Ideas For The Last Week Of School
I don’t know what the countdown is where you are but for us….
SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!
Man, we are ready for this school year to be over. We all could use a break.
You’ve worked really hard this year. You have risen to previously unforeseen challenges and had a successful school year.
You deserve a break – but school isn’t done yet. There are still a few weeks left of school, but you have finished your curriculum and end-of-the-year testing. What are you going to do in your classroom until school is out?
How do you keep the learning going when everyone – students and teachers – are ready for summer?
Here are some of my favorite ideas for the last few weeks of school!
Ideas For The Last Weeks Of School
Over the last school year, you and your students have created a little community. Your students have learned to rely on each other and you.
One thing to remember – no matter how your students have learned this year (in the classroom or online) your classroom has become a safe place.
It can be really tough for students to handle leaving your classroom. There are few activities you can do in your classroom to make the transition easier.
A great book to read to encourage and remind students of community is Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller. This story reminds students to help each other when they are struggling.
This group writing activity is easy and fun – and can be used over and over. Students begin a story, then pass it on for the next person to add to it. The story gets passed on multiple times – and they are so funny to read at the end. Even reluctant writers enjoy adding to these crazy stories.
Each student gets a brown paper bag and slips of paper. Then your students write encouraging notes to each classmate – anonymously! Now each student walks away with encouraging words from their friends!
BONUS: Write a note to each student and sign it so they know it is from you.
If you’ve taught in person, your students have spent the school year in your physical classroom. Now let them help you as the year closes!
Have Students Help Clean
Students LOVE to help clean and organize your classroom. Each day can focus on a different section of the classroom to clean and organize. Don’t forget about those desks, cubbies, and pencil boxes!
You can also decide an area as a “FREE” space. Some students like to hold “school” at home (yes, I have even had older students who told me they did this with siblings.) Anything you no longer want and is kid appropriate, put in that area for students to take. Offer teacher materials to other teachers.
Do you have a small library in your classroom? Choose a few students to alphabetize your books! Depending on your grade level, this can really challenge your students!
You and your students have worked really hard this year. We’ve all overcome a lot of challenges, both emotionally and academically.
As the school year ends, find ways to celebrate growth in your students (and you!).
Celebration of Learning Final Exam
I read once about a college professor who took their final exam in a classroom that was decked out in decorations and food. Their class party was the same day as their final exam!
The professor found that students who tested in a class full of decorations tested better than other classes did.
Remind your students that this final test is a celebration of all they have learned. For an easy treat/reward to give your students, use my Treat Tags – just print, add a treat, and give to students.
One thing I loved to do was to have students look back on a portfolio of their work and celebrate the growth that occurred. (Just be careful when you do this that there is no teasing.)
Celebrating students by identifying a strength is a nice way to recognize students at the end of the year. I believe every student has positive qualities that make them special. I avoid “awards” that are jokes, because kids often don’t take them as jokes – and they are often painfully remembered when they are adults. When I taught older students, I had them vote for the awards, too – and they often recognized traits in their classmates that I hadn’t always noticed.
I made two sets of awards that can be used to uplift your students and help them see how they are special. Parents and students often cherish these easy acts of recognition.
Students have been cooped up in reviewing and testing. They are so ready to have a break! Start the break early by getting your class outside.
Team Building Games
Team-building games are a great way to keep your classroom community strong as the year ends.
Group Jump Rope is a fun game to play! All you need is a super big jump rope and two adults for the ends of the jump rope. Having more than one student jumping encourages teamwork and communication!
Forehead Dots is a game that challenges students to communicate nonverbally. Each student gets a colored dot on their forehead. Students then have to figure out what color their dot is without speaking. The color that finds themselves in a group first wins!
Tag Team is like the traditional tag game, but with a twist. Instead of one “it” you have two “its” who work together to tag. Both students who are “it” have to tag someone for them to be out.
Celebrating The Last Week Of School Virtually
Many teachers have taught virtually this year. How are you going to celebrate your class without them in your physical classroom?
Plan A Dress Up Day!
Choose a fun theme that everyone will be interested in and take a fun “class photo”!
What is your favorite end-of-the-year book? Read it to your class! Who says you have to be in a physical classroom?
Class Awards PowerPoint
Make a PowerPoint version of your class awards and virtually present them! Then later you can send the printed version in the mail (what kid doesn’t love mail?!)
What are you planning to do for the last week of school? I’d love to hear your ideas! Comment below to let us know!