Editor’s Note: Read more end-of-year ideas from one of our favorite bloggers, Carrie Kamm.
The last days of the school year are ticking by. As more and more milestones get crossed off your list, you may be left wondering how to wrap up the school year. Last year I wrote about how teachers can reflect on their “shining moments” at the end of the school year. This year I’ve asked several teachers to share their favorite end-of-year activities in hopes that you’ll find one that feels just right to use in your classroom.
1. Advice for Future Students
Make a list of advice for future students by asking current students to reflect on the year and share tips for success. High school math teacher Lauren Collins says this activity usually yields a good mix of funny and serious advice, which she prints out and gives to the next year’s class on the first day of school.
2. Graph of Highs and Lows
High school ELA teacher Esther Wu asks students to draw a graph of their year’s highs and lows on 8.5 x 11 paper with emoticons, symbols, lessons learned, songs of the month, etc. Students use the month of the year as the x-axis, and their emotions, what they learned, etc., as the y-axis.
3. Top Ten List
Another great idea from Esther Wu is to have students work in small groups to come up with a Top Ten List about the year. Students can be as serious or funny as they wish in presenting their lists to the class. Esther shares that this activity is super fun, plus you get to learn a lot about what students found meaningful about the school year.
4. Common Core Reflection
Katie Novak, K-12 reading coordinator, has her students grade her on how well she taught the Common Core ELA Standards. She gives her students a copy of the standards, then makes her case for how each standard was covered over the course of the year by reviewing lessons, literature, prompts, etc. Katie shares that hearing her students assess how the CCSS were covered allows her to assess students’ learning in a non-threatening way.
5. Graffiti Wall
Reflection can happen individually, in small groups, and as a large group. Sherwanda Chism, K-6 gifted ELA teacher, has a great way to get the whole class reflecting together. She creates a “Graffiti Wall” by covering a wall in her classroom with bulletin board paper. Students then write and draw about their greatest learning experiences that took place in her class. Sherwanda shares how this activity helps students to reflect, while simultaneously providing feedback for her on her practices.
What are your favorite end-of-the-year reflection activities? Comment below to share your ideas for closing out the school year. And read Carrie’s blog with four more ways to end the school year.
Lily Jones taught K/1 for seven years in Northern California. She has experience as a curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher trainer, and is also a contributing writer for Teaching Channel.