After state testing finishes, many kids (and adults) struggle to survive the last few weeks of school. Summer is coming and everyone knows it! Here are seven tips that will help teachers and kids have a positive and fun ending to the school year.
1. Assign end of the year projects. Kids love projects with a final result. One of my favorites is an End of the Year Time Capsule Project. Kids can select and bring in three items that symbolize important events, people, or places in their lives this school year. Then, they write essays detailing why each item is important to them. Best of all, this is an easy project to differentiate. You can have kids write longer or shorter essays, depending on ability level. Another option is to include fewer or more items that are meaningful for the school year. The end project is a time capsule in a shoe box that they can share and then bring home to talk about with families. Other options for end of the year projects include designing their own perfect school, creating a list of “must read” books, creating a class book of favorite class activities, and planning a pretend field trip to anywhere in the world.
2. Cut back on grading assignments. You can always give extra practice, activities, and projects without grading them all. Give yourself permission to reduce the amount of time you spend grading papers and entering those grades.
3. Assign organizing jobs to kids. Some students seriously love being given a job by the teacher. Use some of those students to help you organize materials that can be tidied and put away early. You will be happy that you got to it during the school year so you don’t have extra to do during the summer or on the first days back.
4. Plan a bulletin board that kids can help with. One of my favorite end of the year bulletin boards is a project that kids create for next year. That means the kids will be doing the bulk of the work while reflecting upon the school year, with the intent to leave it up for your next years kids. It’s just genius. Kids can write reflections on what fun activities they did this year, what advice they have for next year’s kids, how they felt challenged, what they did in each subject, and more. You can make your own or purchase the What We Learned Bulletin Board here.
5. Plan some fun downtime. Plan a movie afternoon. You can choose a movie aligned with something in your curriculum, or just make it a fun kid’s choice selection. Another alternative is having games centers that kids can play on their own. Games like Scrabble, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, and practically any other board games make perfect center activities. You can have kids play just for fun or answer a task card of your choice before taking a turn. These downtime activities also give you the time you need to correct assignments, finish reports, or get grades in.
6. Consider materials and resources for next year. It’s never too early to get a head start for next school year. While the year is winding down, I find it helpful to inventory what I have and what I need for next school year. Make a list and purchase some materials and resources if you find the time. You will thank yourself in the fall!
7. Get outside. Spend time doing a read aloud outside underneath a tree. Consider an outdoor scavenger hunt or take a nature walk that you plan to write about. Getting outside can be fun and give you the dose of sunshine that you need during the springtime months.
If you find yourself needing some fun materials, see what end of the year resources I have available to keep your kids going for the last few weeks of school!
Best of all, TpT is having a Teacher Appreciation Sale on May 9th and 10th, which is a great time to stock up on resources for the end of this school year and the beginning of next. To celebrate, I’m hosting a $10 TpT gift card giveaway below. Please enter to win! Good luck and happy shopping!