These two engaging end-of-year activities are not typically done in the classroom but could be just what your students need!
Sometimes I feel like the end of the school year is one crazy mess.
I am running around trying to get final assessments done while also checking my standards list…while ALSO participating in the end-of-the-year activities the school has in place.
It’s a crazy time and because it is crazy, I feel like I watch my students leave my classroom like a sleep-deprived, over-worked mother, running after her child in the morning with a half-put-together ham and cheese sandwich…”Okay! Have a good day sweetie!”
Only in this case, I am handing my students their final scores, papers, crafts, and a quick pat on the back as they leave for the summer…”Okay! Have a good summer! It was a joy having you in class!”
(Me continuing to shout down the hallway)
“Make sure you read throughout the summer!”
“GOOD LUCK NEXT YEAR!”
Ha! You get the picture, right?
What if we reframe our thinking and spend our last week of school focusing on the fun memories of the previous year…or better yet, skills or tasks that help prepare students to CONTINUE learning and ACCOMPLISH goals throughout the summer?
Read on to learn about the two end-of-year activities I enjoy doing with my students…
End of Year Reflection Activities
How often does the school make time for students to reflect on the previous year? Most schools have a yearbook of some kind and maybe an assembly showcasing some of the school’s successes.
But maybe for some students, it can be more simple than that. What if we asked students to simply reflect on one class.
- What was your favorite lesson? Why?
- What is your craziest memory from class?
- What was your biggest accomplishment?
Sometimes these types of questions alone can do so much for a student. It encourages them to focus on little successes they have had while also guiding them to recognize their favorite topics, favorite subjects, or specific people who had major influences on their learning.
The Sparkly Notebook offers this End of Year Reflection Activity bundle which could help you incorporate reflective lessons into your last week or two of class. Not only do students reflect on their own experiences, but tend to provide excellent feedback to the teacher as well.
For me, I have learned which of my lessons were most popular amongst my students, which lessons offered the most opportunity for accomplishment, as well as some of the silly, small details that students enjoyed most about my class. We also spent a good amount of time reflecting (and handing back all the things) that I didn’t feel completely rushed on that last day.
Check out the End of the Year Reflection Bundle here!
Growth Mindset Skills as End-of-Year Activities
Another option may be to set goals for summer activities. We are always so focused on school material that it is easy to forget that these kids actually enjoy doing other things! Ha!
Maybe for the last couple of days of classes, students could set a series of goals for one activity they are going to participate in during the summer.
For example, let’s say a male student in your class is going to participate in swimming lessons during the summer. He could make a goal to flutter kick across the entire pool by week three, swim half of the distance of the pool by week six, and swim the entire length of the pool by week eight.
Students are going to have different goals based on their levels of experience and interests.
Once students set their goals for the summer, complete a series of growth mindset lessons to teach them the mental mindset necessary to accomplish their goals.
Think about it!
Some of your students are going to go home and not have a lot of structure at home. They may not know how to persevere when the going gets tough, nor have a person to push them through with positive support.
So, teaching them growth mindset skills right before summer could help them accomplish their goals. It also will give them something to come talk to you about when the summer is over and they return to school!
Grab the Growth Mindset Activity Bundle here.
We learn time and time again…
that setting goals and true reflection are seeds to personal growth. With the two end-of-year activities above, you can ask students to reflect on the good things that happened throughout the year as well as set goals for the summer.
I know from my experience that my students love to do both of these things when it relates to things they truly love, so I wouldn’t worry about a lot of pushback from students when completing these activities. 😉
Have fun and have a great summer!