“How in the world am I going to celebrate the end of this unique school year with my students?!”
Have these thoughts crossed your mind? I think we can all agree that no one has had an end to the school year like we are having right now. However, we are teachers and that means we are innovative, we problem solve, and we can figure anything out! Yay! Go US! To help jumpstart your end-of-the-year problem solving, I have put together a list, in no particular order, of some favorite ideas and activities you can implement during your last weeks of school!
1. Class Party
We are not in our classrooms this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t party! You can invite your students to bring a fun snack to the virtual party! During the time, you can share memorable moments of the school year, share your screen and play a slideshow, play some fun games, or turn it into a dance party by using GoNoodle!
2. Teacher for the Day
This is super fun in the final weeks of school! Invite your students to sign up to be teacher for the day. They will be in charge of running the class meeting, reviewing or teaching content to the class, and basically running the show! Enjoy switching roles with your students! It’s a lot of fun and gives you a bit of a break!
3. Interview an Expert (Parent)
Now is a great time to get parents involved since kids are at home with their families! I know several of my students over the years have had parents with interesting jobs and some could never make it in to school due to their busy schedules. Invite parents to share about their job like a virtual Career Day! Students can ask questions and interview parents! This is engaging and parents will love this, too!
P.S. You can also invite community figures or extended family members in other states to hop on your Zoom call and be interviewed!
4. Letter to Your Future Self
This is one of my favorite activities to do with my students at the end of the school year! Some teachers may actually hold onto these letters and mail them to students years from now, while others will let students seal the letters and keep them in a special place at home. Since we are virtual, we will adapt it a bit! Students can email you their letter (if you plan to mail them in the future), or they can hand write their letters and seal them for safe keeping. No envelope? No problem! Teach students how to fold a piece of paper to create an “envelope”. Works just a great!
Tips: Have students reflect on the year (best/worst moments of ___ grade), share goals they want to set for themselves, areas in which they hope to improve, etc!
Grab this letter poster HERE!
5. Top 10 Virtual Moments
As a class, you will discuss the top 10 virtual moments that you all have experienced together during distance learning! This is more designed to let students know that this season and time is different, but still memorable. This allows students to reflect upon all the positive moments of virtual learning! The discussion will blow your mind and you can document what they say! You can send them the PowerPoint or slideshow with the various responses for students to always remember!
6. Memory Books
This was something I ALWAYS did during the last week of school and during our class party! It was great to have as a keepsake, especially for those who did not purchase the school memory book. You can find several memory book templates online, or you can even make your own for your students to fill in! This is an awesome idea to do with your students if you have the time to prep (including photos is optional) and send to your kiddos! They will love working on this during the end of the school year and far into the summer!
7. Student Awards
This is also an end-of-the-year favorite! You can definitely mail a certificate award to each student after presenting them with the award at your class meeting, or you may opt to keep it all digital! You can easily hold up the award and snap a selfie and email it to each student! They will love the keepsake!
P.S. Be sensitive when thinking about issuing awards with certain titles. We, teachers, may find it funny and adorable, but a parent or student may not think “Class Clown” or “Book Worm” is very cute. Let’s be careful not to offend!
8. Science Experiments
I know science is one subject students LOVE and most of time, do not get enough time to explore. There are so many science experiments available that require very few household items or school materials. I have been enjoying using “Fun Fridays” as a time to conduct science experiments! You can do this live or show a recording. When in doubt, you can watch Bill Nye the Science Guy do specific, standards-based science experiments on YouTube and share your screen! Students can write about their predictions, steps/processes, and outcome throughout science time!
Kids LOVE crafting! This is a time you can make a craft with your students! You will work step-by-step with them to create or draw something! My students love directed drawings and also making things out of paper! Be sure to record your Zoom session for playback! If students do not have the materials on hand, they will love being able to watch the replay and create the craft when they can!
10. Games Galore
This can be included as part of your class party or a separate occasion! Some games I found to be achievable and fun on the Zoom (and other video platforms) are:
- Would You Rather
- I Spy
- Bingo (subject specific or the regular way)
- Simon Says
- Scavenger Hunt
…and there are so many more! You definitely have to get creative when playing virtually, but it can be done!
11. Pet Show
With all kids being at home, this is the PERFECT TIME to have a pet show! Students can sign up and show their pet to the class. Classmates can ask questions about each pet. I do not have pets of my own, but when I see students sharing their pets, it definitely boosts the enthusiasm on our call!
12. Show and Tell
For those kids or people, like me, who do not have pets, this is another time where we can take a step into students’ lives! They are so proud of things that may only be able to stay at home and not be brought to school! Kids can sign up for show and tell and have a quick Q&A at the end! If you have a lot of kids interested in this, maybe schedule a few to share during each class meeting!
13. Popcorn and a Show
Typically in the classroom, we would turn on a movie and have popcorn, snacks. and drinks. While it may not be ideal to watch an entire movie on your Zoom call, you can definitely swing a fun show! Have students bring popcorn or a favorite snack to the class meeting and share your screen with them. Super easy to stream and play a show for them! At the end of the 20-30 minute show, you can have a class discussion about their favorite parts and character traits if you want to throw education in there! 😉
14. Spirit Week
During Spirit Week, students will join together over some common themes from Monday all the way to Friday. This can be as simple or as fancy as you want to make it! Students will participate and you will celebrate during your class meeting!
Ideas for Spirit Week can be:
- Pajama day
- School colors
- Hat day
- Favorite sports team
- Crazy socks
- Wacky hair day
- Letter of the Day (bring/wear something that starts with letter C)
- Tie dye day (or bright colors)
- Dress for Success (What do you want to be when you grow up?)
- Mismatch Day
- Beach Day
- What are you reading? Day
- Heritage Day
- Western Day
- Costume Day
15. Virtual Field Trips
There are several field trips that were not able to be attended due to school and places being closed. However, that does not mean you still can’t go on a virtual field trip with your students! I have found several virtual field trip options to take my kiddos on from the weareteachers.com site and they are free to attend! Yay! The website links to various places and some of the locations even have field trips by grade levels so it’s appropriate for the desired audience!
Distance learning has not been ideal, but we can still celebrate our students and make the end to the school year memorable and special for them! I hope you are able to use some of these ideas with your students to wrap up this school year!
If you are looking for more ways to incorporate writing with your students, check out this resource! You can encourage your students to write during the summer and can continue using this resource for your writing center in the fall!
Need summer ideas for students? Read this post: ABC Countdown!