As the end of the year approaches, teachers are looking for new ideas! Students deserve a fantastic celebration for all the learning they accomplished. I’ve tried many different end of the year activities over the last 20+ years. So, I am excited to share my more successful ones!
End of the Year Memory Shirts
For this activity, students will bring in an older t-shirt. I usually grab a few extras at the Dollar Store for students who forget. Then, slide some cardboard inside the shirts and ask students to write their names using Sharpies or fabric crayons in the middle. Students will pass their shirts to the right so their peers can write their names or draw a small picture somewhere on the shirt. When students get their shirts back, they will be covered with all their friends’ names! This is an excellent end of year keepsake.
This technique also works with other items such as fabric bags, inflatable beach balls, or pillowcases. Honestly, this is such a fun activity!
Balloon Pop Countdown
To prepare for this activity, teachers need Post-it notes and balloons. They will write a special activity on several Post-it notes. Then, they will roll the notes into a tight cylinder so that the sticky end seals it closed. After this, slip the cylinder into a balloon. Fill the balloon with air and pin it to the wall.
Students choose which balloon to pop each morning and read the activity hiding inside. This is very exciting – students love to anticipate what the special event might be!
Some ideas: pajama day, “music while we work,” extra play time, and a movie day.
Class Memory Quilts
Each student gets one piece of colored paper to draw and write about their favorite memory from the school year. Once completed, pieces are glued together in a grid to make a class quilt. We hang the quilt on the wall or the hallway to show it off. We also take a photo of the quilt and email it to parents so students can keep it or even print it out for their own copy!
When planning end of the year activities, this is an excellent one to remind students of their phenomenal year!
End of Year Video
I used to make an end of year video and burn 23 CD copies. Now, most of my students don’t have CD players, so I’ve switched to posting the video online. Teachers can upload the video to a private Youtube or SafeShare channel, or on a password-protected teacher blog page. Student privacy is a primary concern, so use the preferred method at your school. Then, just send the link and password to parents through email, and they can watch fun events from the year!
Honestly, there are many different video options! I’ve made simple photo collages with music in the background. I’ve also recorded and compiled short clips of students talking about what they want to be when they grow up. I used iMovie to compile the clips, but any movie editing software will do.
The best part about hosting the video online is that they can easily share the link with grandparents and family friends!
Teach the Teacher
This is a NO-PREP activity for the teacher, but still educational and interactive for students! Students can choose any topic they are an expert in: a sport, musical instrument, Pokemon, a hobby, or even current events. They will put together a presentation to “teach the teacher.” This means they will present information to you and the class in any format they choose. The format could be a poster, a speech, a slideshow, drawings, or even just taking questions from the group.
Take it Outside
If possible, spend lots of time outside with various end of the year activities. For example, we have a water balloon fight and relay each year on the main field. Usually, several classes participate, and usually, everyone wants to drench the teachers! Or, go on a scavenger hunt around the field, playground, or forest. You can also keep it simple and take books outside so students can find a quiet place to read in the sunshine.
If you can’t go outside, then stay in and create some fun Memory Books! Honestly, this is a fantastic way to reflect on the past year. There are tons of topics to help students reflect. This includes our funny memories, what we learned, field trips, and letters to our future selves. Students will also write about plans for the summer, complete teacher report cards, and other fun things. It takes most of the last week or two to complete this book with different daily topics.
Students will love reflecting on the amazing year while working on end of the year activities.
Be sure to check out the Memory Books and Editable Certificates Bundle! There are tons of certificates to ensure there is the perfect one for each student! Students will love making their memory book and having their hard work recognized.
Growth Mindset Certificates
We always work hard to create a Growth Mindset classroom throughout the year. We have Growth Mindset posters, journals, and even STEM activities. So when it comes to their end of year certificates, it makes sense for us to use Growth Mindset-themed certificates!
We celebrate students’ accomplishments in problem-solving, accepting challenges, being educational risk-takers, and being patient. We also celebrate character traits such as being kind, including others, and being a positive role model.
You can see the set we use each year below. It’s editable, so I can add my titles and personal messages!
While planning end of year activities, teachers want students to have fun and be proud of all they’ve accomplished. Thankfully, this list of amazing activities ensures there is something for every classroom!
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