Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer has Begun! Some Activities for the End of the School Year

Friday was the last day of the school year for me.  It was bitter sweet.  I've had a great class and I'll be moving to a district instructional coach position next year, so I won't have a classroom of my own.  However, at the end of the year, the students start behaving like brothers and sisters and were fighting and tattling.  So, it was time for a break from each other.  Here are some of the fun things we did during the last week of school.  If you still have a few more days or weeks to go, maybe you'll find some of these ideas useful.  If you're done for the year, remember them for next year!
Field Day:  We have an amazing PTA at my school that planned and ran a school field day.  The theme was "Minute to Win It."  If you don't have a school wide field day already in place, you could easily do several of these activities with your class.  Even if you do have a similar day, these activities are a lot of fun.  You can find all the directions for do it yourself games on the NBC show's website here.  The Elephant Walk was one of my students' favorite.

Review Rotations:  Each teacher on our team took a topic in both reading and math to review with the students.  We came up with an activity or game that would last 30-45 minutes.  Each day we rotated classes.  We rotated for the reading activities in the morning and math in the afternoon.  For example on Monday morning I had Mrs. Smith's class for 30 minutes and then again in the afternoon for 30 minutes.  Then on Tuesday I had Mrs. Jones' students for the same times.  On the last day we taught our own classes.  I used the activities from my "Quiet as a Mouse" themed learning pack for my group.  We did the book Mouse Paint in the morning and the time activities in the afternoon.

Reading Celebration:  Our principal really supports student reading.  He has a program named "It Pays to Read" in place that is a lot of fun.  Students get to put tickets into a drawing for each week they meet their reading goal of at least 20 minutes per night.  At the end of each semester, he holds an assembly where students names are drawn and awarded prizes.  The secretaries also pull tickets before the assembly and attach to prizes so it doesn't last all day.  The grand prize is a bicycle.  It really pays to read when names are drawn to shoot baskets.  Each throwing line is worth anywhere from $1 to $5.  The student chooses staff members to throw from each line.  The student keeps the cumulative sum of money from all the shots that go in.  Other prizes range from books, to playground balls, to puzzles, crayons and even a few scooters.  It's a lot of fun.  Try your own classroom reading celebration each semester or even start with just the end of the year.  You can use prize box items, certificates for classroom privileges and freebie books from your scholastic orders.  If you have good parent/community support, you might even get a few donations.

Writing Celebration:  On the day before the last day of school, we had an Author's Celebration.  Our grade level wanted to celebrate all the hard work our students put into their writing, especially their 4 published works.  Parents were invited to attend this special event.  We performed reader's theater's for parents first.  We have a great little theater type area in our school so each class was able to take a time slot for a more intimate performance.  Then we moved to the classroom where I showed our end of year video slide show made using Smilebox.  Smilebox is a very slick way to make video slide shows.  I also sent a copy on DVD of the show home with each family.  We then enjoyed cookies and reading the stories we have published to our parents.

Special Lessons:  With the emphasis on testing and teaching specific standards, some of you may have been feeling like you have to let your favorite themed units go.  Well, I've found the last few weeks of school to be the perfect time to fit in those "favorites."  This is the time to teach your dinosaur or insect themed units.  We had fun watching our Fascinations AntWorks ant farm come to life while reading and learning about ants.

What are some of the things that you do at the end of the year?


  1. Thank you for sharing those ideas. I teach 5th grade and have them for 2 years (4th and 5th) so by the end of our second year together, it can get pretty crazy. Everyone is tired and ready for the summer. I do something called "Preview or Review" and my students are the teachers. Any student or pair of students may select a skill/lesson that they've already learned that they think needs a review, or they may teach a PREVIEW SKILL for 6th grade. They must write a lesson plan, determine all the objectives, the classwork and homework, and the lesson must be approved before I assign them a date to teach. The greatest thing about this, I get to see my students using all of the classroom management and instructional strategies that I've used with them. They are masters of instruction!! It's even more exciting to see how receptive their classmates are when the students are teaching. It's worth a try if you've never had any of your students teach before. And what a great time for the teacher to relax a little or get caught up on some other work.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing. We all learn best when we teach. I think this is a great idea!

  2. What a cute blog! Great ideas-thanks!I'm your newest follower. Come visit me sometime! Share your year next year as an instructional coach! That sounds cool and I'm sure you'll have lots of ideas for us.
    The Caffeinated Classroom


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