As state testing begins, teachers have to find a balance between reviewing and keeping kids on task while giving them opportunities to enjoy their last few weeks of school. Basically, we try to minimize chaos while trying to leave each day with an exhausted smile!
Here are two of my FAVORITE end of the school year ideas:
Count Down Anchor Charts
Since we have to take down anything “instructional” from our bulletin boards during state testing, that always leaves my boards looking very plain. I find that keeping things as “normal” as possible at the end of the year helps to minimize some of the behavior issues.
In order to fill my bulletin boards, I started writing one question per day for students to answer and turned it into a countdown. My fifth graders were SO excited to see the question of the day on the bulletin boards! Once I ran out of space, I hung them outside in the hall. They loved reading and answering the questions, and it created some memories since it was something to look forward to each day.
Here are some examples of questions:
1. What is your ideal school lunch?
2. What do you look forward to most about next year?
3. What is your favorite Disney movie?
4. Write down a favorite memory from this year.
5. If you could only see three colors, what would they be?
6. Name a person in history that inspires you.
7. What is your favorite holiday of the year?
8. Recognize someone in our class for being a good friend/classmate.
9. What is your favorite song?
10. What is your favorite picture book?
End of the Year Autobiography Project
Many teachers have their students complete some sort of memory book at the end of the year, and I have my students complete an autobiography. It is based on the autobiography that I completed when I was in seventh grade! My students get a real kick out of reading some of my “seventh grade thoughts” and looking through the pictures in my autobiography.
I prefer the autobiography over a memory book because it includes details about their entire life thus far and gets parents involved. Parents, in fact, LOVE this project and always thank me for putting it together!
Side Note – I do modify it for students that may have custody issues.
As part of the autobiography, I write a letter to my students and ask parents to write a letter as well. I keep the letters a secret until the books are bound, and you can imagine their sweet faces as they read them for the first time!
Here is a free parent letter template to use in your own classroom: