End-of-The-Year Lesson / Activity Ideas

(reposted from my original May 2010 with new pics added)Do you smell that?

It the perfect combination of sunscreen, iced coffee, grills and ocean air. That my friends is the aroma of summer vacation and it is so close I can smell it.

So close!

But before my toes can go without shoes for 10 consecutive weeks, the school year must wrap up.
Those last few weeks can get tricky. The kids shut down, your to do list grows, the classrooms heat up and schedules get all jumbly which adds to the chaos. It's important to have an arsenal of end-of-the-year activities to balance out the nostalgia for the school year and the anticipation of the vacation. It helps to keep the wee ones engaged.

Below is a thematic kit of activities I've developed to keep the kiddos on task.

Below that is a collection of ideas that I like to use during those last few weeks of school. Hopefully, you'll find something new to try.

The following pictures show my most recent kit designed for the End of the School Year. It includes over 35 reproducible pages that are ideal for grades 1-5 and can easily be adapted for preschool and Kindergarten. Included are a:
  • 28 page Memory Book ~ (click on the picture to see larger versions) These pages allow students to reflect on the past year. There are pages for the funniest thing that happened, field trips, favorite lunch, what they did at recess, what is popular now, and much more. Print them all out or select just the ones you want to include. There is even a blank template that they can customize (my kiddos use them to add in student teachers, aides and one child even created a page for each classmate). You can assemble the book using a binding machine or just staple it. What I do is copy the pages and 3-hole punch them. When the students finish writing and illustrating them, I give them the choice of binding the book with ribbons and pipe cleaners or putting them into folders with prongs.

  • Top 10 list Template for each grade level ~ It reads, "The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About ___ Grade" and I've included a copy for each grade level starting with preschool. There is clip art on the side that the students can color or you could cut that off before photocopying and have your kids decorate the border themselves. These make a great back to school bulletin board for the fall (hello, timesaver!) and also a nice class book to have available to your new class.

  • 3 different templates for letters to the child's future teacher ~ It's nice for the next teacher to get a letter from the student and the kids feel better knowing that their teacher knows something about them. I designed three versions of this so that it can be used by different developmental levels. There is one for students to just draw on, one with a headline/midline/baseline and one with smaller lines for advanced writers.
It's available at my online TPT store as an instant download for only $5.00. I have them do a few pages each day. It's great as an instant filler when you find they need a low key activity and it's such fun to hear them chatting and remembering the year. I find it is great closure and a wonderful keepsake. I typically print some photos from the year and make a page for each student's book as well with a note from me.

I promise it will make those hectic last weeks easier for you. Wouldn't you rather spend your upcoming nights and weekends picking out new flip flops and browsing Barnes and Noble for beach reads instead of creating end of the year projects on your own.


Fresh Air Reading:
Have the students bring in sheets or beach towels from home. Spend some time outside reading in the fresh air. Give the parents a head’s up so that they may apply bug spray or sunblock.
Sidewalk Chalk:
Use sidewalk chalk to create some outdoor art to enhance a lesson. Anything you would normally do on paper can be done using chalk outside. Some ideas include: webbing stories, character sketches, illustrating scenes from a book, etc.
Water Painting:
Take the kids outside with cups of water and paintbrushes. Let them “paint” their spelling or vocabulary words onto the wall of the school or the playground.
Detail Writing:
Use clipboards and allow the kids to sit outside and journal, compose poems or write descriptive paragraphs about an object that they can observe outside.
So Many Nouns:
Go on a walk around the schoolgrounds and list all of the nouns that can be seen.
Now is a great time to do some safety lessons and activities. Topics such as sun safty, water safety, bike safety and fireworks safety are timely and important.
Have kids write persuasive paragraphs on why bike helmets should be worn.
Research summer safety tips and design posters that can be hung around the school or town.
Contact the local police and fire department. They are often willing to come to schools and do presentations on these topics.
Read and write campfire stories.
Research and write about woodland creatures. Use model magic to create them.
Make “solar s’mores” by wrapping marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers in foil and setting them in the sun.
Tye-Dye tshirts or use watercolors and coffee filters to make pretend shirts.
Give the children posterboards and allow them to create their own board game. Provide them with parameters and guides. They can design the game board, write trivia cards, write out instructions for play, etc.
Do an “in-class game day” where the students bring games from home. Allow them time to teach each other how to play the game and let them enjoy playing together.
Use online programs to create word searches using words that relate to your school year.
Play a whole class game of Pictionary.
Challenge another class to a kickball game.
Make playdough and allow the children to be creative.
Collect recycled items (newspapers, egg cartons, cans, etc) and let the kids create interesting artwork.
Make collages.
Water color murals. Put on some quiet music and see how calm the classroom becomes.
Read the book, It’s Not a Box. Have each child bring in a box from home and use classroom supplies to transform it into something else. Allow time for each student to share with the class.
Print out reader’s theaters scripts and have your students work in small groups to plan a performance. Supply them with some art materials to make props, costumes and scenery.
Hold a “class talent show.” Let kids practice and perform on their own or with a friend.
It’s so tempting to put in a movie during those last few days. Justify it by reading a novel that has been made into a film. My personal favorite is Charlotte’s Web.
Watch SchoolHouse Rocks and then have the kids make up their own songs to teach a concept.

If you haven't already downloaded my complete list of tips and ideas for ending the school year, please go check it out. It covers just about everything you'll need and has links to free printables as well.end of year ideas end of the school year end of year activities for the classroom preschool kindergarten first grade second grade third grade fourth grade fifth grade sixth grade end of year celebration memory book yearbook printable free ideas

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