I am not sure about you, but we are absolutely in shock that the end of the school year is already approaching! It is crazy how slow, but fast the days and weeks seem to go. We were just coming back from Christmas break and now we are in the middle of May!
If you are anything like Meg and I, we are working hard at finishing up any content that we would like the students to have access to, but we are also figuring out fun activities and ideas on how we can make the end of the year special for this group of students! What we thought we would do is compile a list of different end of the year ideas that we have done that you might also be able to use with your students!
Review Relays: It is exactly what it sounds like! We utilize the playground or school soccer field for this one. We set up different relay races using any content that we have gone over throughout the year. We stick to mostly math, science, and social studies content for the races. Even some simple math flash cards or vocabulary terms would be a good start!
Picnic at the Park: This one you can get families involved! We like to celebrate students’ hard work at the end of the year. One way we do that is by taking them to one of the parks in our local community for a long lunch. Students pack a sack lunch, or their parents can meet us at the park with lunch. We play, we eat, and we have a great time! If the weather takes a turn for the worse, we set up our classrooms for a picnic and play board games instead.
Memory Books: Every year we like to give students a memory book to work on through the last two weeks of school. It gives them a chance to reflect on their year and it is fun to see what resonated with the students throughout their year. Click the link to see what we use from TPT.
Summer Bucket Lists: These are always fun to do with students to see what they have planned for the summer and what crazy things that they’d like to do. As the teacher, fill one out too! Students love reading about what you will be up to during the summer as well. Click the button for a free activity.
Meet the Teacher: For this activity, you would need to collaborate with the grade level above/below you, or you could propose to do it school wide. With this, students get 30 min on one of the last days of school to meet their upcoming teacher for the next school year. Teachers have a little activity for the students to participate in, getting them excited for the next year.
Escape Room: Escape rooms are so much fun! It definitely gives students a challenge. You can do escape rooms either digitally or in the actual classroom. Escape rooms are another great way for students to review skills and content that were taught throughout the year. If you are looking for more specific escape room ideas, go check out Matt Miller’s website! He has a ton of digital escape room ideas for any classroom.
Themed Days: (Beach Day, Camping, etc.) Turn your classroom into a summer getaway! Students can bring in beach towels, sleeping bags, flashlights, sunglasses, etc. to go with whatever theme you choose. Students can spend time reading in the sun or under the stars.
Minute to Win it Games (just for fun): Is there much academic content happening with this…no. Probably not. But it sure is fun! What a fun way to send your kids into the summer!
Dear New __ Graders: (students writing/creating video for next year’s class) Students create either a writing or technology piece for the upcoming class. Your current students give the upcoming class advice on how to make their year successful, fun things that they will get to do, challenges that they had to overcome, and some of their favorite memories from the year.
What are some of your favorite EOY activities?
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Teachers are influential people in student and adult lives. When we first started in education we were all inspired or impacted by another teacher that led us down the path that we are on today. In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, we wanted to share the stories of the teachers who helped shape us into the educators we are today.
I have been very fortunate in my educational career to have many teachers that worked so hard to ensure my success. But I have two teachers that stand out to me, who pushed me in the direction of becoming a teacher myself.
It was third grade. I was a very shy kid, maybe an average student, and did not have confidence in myself at all. Even at that young age, I knew that about myself. Then Mrs. Medima walks into my life. She impacted me so greatly because she SAW me. I wasn’t able to sit back and slip through the cracks because she saw me, pushed me, and believed that I was so much more capable than I believed for myself. She made such an impact in my life that I can still see her smile and her amazing ‘teacher’ outfits. ;) Every Christmas I am reminded of all that she did for me by hanging the ornament she gave me all those years ago on my Christmas tree.
Many years pass and I am now a junior in high school. There was a new teacher in our high school and his name was Mr. Doust. I was in one of his classes. At the beginning of the year, class started off like most high school classes do. Lecture, note taking, quizzes, tests, etc. But as the year went on, Mr. Doust’s teaching began to change. One day walking up to class, all you saw was black butcher paper across his doorway. He had created a ‘secret’ entry to his classroom. Once inside, there were lamps, with bar tables set up everywhere…. No desks to be seen. He had set up a speakeasy in his classroom. He had created a classroom simulation for us to become immersed in what he had to teach us. Then another project we had to create videos in order to teach the class about another time period… and back then making videos was not as easily done like it is today on our phones! I remember that he challenged me and wasn’t satisfied with just rote memorization of the information (which I was really good at doing!). His style of teaching and how he interacted with us as students, as people, was different and breathed life into the high school. Was it easy for him? No… Many other teachers pushed back on him and how he was teaching, but he continued because he knew it was the best thing for my classmates and I.
Both of these teachers in my life impacted me greatly in different ways. Mrs. Medima taught me the beauty and necessity of seeing each student individually for who they are. She taught me the power of the love of a teacher and how that love can be a vehicle for students to move mountains, personally and academically. Mr. Doust taught me that you don’t have to follow in everyone’s footsteps and that being indiuvally you is a powerful thing. He taught me that teachers have a voice and can have individuality in their instructional delivery. He taught me that even if it’s not the ‘norm’, you need to do what is best for your students.
As long as I can remember, my dream job was to be a teacher. I was that little girl that set up a classroom in her room and taught her dolls and stuffies about math, writing, and reading. My first grade teacher was someone who started my love of learning and teaching. Mrs. Parks was kind, compassionate, and always greeted her students with a warm smile. Above her love for her students she was someone who saw each student for who they were and respected each student's unique personalities. Mrs. Parks was the teacher that tried new strategies, incorporated activities, and made learning fun.
Moving forward to my student teaching year, I asked Mrs. Parks if she could be my mentor. She was in her last year of teaching and I wanted to learn from a teacher I admired all these years. In that year, I learned more than any textbook could offer. Mrs. Parks taught me to love my students the way she did with me all those years ago by having conversations with them, listening to them, and then teaching them. Mrs. Parks taught me that building relationships with your students was the foundation of being an outstanding teacher. Now almost 30 years later she is still my cheerleader, and for that I am so grateful.
We share these stories to remind you of the power of an educator. Being an educator is no easy task. And in the past few years, the job seems almost impossible at times. But remember, the students that are in front of you today are being molded and shaped by YOU. They are looking up to YOU. They are learning from YOU. Those students are depending and trusting in YOU. And even when they may not always show it, those students care for YOU. There is not a more powerful job in the world than that of an educator.
"A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops."