about them with each student writing a note, and they get to be my special helper all day long. They love it and it creates excitement for all. I have students from last year that still have their charts about them hanging at their houses. 🙂
  • Our kids really love the ABC countdown! It keeps them engaged and gives them something to look forward to every day!
  • I love to make end of the year snowflakes. It’s hot outside so we crank the air conditioning down and I send a winter themed invitation to a snow party. I say come with jackets, hats and gloves. I borrow several fans and have my room super cold. Then we make snowflakes and have hot chocolate. We write a message to someone on it. It has to be a positive thing they gained from the person that year. The kids LOVE it and so do I.
  • We do 10 Days of Fun for the last 10 school days. We pick 10 (mostly free activities) and put one idea per balloon. Then each morning we pop a balloon and see what activity we have in store. Examples include, wear your hat indoors, no shoe day, art in the garden day, freebie with our buddies day.
  • Last 26 days, ABC count down. Every day has a different focus. Ex. A – Abracadabra Day (Teach the class a magic trick, and encourage students to be prepared that day with a trick who want to perform.)
  • We have a water balloon and popsicle day.
  • Our school does a school wide water fight!
  • We have an “everybody birthday party” students have to create decorations as well as earn “brownie points” to participate! It helps all those who have birthdays in the summer and those who didn’t get to celebrate with their friends! I also get my room packed up and moved out the way!!!
  • A motivational speech and a special gift for each of my grade 7 students. Normally a pen with their names on.
  • Elephant slime and Autograph Time

 

KEEPING IT EDUCATIONAL

  • A big decades project! Student driven and presented to parents.
  • STEM activities
  • Celebrating Cultures. Celebrate the different cultures we have in the US
  • Fractured Fairy Tales Readers Theater
  • have a book report that has to be a 2-3 minute commercial for the book they read. They need a simple costume (shirt, hat, sunglasses, etc.) and a prop (something they can hold in their hand). These items should be related to their book. Our goal is to give ideas for books for the rest of the class to read over the summer. They have about 3 weeks to prepare and we present the last week of school.
  • Wrap up the school year with students taking over the responsibilities of running the school for the remainder of the school year. They will prepare lessons, observe teachers, plan field trips. do all the things that principals, teachers custodians, cafeteria workers, and counselors perform daily. Do this by grade level.
  • I am currently tackling a much smaller version of the FutureCity competition project. I have students working in groups to build a model of a town that models sustainability and eco friendly innovations that they brainstorm as a group. It is my first year doing it (I am a first year teacher) so it involved a decent amount of planning initially but I think after one year of experience it will be a breeze to implement next year! I teach 8th grade life science and this is going to conclude our STEM unit. Also, I had guest speakers come in to present which was a great change of pace for both myself as well as my students.
  • I usually follow up a probability unit by having the students create their own board game. They have to build the board, write instructions/rules/etc. just like a real board game. They test out their own games to make sure they didn’t miss anything, then we spend the last week playing each others’ games. This is so much fun! Plus I get a math mark, writing mark, media mark, learning skills marks – it’s a win win situation!
  • We love to do an end of the year reflection! At the beginning of the year we do an activity found on teachers pay teachers that asks about favorites, what their goals are for the year, what they are most excited about, what they are nervous about, etc. Then, at the end of the year we have them do an activity similar to the first one but about reflecting on the year. We then pull out the beginning of the year activity and the students get to see how much they have grown, how much their hand writing has improved, if they met their goal, if it was a successful year, etc.
  • I like to do a small Interdisciplinary Unit (IDU). It shakes things up a bit by focusing on one theme and is different, so it keeps them engaged, at a time when they want to be anywhere but in school!!
UNCATEGORIZED
  • I do this 3 times a year and the kids LOVE it! The students start off by coloring the same clip art (I usually use a pumpkin, snowman, and kites).  After they are done coloring , they are to write about that object.  I tell them to use as many details as possible and to NOT put their names on the front of the object.  Then I tell them that the goal is that when everyone is done writing, the goal is that all their friends can figure out which object is theirs. Once everyone is done writing, I wait a couple of days (so kids forget if they saw what their friend drew/wrote).  I then hang up all of the objects on the board and number them randomly from 1-?.  Then, I read the writing to the entire class and the goal is that the kids can guess which object/number it is.  This kids quickly figure out that if they don’t add details, then their friends cannot guess which object is theirs.
  • I am having my students help me take things off the walls. They like taking out the staples and push pins. My students are also helping me go through supplies like markers, crayons, pencils, colored pencils etc. to see what is dry, and broken. Anything that can be used next year goes in a box everything else goes in a FREE box for the kids to take home.
CHALLENGES:

 

I also asked teachers what their biggest end of the year challenges are. There was an overwhelming amount of teachers who said, “keeping students focused,” “keeping students engaged,” “keeping students motivated,” or some variation of that.

 

If you are looking for a few fun resources for the end of the year, I’d love to help!

 

This “Trapped in the School for Summer” Escape Room has been getting rave reviews! It’s an easy-to-implement escape room, and focuses more on solving puzzles than specific skills like my other escape rooms do. That makes it perfect for the end of the year – low-prep, easy to implement, and super FUN! I recently added a couple of modified pages (addition/subtraction rather than multiplication) so that this can be used with Grades 2-5. See the end of the year escape room HERE.
Here’s another popular resource for the end of the year – a lapbook style memory book. Here’s what a couple of teachers have had to say about this:

 

“This is great! This not only helps keep students occupied during those last couple of days of school, but gives them a great keepsake to help them remember the highlights of their year. Thanks!”

 

“This was such a great activity for the last week of school! It was easy to put together and kept my students engaged and involved for several days. They loved thinking about their school year and deciding which activities they liked the best. Great idea, great activity!”

 

Lastly, if you’d like to do classroom awards at the end of this year, but want more than just “cutesy,” you’ll love these ones. I’ve developed these awards with growth mindset and character traits in mind. I wanted these to be meaningful for your students – something that they will cherish. I included space for a handwritten note which makes these extra special. The extra 30 minutes or so that it will take you to write the notes will be so worth it to your students. FIND THE END OF THE YEAR AWARDS HERE.

 

 

I hope you have a fantastic end of the school year and a restful summer!

 

If you have a great end of the year idea that might be inspiring to other teachers, I’d love to hear about it! Leave your comment below!

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