End of the year classroom activities can be tricky to plan because students and teachers are burned out with one foot out the door for summer. I have created a list of tried and true end of the year classroom ideas that are engaging and easy to use for students. Fun end of the year classroom activities can be found below or in highlights.
End of Year Activities
End of the Year Classroom Activities: Fictional Short Stories
End of the year classroom activities are important before saying goodbye. Use entertaining short stories in your classroom at the end of the school year. I use ghost stories or murder mysteries because students love them, and they are a great way to engage students while managing your classroom. Some examples of great short stories to use are: “The Elevator” by Roald Dahl, “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” by Rod Serling, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman Perkins, “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs, (Full lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers) and more. Have students complete a close reading on one of the short stories, and complete an interactive digital lesson. I focus on a review of the plot structure diagram which includes graphic organizers, videos, close reading, audio, short film, and follow-up activities. Students stay busy while you circle the room and answer questions.
End of the Year Classroom Activities: Write Letters
Write Letters-students can write letters to the incoming students for the following year. I have students introduce themselves, write about their best experience in the class and their worst. They include their favorite types of assignments/projects/authors etc. and their least favorite assignments/projects/authors etc. Students provide specific advice on how to “survive” or succeed in the course. Students include their own fears and expectations for the following year. Lastly they include one item they believe will help the incoming student. The following year you can use this as a teambuilder. Have students read the letter and share the object their student left for them.
End of the Year Classroom Activities: Organize Class Library
Organize a book library-I have a library of books that gets jumbled up every year and it is time consuming to put everything back. At the end of the year I have each student take a book from the bookshelf. They are to read critiques about the book on the internet, write a summary about the book, re-label it with the assigned book number, and place it back on the shelf where it belongs. I then print out all the book summaries with numbers, place them in a binder with page protectors and leave it on the shelf for the students the following year. This way when a student needs an independent reading book they can thumb through the binder to find one that interests them, and easily locate it on the book shelf.
End of the Year Classroom Activities: Digital Portfolio
Create a digital portfolio-Students are to save their work in their binders for the entirety of the year with important assignments. At the end of the year they create a digital portfolio using software like OneNote to organize and showcase their work. They are to use samples for reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will then take time to review their classmates portfolios and make positive comments. You can also have parents review the portfolio at home filling out a sheet of paper.
End of the Year Classroom Activities: Awards
Have an awards ceremony for the class-Use citizenship, grades, and have students vote and create a separate criteria and set of standards for awards. Some can be serious and some can be fun, like “most likely to…”
End of the Year Activities for the Classroom: Nonfiction Articles
Use nonfiction articles to create short, engaging assignments for students. I have students complete a close reading on a nonfiction article followed up with collaborative discussions and activities. I typically use articles that students find mysteries or that are relatable to them such as: “Minecraft”, “Murder He Wrote”, “Dead Mountain”, “Fright White”, “Barbie’s New Body”, (Full lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers) and others. Once they complete an independent close reading on the article, they work in pairs or threes to discuss a controversial question about the article, and complete a collaborative activity. We then finish by sharing out our ideas and opinions at the end.
Short Films and Theme
Short films and theme-Use animated short films to review themes that were discussed throughout the year. Some of examples of themes you can write on the board are: the need to belong, social outcasts, grief, loss, the affects of war, the affects of racism, etc. Students are to watch the short film, and as a group try to guess which theme matches the short film and how it connects to the reading. I would have students watch a film, stop and match a theme, discuss as a class, and move on to the next film. Students absolutely LOVE this activity!
Station Activities Review of Year
Station activities-use station activities to review a concept they learned during the year such as theme, genre, symbol, plot, etc. I like to use theme by having something different at each station such as a poetry slam, self-test , like Harvard’s How Bias Are You?, controversial short film with questions, creative activity such as drawing blindly, controversial statement for students to discuss, social emotional learning activity, etc. Students are engaged while they are able to move about the room in an organized fashion. Teacher circulates throughout the room to monitor progress.
End of the Year Classroom Party Ideas
Have a party! It’s difficult to have parties now because teachers have so many students and a party is just too expensive! Have students sign up to bring in an item to eat or drink to match a theme from the year. For example, when I finished up a unit on “Lord of the Flies”, we had a Hawaiian theme for our end of the year party. Students created the decorations themselves, signed up to bring in food, and we had an absolute blast! Depending on your district you may want to get a written permission slip from each students parents to participate in the party.
Classroom Activities for the End of the School Year: Movie Review
Have a movie week-Use movies from books that were read throughout the year and have a movie week! This can be done by having students answer questions about elements from the books/movies and can even serve as a review for their final. If you have a principal who is laid back, you could also just throw in the latest Disney movie to keep them busy that final week of school.
Games: Imaginary Places
Imaginary Places-Turn the lights down and play some instrumental music. Invite students to move about the room in time to the music. Ask them to listen closely and imagine what kind of place the music reminds them of. They can “pretend” to be in that place as all of the other students arrive. When every student is present, gather students in a circle and tell the rest of the class which place he/she was imagining. Let the kids know that essence of creativity is using their imaginations to create different places and people wherever they are!
Games: Camp Fire
Camp Fire-Designate an area of the room where the group routinely meets in a circle. Create an imaginary fire in the middle of the circle. Dim the lights and invite the kids to sit around the “campfire” with their snacks. You may choose to tell a story, or ask for each student to contribute something such as telling the class about a time when they felt really scared, or something that no one else knows about them. A “talking stick” is a really great item to have on hand for campfire time.
Games: Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie-Each student is told to write down two truths and one lie about themselves. Take turns going around the room and have students share out. Other students will guess which one is a lie. Example: I have swam with sharks, I saw Adam Sandler when I was 16, and I work part-time for a celebrity. The answer I work part-time for a celebrity. Every student shares. It’s a fun way to get to know each other. By the way, all of those examples are true for me.
Games: Hot Seat
Hot Seat-This fun game is a lot like the game show Password. Split your class into two teams and have them sit together in teams facing the whiteboard or chalkboard. Then take an empty chair—one for each team—and put it at the front of the class, facing the team members. These chairs are the “hot seats.” Choose one volunteer from each team to come up and sit in the “hot seat,” facing their teammates with their back to the board. •Prepare a list of vocabulary words to use for the game. Choose one and write it clearly on the board. Each team will take turns trying to get their teammate in the hot seat to guess the word, using synonyms, antonyms, definitions, etc. Make sure team members work together so that each member has a chance to provide clues. •The student in the hot seat listens to their teammates and tries to guess the word. The first hot seat student to say the word wins a point for their team. Once the word is successfully guessed, a new student from each team sits in the hot seat, and a new round begins with a different word.
I would love to hear about your favorite end of the year classroom activities! Please leave in the comments below!
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“The Elevator” by Roald Dahl
“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl
“The Landlady” by Roald Dahl
“The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” Rod Serling
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman Perkins
“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs
To visit my blog post on short story lessons, click HERE