We’re so eager for summer, we sometimes forget about all the things we have to do for the last few weeks of school, one of which is celebrating a successful year with our students. For those of you who didn’t have a great year, it’s time for you to rejoice, you never have to see this group of kids again, at least not in your classroom. So sit back, have a Margarita, or something else you love and breathe a sigh of relief.
When that last day comes around, we’re elated, and yes, a little wistful, and the kids feel the same way….buuuut they’re also quite excited and hyper, it’s the end of the year after all. We know we have to come up with some groovy ideas to give them a great send off, all while maintaining our sanity. This post has just what the doctor ordered to help make this final day memorable for everyone, including you.
The idea is to create less work for you and something for the kids to do. You could have science demonstrations, art activities, board games, PE games, there are loads of possibilities. The kids, especially if they’re older, can plan to do these activities with their peers. You can sit back and take a little breather.
Speaking of board games, one year, about a week or two before the last day, I had my collaborative groups pick an area in history that we studied and design a board game. When the last day of school arrived, we set up each game in a different area of the classroom, every group would play for 20 to 30 minutes and then move on to a different game. This kept them busy until it was time to change classes. Very little stress for teacher.
If you’re going to have food, put the kids in charge and enlist help from parents. Plan on having the party sometime in the afternoon, if they get a sugar high, no worries, they’ll soon be going home.
Kids love to sign autographs so they can either bring in an autograph book, or have them design their own, ahead of time. You might also have them bring in shirts to autograph with permanent markers. You should bring one in too, great memories, especially if you’ve fallen in love with your class. This will help the time pass a little quicker.
Another thing I did one year, was to have them write welcome notes for the incoming class. Since this was 6th grade, and middle school, I had each kid write a personal note with the 5th grader’s name on it. They told them some of the ins and outs of middle school, as well as what they liked about it, I stressed that it was important to keep things positive. Notes were collected and taped to each desk at the beginning of the following year. A variation of this might be to have students draw a picture and write a description of what they think the future students will like best about the grade, the teacher, or the classroom. Instead of taping these to desks, you could use them as a bulletin board.
How about a stroll down Memory Lane with a “memory clothesline.” Have your class decorate and write their favorite school-year memory on T-shirt shaped cut outs from oak tag or cardboard. At the beginning of the new school year, use clothespins to hang them on a rope that stretches from one end of your room to the other. What a great way to welcome your new class and make them feel at home. Annnd better yet, one less thing for you to do when you return after summer vacay…
Last but not least, you and your kids could come up with a theme for the end of the year. It might be a beach party or a camping day. Brainstorm with your students, I’m sure they’ll come up with some creative ideas. If they decide on camping for example, they could bring in sheets to drape over the desks like tents, flashlights to create shadow figures under the sheets, a fake fire to put in the middle of the classroom, and ingredients to make s’mores. Don’t forget the spooky stories. If they’d prefer a beach party, have them bring beach towels to sit on for a beach themed lunch and have them think about beach crafts they might enjoy creating, games people play at the beach, or anything else that’s appropriate. The sky’s the limit…
Most importantly, have fun, this is the last time you’ll be together as a little family. Have a wonderful summer filled with relaxation, fun and much happiness.
Looking for more last day of school ideas? Listen to our soon to be published podcast with my teaching BFFs from We Teach So Hard.
Memorial Day is next week. Honor our veterans with this resource. Click image below.
End of the year Awards with Growth Mindset Quotes…A great way to reward all of your students. Click image below.
This post is part of our Teacher Talk Blogging Collaborative. Click on the links below to find out what these fabulous educators have to say.