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Keep students engaged with end-of-the-year activities

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Alan Haskvitz

End of schoolVeteran teachers know well the difficulties the last weeks of school present.  If you remember that closure is a learning experience, consider having students organize their notes and review what they’ve learned in the form of play or scrapbook. In addition, have them make a prediction about their future and place it in an envelope with their name and address on it. Hang onto the envelopes, and in a few years, mail them. Some students will have moved, but many find the letters a great way to rekindle memories and motivate themselves.

Here are some other unique ideas:

  1. TeachNet: Reviewing the Year offers ideas for all grade levels. These are creative ways to have students recall what they learned.
  2. Using Puzzlemaker, you can make puzzles about students’ names.
  3. Create a Guinness Book of Records based on the past year. Have students write about what they learned in terms of records such as: longest research project, most talkative student, best math student, most pencils sharpened.
  4. Education World offers an article with ideas for the end of the school year you can use to motivate students.
  5. Making the Most of End-of-School Days provides five end-of-year activities.
  6. The Teachers Corner offers teacher-submitted ideas.
  7. TeachNet also offers this great idea for end-of-year T-shirts and how to make them.
  8. This Education World Read-In article offers 12 Ideas to keep students reading.
  9. Create best-of books by having the students compile lists such as: most endangered animals, fastest runners, largest people, etc. Or, they can create an ABC book as described in this article, ABC Books Aren’t for Babies.
  10. Check out this list of ideas, including: memory books, summer goals, posters.
  11. Make a time capsule of what the students learned this year. You might even consider making individual time capsules.
  12. This article offers help to deal with your own end-of-the-year stress.
  13. Make an end-of-the-year memory poster.
  14. You’ll find mainly primary/elementary ideas on this Pinterest board.

And finally, here’s a list of other random teacher ideas:

  • Design a summer safety poster.
  • Make your own autograph books.
  • Write an ode to the classroom.
  • Write a letter to next year’s class.
  • Make a memory or scrapbook to use next year.
  • Create a words-of-wisdom poster for next year’s students.
  • Write a letter to their teachers for next year.
  • Have students create a class timeline on a large sheet of butcher or bulletin-board paper listing what they learned by writing the lesson on the timeline.
  • Create a play that tells the story of the year.
  • Use all that student energy to clean and prepare the room for the next year.

Alan Haskvitz teaches at Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, California, and makes staff development presentations nationwide. He serves as an educational consultant, curriculum developer and author.

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