The end is so close you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, sometimes the journey there seems extra-long and exhausting. I have been there my friend. You might feel like you are running a marathon trying to get your to-do list completed.
I encourage you to take a breath and savor your final days. I know the end of the school year can be full and busy, but I treasure it. I love all the activities, special events, and fun moments you create with students. I am a huge advocate of making the final days as enjoyable as possible. You have worked hard with your students, so it is definitely time to celebrate how far you have come.
In this post, you will find everything you could possibly need for the end of the school year.
1. Questions for Student Reflection
Let's first start by focusing on your specific class. Before all the fun begins, you might be looking for a way to have some last-minute reflection as a class. I created a resource I think you might find useful. This could be used for any content area and grades 7-12.
This resource is titled, End of Year Survey for Students: Snapshot of Your Year. This resource comes in two formats including both paper (pdf file) and digital (Google Slides). There are a total of eight reflection questions for students. Additionally, I have included an editable Google Form for students to give feedback on your course. This is an excellent "final assignment" for the year that gives you some data on your course. I love reading the answers and using the information to direct the upcoming school year.
2. End of the school year teacher gifts
If you are looking for something to gift a coworker or teacher friend, I have got you covered. Here are some presents to gift teachers (made by teachers). You may want to reference this list later for Valentine's day, birthdays, teacher appreciation day, or any other special occasions.
Not only will you be gifting something so special to a teacher, but you will also be supporting a teacher you may not know in the process. I promise you, each of these educators is selfless, kind, loving, and making such an incredible impact. Show some love by visiting their stores, purchasing some items, following them on social media, reposting/sharing their work, and giving them wonderful reviews.
Megan Fairchild makes beautiful stickers, shirts, keychains, notepads, and other teacher goods. One of my favorite items is the t-shirt I wear often which includes a list of "favorite YA authors: Stone & Thomas & Acevedo & Reynolds."
Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MissFairchildCreates
-Tiff in the Middle Tiffany Rubin makes awesome mugs, banners, keychains, stickers, notepads, shirts, and other items. One of my favorite items is the banner I have in my classroom which says, "The future of the world is in this classroom."
Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/tiffinthemiddle
Megan DuVarney Forbes creates lovely stickers and shirts made with heart. One of my favorite items is the sticker that reads "education, empathy, exposure."
-The Engaging Station Staci Lamb makes adorable stickers and keychains with such fun colors and designs. One of my favorite items (currently on my to-buy list) is the "remember your why" keychain.
Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/theengagingstation
All of these incredible educators are constantly using their creativity to add additional resources to their websites.
I hope this goes without saying, but a wonderful gift to include is a "thank you teacher note" from parents/guardians. Thank your educators for caring for your child. I remember my Mom always being very beloved by my teachers (and is still to this day) for the ways she said thank you throughout my school years. I promise you that any thank you teacher letter from parents/guardians is going to be treasured and more than likely kept.
3. End of the school year activities
Here are a few ideas to enjoy the end of the school year with your students.
-Play minute to win it games (visit my blog post of 21 Classroom Games (Minute to Win It) for some easy ideas)
-Have a "themed party" (e.g. dessert theme, only one color of snacks/food, reference something in pop culture, use a character or a book you read, dress up fancy, have a bake-off with the students or other teachers)
-Make a craft (some ideas: bracelets, paint a small canvas with quotes, coloring contest, tye-die shirts, and remember Pinterest is your friend)
-Plant flowers around your school
-Decorate the sidewalks with chalk
-Leave messages on students' lockers
-Have a school-wide spirit week
-Go outside as much as possible just because
-Have students write a thank you note to a teacher
-Give a special student shoutout each day
-Make a memory jar together and have each person share a memory from the year
-Create a class photo collage with each student
-Bring in a guest speaker
-Hide candy/treasures in your classroom for students to find (or hide them outside)
-Go on a nature hike (see who can collect the best items)
-Take your students to sing around the school (this could be fun to do for admin or other faculty)
-Play fun Kahoots with prizes
-Paint a mural
-Watch a movie YOU love and your students have never seen
-Have a rap battle (put on a beat and see what they come up with--school appropriate) -Project Just Dance on your screen (there are a bunch on YouTube)
-Sing karaoke (again, just search on YouTube)
-Take a group photo
4. End of the school year quotes
Here are some quotes to use for graduates/end of the school year. There are so many more you could add to this list, but I hope this is just a starting point. Another idea instead of quotes is to use poems. I saw someone say once they gave each student a poem that reminded them of the student.
This above all: To thine own self be true. —William Shakespeare
What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. —Nelson Mandela
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. —Eleanor Roosevelt
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. —Steve Jobs
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. —Malcolm X
The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. —B.B. King
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. —Beverly Stills
The best way to predict your future is to create it. —Abraham Lincoln
In a world where you can be anything, be kind. —Jennifer Dukes Lee
5. Songs for the end of the school year
Below is a playlist of some goodbye-themed songs. I created this playlist, so I made sure they are all school-appropriate. You could put one song at the end of each class period for the last 10 days. You could also use these in between classes. I know some schools play music over the speakers while students change classes. Click the link to access this End of School Year Playlist.
Also, I have a Spotify playlist for Classroom Games if you need one of those.
I will leave you with a few memes I have created. If you did not know, The Office is one of my favorite shows. I find the show is full of moments just waiting to be made into a teaching meme. You could always slap these up on a bulletin board in the teacher's lounge for an end-of-the-school-year bulletin board idea or email a coworker. Enjoy! :)