By Teachers, For Teachers
The end of the school year should be a time to reflect upon the year, and reminisce about everything that took place. It should be filled with fun classroom activities that students can to do together. Here are a few classroom activities to help you wrap up the school year.
A fun way to help students remember their classmates is to make a classroom memory board. All you need for this classroom activity is a class photograph, and a large piece of cardstock paper. Have students glue the photograph in the center of the paper and have their classmates autograph around the photo. This is a great keepsake that students will be able to cherish forever.
One of the unique, end-of-school-year classroom activities is to have students fill out a positive words sheet about each of their classmates. There are a few ways that you can do this. First, have students anonymously write a few positive words about each of their classmates on sheet of paper that has one student’s photograph on it. For example, each student would create a memory keepsake photograph like the one mentioned above, but for this activity the picture would be of just one student, and not the entire class. The students would then pass around their own picture and students would anonymously “Comment” positive words around their classmate’s picture.
Another idea is to have each student write out positive words form about their classmates. Students would write a few nice words (kind, smart, friendly, funny, nice) about each of their classmates in no specific order. Then the teacher would compile the list of nice words for each student and put it together in into something like this: “Below are all of the positive words that your classmates said about you. As you read each word carefully, know that you have what it takes to do great things in life.”
Many classroom teachers like to give their students a summer packet to help them continue their education over the summer months so they won’t lose any knowledge that they learned throughout the year. The problem with a summer packet is that many students (and parents) forget to do it each day, and end up doing it all in one sitting before they must turn it in to the new teacher. A vacation calendar is a better option than a summer packet, because the calendar is filled with fun, educational activities that students can do each day of the summer. These activities are short and simple and will only take a few minutes. For example, search the newspaper for ten words that rhyme with “Pie,” or write a journal entry about what you did yesterday, read a few pages of a book under a tree, or write a song about the summer while eating a Popsicle. This is just a fun way to keep students learning all summer long.
A fun way to get your students writing is to have them write letters of advice to the students that will be entering your classroom the following school year. As a class, think of ideas and topics that the new students would benefit from hearing about, like what topics they will learn, what the class schedule is like, what field trips they will go on, etc. Then have each student write a letter of advice and knowledge with the specific areas that you brainstormed together. Students can then peer edit the letters and type their final copies. The last step is for students to decorate the outside envelopes (this part is for the younger students). Finally, save the letters for the students that come in next fall, or give them to the students if you have a meet-and-greet with them before the school year.
A creative way to wrap up the school year is to have students create a class yearbook. While many schools already have a school yearbook, a class yearbook is a more personal way to commemorate the year, because the students will have created it together as a class. For this activity, challenge each student to create their very own page for the yearbook. On their own personal page, they can write, draw, add pictures, or decorate it as they wish as long as they have their name on it and a picture of themselves. Once all of the students have completed their page, you can color photocopy all the pages and put it together so each student will have his or her own yearbook. You can use the original pages to create your own teacher copy of the class yearbook for your own bookshelf. It’s a tangible keepsake that students can cherish for years to come.
These hands-on end of school year classroom activities will make wrapping up the school year engaging and fun. Moreover, it will allow students time to celebrate, create and share wonderful memories and keepsakes with their classmates that will be able to cherish for a lifetime.
What are you favorite classroom activities to end the school year with your students?
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master’s of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.