End of Year Classroom Chaos Survival Guide for Elementary Teachers

classroom expectations classroom management elementary classroom elementary teacher
End of Year Classroom Chaos Survival Guide for Elementary Teachers

Summer is slowly but surely getting closer and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but school isn’t over just yet! 

Follow our End of Year Classroom Chaos Survival Guide to avoid burnout, stay calm, and enjoy the last months with your students.

What is end of year classroom chaos?

The end of the school year brings a lot of different elements to manage – kids with more energy, lots of activities, field trips, fun theme days, promotions, graduations, and making sure you’re ready to say goodbye to the year! 

When all of this combines, it can feel like pure chaos.

But it doesn’t have to feel this way. In fact, we’ve put together a survival guide to help elementary teachers weather the end of year storm and wrap up the year feeling confident, capable, and chill as a cucumber.

Follow this guide to prepare yourself for the weeks that are coming and get ahead of the chaos for best results!

Plan ahead

The number one tip in your end of year survival guide is to channel your inner Boy Scout and “be prepared.”

Set aside 30 minutes to go through all of the remaining dates and deadlines to make sure they are in your digital calendar and physical planner. 

Make a list now of anything you need to be prepared – including theme dress up day outfits, snacks, and special activities that need to be prepped.

The more prepared you are before the chaos, the better you’ll be able to calmly, confidently handle whatever the last few weeks throw your way.

Communicate your expectations

Sometimes you will have to change up your expectations, even this time of year, in order to reduce chaos and build more structure in your days. But, it is always important to have clear communication with your students when these things do arise so that your expectations are always clear. 

It is important to go over your systems and when things change, bring your students into the process of why things need to shift. Your students crave consistency – if you change your expectations or quit enforcing standard consequences, students tend to  feel unstable and confused, but being transparent and straightforward about your expectations will clear up the chaos. 

Be flexible

You can plan for everything… but something will not go according to plan. Being flexible will help you adapt when things happen “off script.” 

The end of the year usually comes with a few surprises or unexpected events, so just go ahead and accept that your plans may be thrown off some days or you may have to switch things up on the fly.

As a teacher, you’re already a solid creative problem solver. Use the end of the year as a way to test and build your flexibility.  

Keep students engaged

The end of the year is the perfect time for involving as much movement as possible in your students’ days! Help them get out their wiggles while activating their brains and focusing more. 

Now is the time for your most fun, interactive activities. Challenge your students to collaborate and work together in groups, do class-wide activities, and stretch everyone’s creativity and problem-solving skills. 

Click here to check out our favorite movement-based learning resources in our TPT shop!

Manage the talking

You will probably notice an uptick in “off task” talking around now. Students can feel the change in weather and are getting more excited about summer. This excitement can lead to a lot of chatter.

One way to address this is to give your students academic reasons to talk to each other. Plan for more group projects and classroom discussions, channeling their energy into academic conversations.

You can also talk to them about how they are feeling. Let them know that you understand they are excited and that you feel it, too! Validate their emotions and remind them that you still have important work to get done and your classroom expectations are still in order. Click here for my FREE feelings mini-lesson and activity.


Don’t get so focused on the end of the year that you forget to celebrate all the progress you and your students have made!

Teaching your students how to celebrate their accomplishments and progress is also a great way to help them build their own positive, growth mindsets. 

Students will feel seen and supported when you take the time to celebrate them well at the end of the year! Click here for a set of end of the year awards to celebrate your students and all their social-emotional growth! 

Address the defiance

While the impending summer break can lead to excitement for some students, others will experience different feelings. If you notice an increase in defiant behavior, it could be due to increasing anxiety and uncertainty about a change in routine and schedule. 

Anxiety about change can lead to defiance and outbursts. This is totally normal, and it’s nothing personal. 

Stay calm and respond to the defiance the way you always do – with empathy, patience, and in the right moment. 

Reflect and plan

Before you check out for the summer, take time to reflect on the year and plan for the next school year while your goals and ideas are fresh in your mind.

Get your class in on the reflection fun and do a class reflection together, asking students to think back to the beginning of school and how they felt at different points in the year. Encourage them to think about challenges they overcame, things they are proud of, and what was the most fun.

Teaching students how to reflect and plan is one of the best life skills you can give them! 

Stay positive

This should ultimately be a fun season! Keeping a positive mindset will help you approach each day with a can-do attitude and make it easier to go with the flow when things get a little wild. 

If you find yourself struggling to stay positive, try making a list of things you’re grateful for before your day begins. A little gratitude goes a long way!

Surviving the end of year chaos

The end of the school year can feel like chaos, but thanks to the tips and strategies in this survival guide – you’re prepared for anything this season throws your way! 

Ending the year on a calm, happy note is the best way to honor all the time, energy, and effort you and your students put in this year. You’ve got this! 

Want some help resetting your classroom for the end of the school year?

If you've been feeling more than a little overwhelmed lately…you're in the right place. You're just 2 days away from feeling a sense of joy, ease, and fulfillment each time you walk into your classroom.

Click here to start your classroom makeover now!


Join the Waitlist: The Heart-Centered Classroom Instructional Toolkit Programs

Are you ready to show up as the teacher you were meant to be each and every day? The Heart-Centered Method gives you all the strategies, language, tools, and support you need to create a calm, joyful classroom environment.