End of the Year activities
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame

Veteran teachers know well the difficulties that the last weeks of school present. The student’s minds are set for vacation, grades are essentially earned and recorded, the summer heat becomes a distraction, books have to be collected, examined and supplies ordered. Adding to those problems are the fact that many schools want you packed and ready to vacate your room for cleaning or having to move to another location and the now frequent task of attending retirement parties and looking for summer employment and you have a high level of potential stress.

Remembering that closure is a learning experience, teachers might consider having the students organize their notes and review what they have learned in the form of play or a scrapbook. In addition, you might have them make a prediction about their future and place it in an envelop with their name and address on it. A few years later you can mail it to them. Of course, some have moved but many find the letters a great way to rekindle past memories and remotivate themselves.

Here are some unique ideas for end of the school year activities. Although many may be considered too youthful for high school, they can be easily modified for those students by simply adjusting the materials. For example, a high school English student could write a poem about their future using the style of one of the individuals whose work they studied. A history student could write a fictional account of a leader of the future based on the character traits of those that were studied. Even physical education classes could find the students developing dances for the future on a planet with limited gravity. In other words, if the students are motivated the end of the year can be a large, organized, and relaxed time.
The following are good ideas for all grade levels:
Creative ways to have the student recall what they learned.
http://www.teachnet.com/lesson/seasonal/reviews060299.html

Make puzzles about the students’ names
http://www.puzzlemaker.com/

Create a Guinness Book of Records based on the past year. Have the student write about what they learned in terms of records such as longest research project, most talkative student, best math student, most pencils sharpened…..
http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/

An article about ideas for the end of the school year that you can use to motivate students.
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson184.shtml

Five end of year activities
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson268.shtml

Teacher submitted ideas
http://www.theteacherscorner.net/seasonal/endofyear/index.htm

End of year T-shirts
How to make them
http://www.teachnet.com/lesson/art/tshirts052199.html

12 Ideas to keep them reading
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson057.shtml

Create best of books by having the students compile lists such as most endangered animals, fastest runners, largest people…
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson083.shtml

Memory books, summer goals, posters
http://www.abcteach.com/directory/theme_units/month_to_month/f_june/end_of_school/

Make a time capsule about what the students learned this year. You might even consider making it an individual time capsule.
http://www.lessonplanspage.com/OLAMDTimeCapsule-1stDayEndIdeaK6.htm

Dealing with your own end of the year stress
http://712educators.about.com/cs/testingstress/a/stress.htm

Make an end of the year memory poster
http://lessonplanspage.com/oendofyearclassmemorybookandpostercontestideamo-htm/

Mainly primary/elementary ideas on Pinterest

Random teacher ideas
A summer safety poster
Make your own autograph books
Writing an ode to the classroom
Writing a letter to next year’s class
Making a memory or scrapbook to use next year.
Create a words of wisdom poster for next year’s students
Write a letter to their teachers for next year
Have the students use a large sheet of butcher paper or bulletin board paper to list what they learned this year by writing the lesson on the timeline
Create a play that tells the story of the year.

Finally, make sure you use all that student energy to help you clean and prepare the class for the next year.

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