Ready to Wrap up the school year? Engaging Activities to Help End a Memorable School Year
Are you ready to wrap up the school year? The end of each school year is memorable, as it offers an opportunity to celebrate your students, reflect on favorite memories, and then take that much-anticipated deep breath that comes with the first day of summer vacation. This year, perhaps more than ever, there is cause for celebration. You and your students have embraced the challenges that teaching and learning during a global pandemic have thrown your way. You've all learned how to use new technologies and digital platforms for assignments. You diligently worked to create a sense of community and collaboration in the midst of "six feet apart" and "no hugs or high fives" guidelines. You did it! Now, it's time to celebrate. These engaging lesson ideas and activities will help you wrap up your school year and send your students off on summer break with the excitement and celebration you all deserve.
Depending on your district, you may be in a virtual, hybrid, or in-person learning situation. Regardless, there are powerful opportunities for end-of-the-year activities using technology.
Make Your Escape: Digital escape rooms are fantastic, engaging activities to use with your students. After starting with a prompt, students will solve a variety of puzzles and clues and ultimately make their escape. Much like physical escape rooms, students will collaborate and use critical thinking skills. There are several free escape rooms you can use with your students as well as options for building your own escape room.
Flipgrid Farewell: Flipgrid is a safe, free way for classmates to interact online. There are countless ways to use this tool in your classroom! As you look toward the end of the year, consider posting a series of prompts that focus on reflection. Ask students about their favorite memories from the school year or about their plans for the summer. Perhaps they want to offer advice to the next group of students or share their wishes for their own learning experiences.
Digital End-of-Year Book: This might be the school year with missing yearbooks, but that doesn't mean that students can't create a digital keepsake of their favorite memories. You can use a free Google Slides or PowerPoint template and have students upload images and photographs or record some of their most treasured moments from this school year.
Virtual Talent Show: The end of the year is a great opportunity to celebrate all of the unique students in your class and their many diverse talents. Why not host a virtual talent show? Invite your students to sign up and show off a talent they are most proud of. These can range from musical performances to dance numbers to comedic routines or even ear-wiggling! The possibilities are endless and so are the smiles the show will produce.
Math Minutes (and Fun!): Take advantage of the quick and engaging online math practice games. Your students can log in for quick math games. Students can track their time and progress through the levels while reviewing all the skills covered this year. Don't tell them yet, but your students will have so much fun playing that they might not even realize they're learning! This purposeful technology is a great way to keep students engaged as you continue to wrap up your end-of-the-year tasks.
Selfie Celebration: Invite your students to take a selfie and then post it on Google Slides or a similar platform. Then have the rest of your class take turns writing compliments about that student in the surrounding space on the slide. Once the slides are complete, you may want to consider printing them and sending each slide home with the celebrated student. What a great memento from a challenging year!
If your district is back on campus, there are additional end-of-the-year activities that you can use. Try a handful of these suggestions and let the countdown to summer begin!
Pick a Printable: Whether it's a memory book, a writing book, or compiling a list of summer learning activities, there are plenty of quick, customizable workbooks available for students of all ages.
STEM for Summer: You could have your students build a solar oven for s'mores or do the beach ball boogie to keep your students engaged in science even when summer is on their mind. STEM challenges like the wicked-fast water slide will keep students active and on-task as you wrap up the year.
Summer Job: While your students are too young for a real summer job, that doesn't mean they can't create a fictional one! Have your students work collaboratively and develop a fictional business plan. Perhaps they want to open an ice cream shop, a beach toy store, or a movie theater. The groups will need to come up with a business name and a business plan. What will they sell? What supplies will they need? What should they charge to make a profit? Take this activity a step further and allow students to set up shop right in your classroom. Invite other classes or students to visit the stores and see what kind of success each group can have.
Find a Friend Who... Many students enjoy signing each other's yearbooks, but this quick activity will give students another reason to circle the playground or classroom and look for special friends who meet specific criteria. This quick printable will have them chatting with friends as they sign their game card and recall special memories and connections from the year.
Build a Bucket List: Summer can be a great time for new adventures and growth. Encourage your students to build a bucket list. Use these 45 suggestions and have each student select 20 activities that they want to strive to complete. If time permits, they can research or plan the activities they want to try first!
Capture It in a Capsule: Gather up enough plastic water bottles so that each of your students can use one as a time capsule. Then invite each student to fill the bottle with strips of paper or mementos that identify what life is like in the next school year. How much is gas? What do kids do for fun? Additionally, this time capsule template can support students in recording their thoughts and ideas. Once complete, seal them shut and encourage your students to save them for their senior year of high school (or later!)
The end of every school year deserves a celebration. Whether you opt to use these suggested activities or your own tried-and-true favorites, take some time to reflect on all that you and your students have endured this year! Take time to laugh, smile, and celebrate another school year in the books! Then enjoy your summer! Take time to rest, recharge, and celebrate YOU!
Help parents by providing free summer skills review math books. Encourage and explain to parents that effective math practice will get their kids on the right track for the fall.