10 End-of-Year Activities
May 2016, Volume 39, Issue 9
As the school year winds down and kids’ minds wander to thoughts of summer vacation, it’s tempting to let fun and relaxation trump substantive lesson plans. However, learning still can and should occur during the last few days of class. Providing real closure at the end of the year gives students space to reflect on what they’ve learned, and encourages them to start their next year proud of their accomplishments. Plus, there’s no reason that last lessons can’t be fun and engaging as well as focused and meaningful. Share these 10 end-of-year activities with your teachers to ensure students make the most of their final days in school.
Think-pair-share: First, asked students to think individually about a question. Then, help students form teams of two, in which they take turns expressing their thoughts to their partner. Next, pairs report their discussion to classmates—perhaps to other pairs, or the whole class. Try having team members report their partner’s answers rather their own—a technique that promotes listening skills and prevents students’ fears of appearing boastful.
3-2-1: On a note card, students write down three units/topics they enjoyed the most during the year; two questions they have about a topic; and one thing they want to learn more about in the future. These ideas can be incorporated into an art project for students to take home.
Final Journal Entry: Have students read through the journals they have kept throughout the course. Then, students can write a final entry about of what they learned.
Photo Journal: Students can create a photo journal of the year’s academic progress to share with the class.
Postcards/Letters: Have students write a postcard or letter to students in a younger class describing the topics presented that year. If time allows, have them personally deliver the letters and spend time sharing about learning between grade levels.
Recipe Card: Create a “recipe for success” to give to the next group of students.
Doodles: Students can sketch or draw three concepts they learned over the year and describe their doodles to the class.
Gallery Walk: Students can create a graphic organizer or infographic to represent their learning. Students then post the graphics on the wall for other students to view.
What’s Inside: This can be done individually, with a partner or in small groups. Students get a sealed envelope that contains a slip of paper with a topic, vocabulary word, or problem. Students then have to explain, describe, or solve the contents of the envelope.
Self-Assessment: Have students describe their sense of progress towards understanding by answering reflective questions about their work.
Adapted from “Closure: The Case for Engaging End-of-Year Activities.” Communicator, March 2015.
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