Let’s face it, as the end of the school year draws near everyone’s energy begins to wane . . .including the teachers’. We all know that Summer is coming. Here are five tips for end of school year activities to help you end the year sane, and on a high note.
1. Take your learning outdoors
The outdoors can be a wonderful learning space for fun teaching ideas. One of my favorite spring activities is to hold our read aloud time outside under the shade of a tree. My students love it too. Same activities, new space. Science lessons are also great outdoors. Students can observe insects, clouds, or even make shadow clocks. For more ideas on outdoor science lessons click here. Just make sure you go over the ground rules with your students before you take them outside. Let them know that it is not recess, and they will be required to complete their work. Usually after students have completed the activity, I will give them a few extra minutes of recess. I only do this, however, if the original ground rules were followed.
2. Pick a fun unit to study with your class
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but by picking a fun end of the year topic you will become more engaged. You will also find that planning out your final days of the school year will actually be a breeze, because you and your students will have something you want to spend your time doing. When the teacher is more engaged, so are the students. This year my class is studying dinosaurs – young students LOVE dinosaurs. We are using my super fun dinosaur unit with all of the information we need. At the end, we are going to put together fun pop-up books. I recommend picking a unit with little prep, but highly engaging for the students.
My class ends each school year with a “Passport Program”. We invite family members into our class to present about countries they have visited or lived in. This unit is full of fun social studies lessons. The “passport program” works great, because our school is blocks away from a major University. As a result, many of our families are from other countries. Another topic of speakers may work better for your class, depending on the strengths of your families and community. Guest reader is a fun one I’ve seen in other schools. Whatever the topic, students love having their family member come into the classroom for a period of time. It is another great way to add healthy energy to the last days of school.
4. Use games for fun review Lessons
My class will be taking our NWEA tests soon, so we are in the process of reviewing a lot of the 2nd grade lessons they have learned this school year. Games can be a great way to build review in, without driving students crazy. I love the bingo games (place value bingo, antonym bingo, etc.). My class loves versions of “I Have Who Has”. You can even play a variety of “Around the world” games too. By changing the game, you can review a variety of material and still keep things fresh.
Another fun end of the school year activity is working with pattern blocks. My students love them, and it always calms them down. They especially love doing this at the end of a long spring day.
5. Memory books
Memory books are a great activity for the final week of school. There are many great free memory books online, and some amazing ones that you can purchase. Search for them on Pinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers. Once you find one that works for you, it can be used again and again. Students enjoy completing them, and they really are a great way to end the year on a positive note.
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the end of school year with your class. Keep your energy up, and positive. Your students will follow your lead.