The Mega List of Must-Do End of the Year Activities
At the end of the school year, we often get caught up in the daily checklist of preparing to close out our classrooms. However, it is important to keep in mind the end of the year is also a time of transition for students.
Some will be moving into larger classrooms with different routines and expectations. At the same time, other students will be going into different buildings or moving to new communities, feeling uncertain about the upcoming change. Planning purposeful end of the school year activities will help students remain centered and ease transition apprehensiveness
Here is a list of student-centered end of the school year activities to celebrate students and help ease transition worries.
Indoor, End of the Year Activities
- Compliment graffiti
Allow students to write compliments about their classmates on large sheets of paper. Each student receives a page with their name on it. As the class moves through the day, allow them to use brain breaks or transition times to write a compliment for each other. Each student should have a page with compliments from their peers.
- Letters to future students
Letters to future students are a great way to help a class ease their worry about transitioning to another class or school. Students should write a letter to the incoming class, letting them know about their experience as a student in your classroom. Encourage students to recall how it felt on their first day compared to the last days of school. Use this time to discuss their feelings about going into a new classroom.
- Heart-Centered student awards
Your students worked so hard this year, and these fun certificates are a great way to showcase that! This set of 30 awards celebrates all of the hard work your students have done this year! These are awards based on social-emotional principles such as honesty, integrity, self-soothing, and more! The set includes both color and black and white options, and these awards are 100% customizable! Print them off and write your students' names on their awards. You can also type in their names as this resource includes an editable PDF version.
- Letters of appreciation
A strong school community contributes to the success of the classroom community. Celebrate the school community with letters of appreciation from your students. Write a collective letter of gratitude that students can share around the school. Allow students to lead the letter drafting and editing process.
- Last day of school photo booth
Spend the last day of the school year capturing memories with students. This activity would pair well with the heart-centered student awards. Set up a quick backdrop and allow students the opportunity to display their awards. If you use your phone camera, quickly send the photos to their families with a note of appreciation.
- Thank You cards
Encourage students to send kind words through handmade thank you cards. They can write a quick note to their peers or a favorite memory for the school staff. Use this as a teaching opportunity for students to learn the importance of kind words and gratitude. Click here to use this set of thank you cards!
Celebrations in our classroom include dancing. Create a quick celebration playlist and allow students to 'move-it, move-it' around the room. Movement in the classroom helps increase student focus and increases blood flow to support cognitive learning
Reasons we love you end of year slides (perfect for virtual learning)
As you end this year, you want to reinforce the strong community you have built with your students and send them off feeling extra loved. To reinforce the social-emotional learning you have done in your Virtual or Socially Distanced classroom this year, use the "Reasons We Love You" End of the Year Classroom Activities for Distance Learning Celebration set.
Included in this End of the Year Classroom Activities, Distance Learning Celebration resource are ten editable "Reasons we love you" slides in various colors, along with printable slides to mail to or send home with your students. There is also a parent note to get parents involved and make their child's day extra special.
End of the school year, outdoor activities
9. Appreciation sidewalk chalk walk
Allow your class to write encouraging words for fellow students along the outside sidewalks entering and exiting the building. The encouraging words help build the school community and invest students in doing their best to support one another.
10. Calming nature walks
When things get busy and days are full, a calming nature walk helps students practice mindfulness. Take a walk at the start of the day and identify animals, sounds, and plants that catch their attention. Practice breathing and counting techniques as you take steps around the building.
11. Planting memories
Help students understand the importance of gratitude and self-reflection with this quick activity. Use a shared garden area or repurposed milk cartons for planting seeds. As students place the seeds in the soil, direct them to share a positive memory from the school year. Prompt them also to share a thought of gratitude. Students can take the milk cartons home or return the following year to view what grew from their planted seeds.
12. Outdoor brain breaks
Add a bit of variety to your brain breaks by having them outdoors. Add bubbles, sidewalk chalk, or streamers to encourage student movement. The environment changes encourage students to reset, and the movement helps students refocus.
13. Encouragement bubbles
If your class needs to blow off a little steam, take them outside to blow bubbles. Model for them how to blow out the bubbles while saying encouraging words to themselves or a classmate. Watch as the encouraging words float away and go out into the world.
14. End of the school year memory walk
The memory walk activity can take place indoors or outdoors. Gather the class to walk through the building, stopping at various school community spaces to recall positive memories. Encourage students to celebrate the accomplishments of others when sharing memories. They should also recognize their achievements and personal growth.
15. Encouragement rock painting
Rock painting helps beautify the school campus and create an environment of celebration. Allow students to paint rocks with encouraging and thoughtful words. These rocks can be placed outside or collected in a classroom rock garden. When students can contribute art and creative elements to the school community, it encourages them to take pride and ownership of their space.