Can you believe that the end of the school year is almost here already?! After what has been a whirlwind of a year, it is FINALLY winding down! So how do you keep sane and totally rock the end of the year with students? Read this post to learn ten must know tips to help you make this time great and say HELLLLOOOO to summer!
1. Keep it Consistent
The end of the school year can be INSANE. Between assessments, field days, and fitting in those last minute field trips, there can be so much inconsistency that it can drive everyone crazy. While it’s important to kind of go with the flow, it is also important to try and maintain as much normalcy as possible. Students can get a lot of anxiety thinking about getting ready to transition to a new grade after summer and not being a part of their current class family they have enjoyed all year. So while it’s fun to do things differently because school is almost out, try to keep it consistent for students who crave and thrive on their routine that they’ve totally mastered at this point!
2. Get Outside
Everyone can start going a little stir crazy with the weather warming up while you’re stuck inside knowing summer is coming. So why not get outside?! Switch it up and have students complete a sidewalk scoot, let them explore by going on a scavenger hunt with skills they’ve been working on, or simply read in the grass! It’s a change of scenery that can make all the difference, while alleviating some of that stress by enjoying the warmer weather!
3. Expect the Unexpected
The end of the year can be CRAZY right? With awards days, field days, and other events, it seems like the schedule is always packed with something new. That’s ok! This is where you can make the most of all that time with students. Know that days are going to look a little different and your flexibility bone is going to get way more exercise than other times of the year. However, before you know it you’re saying goodbye to students and heading out for summer so remember to just enjoy each other. Use random down time to spend a little extra time together playing a game of would you rather or 4 corners. There are so many quick and easy games to help students have fun, practice skills they’ve learned, and continue with that strong community you’ve already built. Remember when it all gets too overwhelming, step back and take a deep breath and know that there is joy to be found in every day!
4. Be Creative in Engagement
Everyone is SO done and tired by the end of the school year. So how do you keep students engaged? You have to be creative!! Engage students with YOUR bag of tricks. Think about what you’re already good at and use those skills to your advantage! Are you really funny? Use that as an engagement tool. Love to sing or rap? Add music into your lessons! Use your bag of tricks and engage students with YOUR passions and interests. Chances are… if you’re into it, they will be into it too. This also allows students to freely be them and makes them feel comfortable bringing their own creativeness to the table. It’ll help keep things light and keep everyone engaged until those last days of school.
5. Keep it Lighthearted
I may sound like a broken record at this point, but the year will be over before you know it. With all the stress and chaos, keep it lighthearted. Joke around with students and continue to keep things fun for them. Over the course of the year, you’ve built a little family together. Show them how special they all are and HAVE FUN! Don’t let the stress consume you and become bigger than the love. When all the testing is done, spend time making keepsakes, memory books, things that you all can cherish when the year is done.
6. Take Time for YOU
This year has been TOUGH, but you’ve almost made it to the end. Build in some break times to care for you. Splurge on your lunch break and get your favorite coffee delivered to you. Leave right after school one day and go do something for YOU. Need to count down those days to the end? DO IT! Don’t feel guilty. Listen to your own needs, breathe, and don’t be afraid to shamelessly do what you gotta do to get to those last few days before summer!
7. Have Countdown Fun!
Make those last weeks of school fun and exciting with a countdown! Celebrate the end with a banner of balloons that are filled with themed days. As a class, pop a balloon each day to see what tomorrow holds in store- could be a pajama day, very crazy hair day, nickname day, soak up the sun day- the possibilities are endless! Every day is a sweet surprise and it’s such an engaging and memorable way to end your year together. Learn more about this activity and other fun ways to end the year together HERE!
8. Ease the Transition
This can be a scary time for students getting ready to leave their little family they’ve built and prepare for a new grade, new class, and new teacher. So how can we help with this transition? There are a few quick, easy, and engaging ways to help ease the transition for students.
- Have a field trip to the next grade level classrooms. Collaborate with a few of the teachers and let the students see how fun it will be to get a new classroom!
- Have students write a letter to the new incoming students. They can share all the fun things they got to do throughout the year and show them how much they’ve grown as students!
- Show off all their growth and learning with brag tags! Not only is this a great incentive for students to show their A game, but it will make them feel so special and ready for the next grade level! If you love this idea, you can grab the freebie below!
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9. Reflect on the Growth
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!
Another fun way to have students show off how they’ve shined this year is with this reflection writing craft! Being able to reflect is an important skill, not just for students, but all of us. It helps us to grow and learn from past experiences and gives us joy to remember what we’ve already accomplished. Students will love completing this adorable craft while reflecting on what they’ve learned this year!
10. Pack and Trash
Last, but of course not least, it’s the dreaded time to pack and trash. Don’t get overwhelmed by this task though! Use it as a time to be excited about getting organized for the year to come. Get rid of that stuff you know you NEVER use! Do a good purge and an efficient pack and I promise your future self will thank you! Check out THIS post for 5 easy and quick end of year packing up tips!
I really hope you enjoyed learning 10 must know tips to totally rock the end of the year together! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you 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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