The end of the year always gives me all the feels. I’m excited for more time with my family, I will miss my students, and I’m looking forward to getting a new group of students to impact. The only way to stay sane at the end of the year is to have high engagement activities. You also need to do activities where students are occupied so you can clean and organize or they participate in activities which help you clean and organize! Here are some activities to help you enjoy the last moments with your students and get ready for summer!!
This is a great activity for students to do while you are cleaning and organizing. The goal of the activity is for students to give advice to the next set of students who will enter your room. I collect these when the students are done and keep them safe over the summer. On the first day of school the following year, each student will have a survival guide on their desk written by a former student. There are pages where students offer advice on what the teacher likes for students to do and what they do not like for students to do. It includes the classroom rules, where to find supplies, and the student’s best and worst memory. You can download it here for FREE!!!! Let’s be honest, there are two types of teachers at the end of the year; ones who will be pay whatever to keep students entertained and others who won’t pay a cent because it’s the end of the year. I’m the one who is tired of shelling out money, so here is a FREEBIE on me!
If you have never done an escape room, now is the time to do it. Yes they do cost a few dollars and there is some prep to it, but the students are highly engaged and it makes time pass quickly! Also if it doesn’t go the way you planned, there is no pressure of a test or a deadline of when the unit has to be over. You have nothing to lose!
Some escape rooms I have done:
Creating Review Games
For several years I have used this resource for my students to create end of year review games. I usually group them with 2-3 in a group. It usually takes students 3-4 days to create a game and then I give students time to play each other’s games. They are always so engaged! I ask students if they want to “donate” their game to the class and I allow the next year’s students to play the games. For the others who do not want to donate, I have the groups decide who gets to take the game home. If a group cannot decide, I usually draw names or use a name picker app to decide who gets to keep the game.
For this day, I split the class up into 4 groups. The best way for me to do this is to number them off by 4’s, this way the groups are mixed ability. All 4 teams travel from one game to the next. At each game, the teams earn points to be totaled at the end for a champion! The math-a-thon games have changed throughout the years, but here are some of my favorites:
- Water Balloon Measuring- The teams decide which 2 teammates will be the best to play this game. The other teammates will measure how far apart the pair gets. The rules are just like an egg toss or water balloon toss. The partners start close enough to pass the balloon to the other person. After each catch, both players take one step back. When the balloon hits the ground, the partners freeze and the rest of their group measures from toes to toes. Each meter counts as 10 points for their team. I have students round to the nearest meter, but you do what is appropriate for your grade level.
- Sponge Relay-
Materials: 2 water bottles, 1 large bucket of water, Sponges or rags to soak up water, flash cards (whatever operation is appropriate for your grade level)
Two teams compete at a time for this event. I tell the other two teams to watch for cheaters. The teams line up next to each other and the first person stands next to the bucket of water with the sponges or rags. About 10 yards away is where I put the water bottles. Each player has to answer a fact correctly, grab the sponge, run to their team’s water bottle, squeeze out the water into the bottle, and run back. The next player does the same steps. If a player gets the answer incorrect you could send them to the back of the line or give them an easier fact. The first team to fill their water bottle wins and gets 10 points. Then it is the other 2 teams turn.
- Bean Bag Toss (Corn Hole) or Ring Toss- If you have a set of Corn Hole, just have the students play the game with the regular rules. I let the students keep whatever points they earn, but the game ends when the first team reaches 21.
For ring toss, I have the students earn 2 points for every ring they get around the pole. I have allowed them to play for a certain amount of time or until a team earned a certain amount of points. It just depends on the group of kids.
At the end, we total all of the points and declare a winning team.
A Letter to Self
During the last week of school I have the students visualize what them hope to accomplish in the next grade level. Then, they write a letter to themselves. You can find the freebie here. I pass along the letters to the next grade, so on the first day of school their letter is there waiting to remind them of what they hope to achieve that year.
Sending Home Extra Junk
The end of the school year is the best time to purge your classroom! Students are more than willing to take home outdated books and papers. So instead of filling up the landfill, send it home with a willing student. Go through your filing cabinets and offer up whatever you don’t want or use. Go through your cabinets/closets and just give it away! You are supporting their learning over the summer, giving them something to do, and not adding to the custodian’s to do list. It’s a win for everyone!!
I hope you are ready to take on the end of the year and have some fun doing it!!
-Teachers on the Block