As the end of the year approaches, you and your students may be feeling ALL sorts of feelings. Whether it be relief that summer is right around the corner, sadness over having to say goodbye, or the big one- anxiety of transitioning to the next grade level. This post is full of easy and fun tips to help students ease some of those end of the year worries and close out the school season with a bang!
Tip #1 : Connect and Reflect
You and your students have spent the whole year together growing and connecting. It is hard to say goodbye to the little family you’ve built together, but transitioning to the next grade level is part of the job. I believe it’s really important to show your students how much they matter in their class community so they can take that feeling and know they’ll have it again. An easy and fun way to do this is by having a student of the day countdown to celebrate every student.
If you have 23 students, your countdown will be 23 days. Choose one student each day and create an anchor chart with the title, “What have you LOVED about _____ this year?” Students will each take turns writing one reason they have loved having that student in their classroom. At the end of the day, read all the reasons and let the student take home the anchor chart. Not only does it continue spreading kindness amongst students, but it also allows students to reflect on their favorite things from the year. Moreover, it provides a meaningful keepsake they can have forever. It is such a powerful way to end the year together.
Along with reflecting, I like to provide students with time to chat about the amazing things they’ve done together throughout the year. The end of the year is the perfect time to squeeze in some more fun memories together. They can play a game of Roll and Share with topics like, “Share something new you learned” or “Tell about a new friend you made.” If you want to get them up and moving, play a round of Find a Friend bingo! With this game, students can get up and move around the room while talking and connecting with different classmates. All of these games and more activities can be found in the end of the year activity pack linked below! They guarantee students are learning and loving their class up until the last day!
Tip #2 – Hand Over the Reins
You have learned A LOT together this year and now it’s time for them to hand over the reins! In order for them to confidently transition to the next grade, they have to be okay with responsibility and accountability. Let THEM be in control of their learning. I know that may sound scary, but it’s a great engagement hack! Allow time for them to explore skills they’ve learned throughout the year and let them take the reins. Maybe you let a student lead a lesson reviewing a skill or they create a game to show off things they’ve learned.
A brain dump is another easy and engaging reflecting activity that students can be in total charge of! It’s as simple as hanging up an anchor chart paper and using 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! After our brain dump, students get to demonstrate their mastery on a topic of their choice. Students LOVE getting to choose their own activity to show what they know! It’s learning AND fun!
It’s so easy to forget all the things that were done throughout the year and reflecting on them is a nice reminder. 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. Remind them that transitioning to the next grade will only bring even more knowledge, growth, and memories. If you need other tips for creating more independence in your classroom, check out this post HERE!
Tip #3 – Ease the Transition
Transitions can be a scary time for students preparing to leave their classroom family 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!
- Hold a Q&A for ALL the questions they may have about going to a new grade.
- 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 it for FREE below!
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!
Grab this free resource now!
Tip #4 : Conduct Interviews
If students are feeling a little anxious about the upcoming school year, tell them that it is totally normal. Validate for them that it can be a scary feeling to leave your classroom and community and have to start over. Conducting an interview with students from the grade they’ll be transitioning to is an amazing idea to help students get more comfortable. Get together with a teacher from the grade level above and ask if your classes can get together so that your students can ask theirs questions about their upcoming grade. They can use the sheet below to help guide their questions if they are nervous. The questions included will help ease some of their stress and show them what they can expect in their new grade level!
Tip #5 : Review Skills
After spending all that time during the brain dump to review all the skills learned, choose a few and have a review game! Students will love working in teams to show off all that great learning from the year! Check out the game with the link below!
Want More End of the Year Ideas?
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 how we can ease the transition and help prepare students going to the next grade! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, how to videos, and classroom projects… also of course more fun FREEBIES including Next Grade Level 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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