As the school year is ending, you may be wondering, “What are some ideas for end of the school year celebrations?” Even though state testing may be over, the school year isn’t quite done yet. In this post, I’m going to be sharing with you some of the ways to keep up the momentum of learning in a fun and engaging way while still having end of the school year celebrations.
High-Interest Projects for End of the School Year Celebrations
The end of the school year always means project time in my classroom. From research projects to real-world math performance tasks I love ending the year with independent projects that allow choice and give students a chance to shine! When it comes to bringing projects into your classroom, organization is key to truly allow for students to be independent as they work.
Project working time includes two main parts: students working independently to complete the project and project presentations. Be sure to plan for both when deciding which projects you do with your students. You want to make sure you have enough time left in the school year to do both!
End of Year Read Alouds
If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I love reading aloud to students. No matter how old they are, they love to get cozy and listen to a good book! From picture books to chapter books, and even poetry read alouds, my students always loved to be read to.
Try ending the year with a read-aloud countdown! Select how many days you want to have in your end-of-year reading countdown, set aside the same time every day and then get reading.
For end of the year reading countdowns, I usually pick ten days to countdown with books. That means for the last ten days I pick ten picture books and then read them the last twenty minutes of the day on each of the last ten days. If you pick a chapter book to read a chapter or two a day, you may have to use more than ten days! Be sure to plan it out.
Community Building for End of the School Year Celebrations
Community building is such an important part of of the year for me and something that we continue to building all year long, right up to the last day of school! I use a wide range of activities and read alouds to strengthen student relationships throughout the year. At the end of the year, we have one last project to celebrate each other that the kids love!
The final community building project of the year involves rock painting, friendship letters, and a whole bunch of smiles. Students will randomly draw names from a bowl and write letters, poems, and create illustrations about one of their classmates celebrating all of the amazing things about them!
End of the School Year Celebrations While Reflecting on the Memories
I love having students brainstorm their favorite memories of the year! They all have different memories that make their top ten list and it is so much fun to remember each and every one! There are so many ways for you to help students celebrate the good times of the school year. Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the end of the school year:
Have students fill a jar page with all of their favorite memories of the year! They can just jot down the topic of their memory and share more details aloud with the class. You can also get a large jar for this activity. Have the students write one favorite memory on a strip of paper and put it in the jar. When you have collected everyone’s strip of paper, pull them out one at a time to take a stroll down memory lane!
Top Ten Lists
I love top ten lists! They are simple and yet such a powerful way to have students share all of their favorite from the year. Try these: Top 10 List of Books We Read, Top 10 Moments of the Year, Top 10 Games, Top 10 Recess Moments, and also allow students to create their own top ten list ideas!
Snapshots of the Year
Bustout the coloring tools and have students create colorful pictures of their favorite two memories. Once they have completed their illustrations have them write a paragraph to describe each. These make an adorable end of the year bulletin board.
Let students be the artists and get creative by creating their own end of the year memory poster. Leave it open-ended for students to come up with what they want to include in their poster.
You’ve Come a Long Way
The end of the year is the perfect time for a little self-love! Let students celebrate themselves and all that learned during the school year! Kids need reminders to see how far they have come and remember all of their accomplishments throughout the year!
To help students celebrate themselves and their own accomplishments, have students create their own top ten list about what they learned this year! We celebrate the end of the year by celebrating our “Amazing Feets” of the year, filling in different rulers with the different accomplishments of the year. Be sure to discuss that students can celebrate any accomplishment of the year, big or small!
Another way to celebrate student accomplishments is to have them create an acrostic poem for the word ACHIEVEMENTS or MEMORIES. Students then complete the acrostic poem focusing solely on everything they succeeded at during the year.
End of the School Year Celebrations with Shoutouts and Thank Yous
Have your students celebrate the staff during the end of the school year season! These are always a huge hit each year.
The year I started teaching third grade, I started to have my students send Staff Shoutouts to celebrate all the teachers that they worked with over the years before they headed off to middle school.
Here is how I organized this activity. During the last week of school, students send at least five shoutouts to former teachers and staff embers who they want to thank and recognize as an important part of their lives and experiences. Students complete the shoutout form and then secretly tape it to the door of the staff member to surprise them. They are so much fun to send and to receive and truly makes the last week of school something special to look forward to!
You can use these with any age students, they all love completing and sending them!
Before the school year ends I love helping students get excited about summer reading! While many districts use state-run programs to track summer reading, or the reading programs at the local library, getting them excited about reading over the summer is still my job!
Here are a few different ways that we share books and talk about all things reading and summer reading in my classroom as the year begins to wind down.
Summer Reading Kick-Off Program
Welcome visitors into the classroom to share a few chapters of their favorite chapter books to get kids excited to read the rest over the summer.
Student Book Talks
I love to use book talks in the classroom all year long! But we turn it up a notch to get excited about summer reading. Have one or two students ocmplete a book talk leading up to the last day of school and keep track of all the books shared by creating your own list of class recommendations for the summer.
Reading Bulletin Board and Notecards
Create an eye-catching end of the year reading bulletin board to show kids the reading is truly an adventure! Bonus, print some posters four to a page and you have instant reading notecards to send home with your students to motivate them all summer long!
My students love creating reader self-portraits and filling in all of their reading stats! This is a fun one to complete the last week of school as you celebrate all your readers!