End of year activities
The end of the school year has always created a ton of mixed emotions for me. As much as I want to start my summer break, saying good-bye is hard! I just got them where I want them, and now I have to send them on to 2nd grade. That’s tough!
And I don’t think it’s any easier for them. They know summer is coming, but I’ve found that the kiddos that I finally “Got under control” start really acting out the last few weeks of school. I think it is in part because they are going to miss the structure. That’s just my thoughts!
just a tip
Keep everything as NORMAL as POSSIBLE! A few years back, my administrator only gave us 2 days to pack up our classroom for the summer! I still have bad thoughts about her because of that! (I’m pretty serious!!)
I was always that teacher who didn’t start packing up my room (for the most part) until CUM Folder day (the day AFTER the last day of school). I felt that I wanted to keep things as normal as possible until my kiddos were gone. Anyway, when my administrator said that we had two days in the faculty meeting, I know that every person in the cafeteria turned to look at me! HAHA! TRUE STORY!
when admin doesn’t get it!
Anyway – she told us that we only had 2 days, and that we should have the kids help us pack up the classroom. To EACH HIS OWN… BUT THAT WAS THE WORST THING EVER FOR ME! I was stressed, the kids were stressed, the stuffed animals were stressed! IT WAS BAD! Not real sure where she came up with that idea – but obviously… well – I won’t go there!
My tip – if you can – WAIT! Enjoy those babies. Read the books that were your favorite throughout the year. Read the innovative books that you guys made throughout the year. Watch the video that you created for Parent Appreciation Day, or at least look through all of the pictures that you took throughout the year. Let students play their favorite centers. Do the things that will help them remember all of the fun times in your classroom. A day or two into your summer isn’t going to hurt anybody – and for me – those were quiet days of going through, throwing out, and decluttering which were great for my soul. Then I could actually close my classroom door on the way out, and truly ENJOY my summer break!
Make sure that you have some type of memory book or some way for the students to write down all of the wonderful things that happened in your classroom throughout the year. I believe that it helps them, and it surely helps you so that you have something meaningful for them to do, that keeps them engaged and thinking! It’s also a great way to reflect – there are so many things that happen in a school year, jogging our memory of those wonderful, funny, crazy events is a good thing.
End of year activity #1
Who doesn’t love a cute flip book? Students create this flip book and then we hang it outside of our classroom the last few weeks of school. Students get to write about their teacher, 3 favorite things, funny stories that happened throughout the school year, and other information about them. Super cute and a great “memory keeper”!
End of Year Activity #2
Oh my gosh! This one was a HUGE success!! I had my students write to the FUTURE students of Room 109. They got to tell them all the great things that will happen in 1st grade (also created for 2nd grade teachers). They absolutely loved feeling like the experts… and even better than that – the incoming students loved it as well! AND SO DID THE PARENTS!
I hung these for Meet and Greet (where parents and students come before school starts to meet me, see their classroom, and drop off school supplies). As tensions are a bit high during this time; the parents and students loved being able to read from other students just how exciting our year will be. Once Meet and Greet was over, my last year students were able to grab their flip book and add it to their memory portfolio.
End of Year Activity #3
So… as things evolve, (distance learning and hybrid) I created this digital Memory Book to fit the needs of some teacher friends. It’s SUPER easy to use and to add pictures. There are already “Holes” in the places where you would add pics, so no cropping or distorting. All students need to do is drag picture onto their slide, resize, and send to back! It’s super easy. (or all you need to do) When they want to add text – all they need to do is double click in the text box and start typing. These are so much fun and a great way to end the year. The last few days – have students present on your board sharing their memory book with all of their classmates.
There are also tons of editable slides for you and for your students to add their own captions.
END OF YEAR PORTFOLIO
At the beginning of the school year, we would take a poster board and fold it in half. (for each student) Students then decorated this the first week of school. I always printed out a sheet that said, “So and So’s 1st Grade Portfolio”. Once they decorated their poster board, I kept them in our closet for the entire year. We always displayed student work inside and outside of our classroom, but once those writings were taken down, I would put them in a big plastic drawer that I had under my computer table. At the end of the school year, we would put all of those fabulous writing activities into our First Grade Portfolio.
When parents came for Parent Appreciation Day, that was one of the things that they looked through with their child, and then they brought it home as a keepsake. Allowing time for students to go through their writings as you are placing them into the portfolio is another way for students to see how they have grown throughout the year.
Do you want to have some fun the last few days with digital escapes? Ya’ll!!! The students absolutely love them, and it is a great way to review tons of skills taught throughout the school year.
My digital escapes are housed on Boom Learning, but you only have to use the fast pin (the free account). Students work together to help our classroom mascot, Monty, who always seems to get into a bit of trouble. These are fun, engaging, and your students will be begging for more.
Here’s my end of year ones:
MY LAST TIP…
This is my last and probably my go-to EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR! IF ALL ELSE FAILS…
I can’t even begin to tell you how that sooths my soul. We read new ones, old ones, silly ones, and ones we created as a class. Many many times students come back to me and sit on my rug and say, “This was my favorite place to be.” If that doesn’t tug on your heart strings…
Good luck to ending your school year. I’d love to hear how it went… after all the craziness ends, after you have had a few weeks to recouperate – I’d love to hear from you!
We Are Better Together