Happy End of the School year! The last days of school can be the most fun, memorable days of the year. This year has been a doozy! We are finally at the planning for the end stage of the game. If anyone deserves an exciting, fun send-off, it’s this year’s students. But, how can that be accomplished while also staying safe? Some things might need adapting but you can still plan engaging end-of-the-year fun!
Last Days Countdown
I love to get my students super excited using a countdown. There are a lot of ways to visually represent counting down. I always wanted to do balloons but didn’t trust my ability to keep that many balloons afloat for that long. So, I stick with a countdown chain. We pull off one link each day to reveal what the next day’s fun will be! It doubles as a behavior management tool because I pick a student who has exemplified excellence that day.
And while I LOVE the idea of balloons, I am a little too lazy to follow through with keeping them afloat for so many days so I went with a paper chain instead.
In my first year of teaching, to build excitement, I wrote the reward on the inside of the chain link in a white crayon. Then, I chose one student who had an *outstanding* day to rip it off and color over the “secret message” with a marker to reveal the reward. I might’ve also forced them to do this in rainbow color order. This was fun but I kept forgetting what day was coming up next and ended up taking them apart and trying to read white crayon to figure out what I needed to prepare for the next day (I should’ve just written the order down for myself somewhere… #hindsight #firstyearteacher)
This year, I printed out the chain links on Astrobrights. The pretty paper makes everything more fun!
End-of-the-Year Activity Ideas
- Kickball Tournament: Challenge other classes to a kickball tournament. We always do this with all 5 second grade classes. To avoid drama (because kickball seems to stir it up), one of the teachers is the pitcher. Sometimes we spread this over two days.
- Be the Teachers: Have your students plan and teach a mini-lesson reviewing something they learned from the school year. Give them prep time and partner them up if possible. You could brainstorm topic ideas and teaching strategies together as a class.
- Sidewalk Chalk: I grabbed some sidewalk chalk from 5 Below for just a buck! You could pair this with academics and have students practice their math facts or spelling words.
- Beach Day: Students bring in a towel and sunglasses to lounge while they work for the day. You could put on some beach sounds in the background.
- Stuffed Animal Day: Students bring in their favorite stuffed animal.
- Movie: If you need to tie this to academics, have them compare and contrast the book and the movie or two characters.
- Flashlight Day: We do almost EVERYTHING in the dark with flashlights (regular and finger-sized). You can read more about our day here.
- Game Day: This is my favorite! We play Jeopardy, Kahoot, Rock/Paper/Scissors, Sparkle and Around the World. This year, I will add in Digital Memory Games and EOY Interactive Games!
- Awards Day: I save this one for our final day. Our last day of school is always SUPER short (like less than 2 hours…I don’t get it.) So I roll out the red bulletin board paper carpet, read No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher’s Dirty Looks (Ha! It’s the perfect last day read!) and hand out these free certificates to my students.
- Bubbles and Bubblegum: Students can play with bubbles out at recess and enjoy chewing some bubblegum during a lesson.
- Freeze and Read: Enjoy a popsicle while you read outside. I always grab the cheap freeze pops from The Dollar Tree. In past years, we used this as our wrap-up activity with our 1st grade Book Buddies. In the future, I’d add a game of freeze tag, too!
- Picnic Lunch: Bring some blankets and eat lunch outside.
- Paper Airplanes: Check out this website for making paper airplanes. Students make paper airplanes and we test them outside with a friendly competition
- Slime Day: Develop the perfect slime recipe and try it out!
- Jokes Day: Read, write, and share jokes all day.
- Virtual Field Trip: Check out these free virtual field trip options
I hope you can find some new ideas for activities to include during the end of the year! Need some more ideas?
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Happy almost summer break teaching to you!