The end of the school year is equal parts excitement and exhaustion. When I embrace the excitement, I feel less exhausted. Or maybe adrenaline carries me forward. This countdown to the end of the school year will help you embrace the excitement and keep students engaged. Tell your students you will be doing a fun activity to countdown to the end of the year so they get on board! And, don’t forget to keep a countdown posted on your whiteboard.
If you would like to get more ideas for a successful end of the school year, check out these Eight Mistakes Teachers Make at the End of the School Year!
DAY 8: Review Games
If one of your last days of school includes official semester exams, you will likely need to review. Allow a day for fun review. Play trashketball or plan a Jeopardy-style game. Here is a link to one of my favorite classroom games, an Escape Room! This one is from All Things Algebra and is for Algebra I, but she has them for all secondary math content.
DAY 7: REVIEW ACTIVITES & PACKETS
Sometimes, your students need lots of practice. That’s when a review sheet and study guide is perfect. It’s not quite as glamorous as a review game, but they can work on it inside and outside of class to fully prepare for a semester exam. Alex, the Middle School Math Man has great review packets and they are printable and digital to fit your needs.
DAY 6: EXTENSION PROJECT
A group project my Geometry team and I love to do is the Tin Man project. Put students in groups and have them bring items from home (small boxes, Styrofoam, tape, glue gun, empty paper towel rolls, etc) to build a tin man. Once their tin man is constructed, they work together to calculate the surface area of the 3D structure. They bring their total number to you and you give them that exact amount of tin foil. They cut and paste/tape the foil on to the man to cover his entire surface. It is a fun application of surface area!
Another of my favorite end of year projects is Selfieometry! Students combine the selfie craze with geometry and create amazing real-world projects! Check out this product which contains a student presentation to introduce the project, a teacher guide, and a scoring rubric. (This will take more than one day, so I would introduce it a couple weeks before school ends and allow Day 6 in the countdown to be presentation day!)
DAY 5: END OF YEAR STATION ROTATION ACTIVITY
I love reflection activities! And this one is amazing because it gets students out of their seats! Any opportunity to get energy out in a structured manner is a big win at the end of the school year!
For these activity, there are six stations from which to choose. Or use them all! They involve selfies, reflecting on class content/units of study, drawing their plans for summer, advice for future students, and more!
DAY 4: YEARBOOK-SIGNING MOVIE PARTY
I LOVE leaving my students hand-written notes. Sometimes, I find time to sit and write each one a note, but that’s tricky when I have over 100 students. More often than not, I cannot find time to do that. So, the next best thing is to write a personalized message in their year book. And I love for students to sign mine, too! So, I build in class time to share yearbooks. This is a perfect day to throw on a movie! And if you are feeling super generous, bring some non-messy snacks and let them chill and sign yearbooks!
DAY 3: THANK-YOU NOTES
Time to introduce your students to the lost art of thank-you notes. Have students use loose-leaf paper, store bought cards, or print these templates for them. Are you still doing virtual teaching? These come with a Google Slide version as well. Encourage students to pick an adult that has helped them or has meant something to them and show their appreciation with a letter.
DAY 2: LOCKER & CLASSROOM CLEAN OUT
Would you like an efficiency tip? Have students help close your classroom down for the year. To maximize efficiency, have a list of things that students can do. For example:
- clean whiteboards
- take down posters
- check for dry markers
- organize bins
- organize/stack books
- take nametags/numbers off student desks
- return borrowed materials
The key is to split them into small groups. Have half the class do locker/notebook clean out while the other half does small tasks for you. Then switch. It keeps them busy and productive.
DAY 1: END of YEAR REFLECTION ACTIVITY
I saved the best for last! This is my very favorite activity to go at the end of the year! If I cannot fit in any of the other fun countdown days, I try to at least make room for this one! Students love it and it gives such great closure on the school year. It is a wonderfully engaging reflection tool. And I love reading them after that last day of school! It also comes in a digital Google Slide version to accommodate all learning options. End with this and end with a bang!
DAY 0: 1st Day of Summer Break.
Rest. Sleep. Breathe. This year has been so difficult. Take some time to allow yourself to heal from all the stress. You deserve it!