Has your end of year countdown begun?! I know by the time the end of the year rolls around, the kids are checked out and ready for summer AND so are we! In this post, I’m going to share some easy and engaging end of the year management hacks to help make your end of the year a little less chaotic, and a whole lot more fun. The goal is for you to walk away feeling less stressed, with your toolbox FULL of ideas to handle any of the end of the year chaos that may come up.
#1 – Back to the Basics
My first hack for you may seem simple and obvious, but it’s also an easy one to forget when there are SO many events that tend to be happening. Between testing, spirit days, celebrations on top of celebrations, it’s a lot at the end of the year to say the least. That’s why this hack may be one of the most important of them all. Going back to the basics is crucial because you know it’s tried and true. Those basics are the class rules you’ve already set, your normal routines as much as possible, and maintaining those high expectations for ALL your students. This routine and structure will always be a great foundation to come back to during the most hectic times of the year.
Now as easy as this may sound, it also may be the hardest with all those things that pop up at the end of the year. However, if you can stick to them as much as possible, it’ll definitely make a HUGE difference for how your days and weeks feel together. Children thrive with structure and routine so try to keep it as normal as you can and you’ll quickly see the benefits. There are some great ways to still shake up your days to make it fun, while still sticking to that normal structure.
If you need a little extra help with squirrelly kids who seem to have forgotten expectations no matter what you do, check out THIS growing management bundle full of engaging management activities that are all done for you. From Call and Response posters and voice levels management tools, to an editable procedure presentation, your toolbox will be FULL of resources!
#2 – Shake it Up
At the end of the year students tend to get antsy, and heck, so do we! This is why this next hack is designed to keep them on their toes so they don’t get too comfortable and let’s be honest, crazy. Keep the energy fresh with these awesome and engaging behavior management ideas to help YOU thrive. They also allow students to continue to have fun AND display the behaviors we want to see. So let’s check out these cool creative ways to keep your days fresh!
Whole Class Reward – These are a fun and visual way to motivate the entire class to work together and show off all that great behavior! Whenever the entire class comes to the carpet the first time prompted or walks quietly in the hallway, they earn a piece of the class reward. The pieces work together to finish the puzzle that shows progress towards their reward. You can give your students all kinds of choices for rewards to vote on that are fun and FREE, such as bring a stuffy day, extra recess, pj day, etc. They will love working together to build this fun beach scene to get them into summer mode! Check out the growing bundle!
Secret Agent – This is a fun and easy one! At the beginning of the day, secretly pick one or two students to be your “secret agent” for the day. They must keep it a secret from the rest of the class. Tell the secret agents what specific behaviors you want them to be on the lookout for. These can be things you see students really struggling with like lining up or transitions, etc. I like to give my class reminders such as, “Our secret agents are looking for students who work really hard to line up quietly.” At the end of the day, the secret agents can reveal their list of classmates, with reasons why they chose them. With that list, you can pick one or two students to receive a ticket that they can cash in for a trip to your treasure chest, a small snack, or free choice. This is something that can be done each day with new students getting rewarded and being secret agents!
Mystery Reward – This one is a hit because of its mysterious nature! Choose a whole class reward for students to work towards, and again these can be simple and FREE. Think board game day, dance party, no homework, etc. You will print out your letters of choice using THIS template, cut, and display them backwards. This way students will see the letters but won’t know what they spell. For example, if you all are working towards a dance party, displayed would be the letters “Y T R A P E C N A D” As they present positive whole class behaviors, you will flip over a letter. You can allow students to choose the letter that gets flipped over, or pick specific students to turn letters that are making really good choices. Depending on the age of your students, you can even scramble up all the letters and have them work to reveal and unscramble their reward! Once each letter has been revealed, enjoy your reward!!!
Giant Kerplunk – Who doesn’t love the classic game of Kerplunk?! This is another fun and visual way for students to work together to earn their class reward. It’s also SUPER easy for you to implement! Create a goal for student behavior that has really been a struggle for them, such as walking quietly in the hallway, packing up within 5 minutes at the end of the day, etc. Make it as specific as possible. Every time they meet their goal, they get to pull ONE stick. Try to give everyone a turn pulling the stick and once all the balls drop, they earn their class reward! Check out THIS Kerplunk game or THIS giant DIY Kerplunk version!
Show Off – Another great way to end the year with students is to begin preparing for the next grade level. By beginning to have these conversations with students, you can spotlight students that are exhibiting “next grade level behaviors”. Motivate students by allowing them to wear these badges for the day! By the end of the year, everyone will get one to take home! You can grab these badges FREE by subscribing below with tons of grade level options available!
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#3 – Keep Up That Community
Just like sticking to a normal routine, keeping up your kind classroom community through the end of the year will get you through ANYTHING together. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to lean into my community with students when they are struggling or I am struggling. One of my very favorite, SUPER EASY ways we love to tap back into our community is by daily anchor charts. It’s a simple, awesome activity that turns into a lovely keepsake for your students.
Each day, create an anchor chart for a student and have all the other students write what they’ve loved about them throughout the year. At the end of the day, gather and share all the nice things students wrote about that person and allow them to take it home as a gift! It’s such an easy and meaningful activity for students. You will hear SO many sweet things and it’s something for them to cherish forever! Learn more easy end of the year community building activity ideas HERE!
Check out THESE anchor chart headers to make your own kindness and community building charts!
#4 – Make Learning Fun
We know it’s important to stick to our routine but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it fun!! There are a ton of ways to shake up learning, while still trying to maintain your regularly scheduled program with students!
Get outside, reflect on past lessons, countdown the days AND make them count. Provide choices and allow them to guide their learning, have a room transformation, use Kahoot for daily tasks, try your skills to get out of Escape Rooms and productive play, set up fun STEM challenges, bust out old favorite center activities, and of course get them up and moving with scoot or math around the room or movement slides! Check out even more ideas HERE!
#5 – Hand Over the Reins
The last hack may seem crazy, but after you do it, you’ll instead think it’s genius. Hand over the reins! Let THEM be in control of their learning. I know that may sound scary, but coupled with your other strategies, it’s a great engagement hack! Allow time for them to explore skills they’ve learned throughout the year and create a project about it. Maybe let a student lead a lesson on a review skill. It’s hard to remember all the things you’ve done and learned together, so take time to reflect on learning and growth. Not only will your students love remembering moments during all their learning, but you’ll feel SO good about all the things you’ve taught your kiddos this year.
A brain dump is an easy and engaging activity! It’s as simple as a piece of anchor chart paper and their brains. Get together and discuss ALL the things you’ve learned throughout the year together. It’s rather impressive to see what they come up with. You can check out some of ours from first grade below! Then, after dumping brains, go off and show what we know with a topic of our choice. Students LOVE getting to choose their own activity and show what they know! It’s learning AND fun!
End of the Year Fun Done For You!
I’ve got you covered for all your end of the year fun!! Check out THIS jam packed bundle FULL of easy ideas and activities that will help make your end of the year memorable, and even more, an enjoyable experience with your students! This bundle is FULL of fun! From crafts, printables, and find a friend, your students will never forget the wonderful year you’ve spent together. Grab yours HERE!
I hope you enjoyed learning about easy and engaging hacks for totally rocking the end of the year with your students! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! You will get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the brag tag FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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