It has been a strange end to the school year of 2019-20, hasn’t it?
In “normal” years, we spend the last week to ten days of school doing various activities that help to celebrate the end of our year together.
This is not a “normal” year. So today I’m sharing some fun end of year activities you can do with your class, virtually.
Virtual memory book options
*Make a digital memory book! HERE is a template for our fifth-grade memory book. You can make a copy and edit for your own grade level and needs.
*Here is a link to a Distance Learning memory book option from Not So Wimpy Teacher on Teachers Pay Teachers and another option from Teach Create Motivate.
Keep reading, writing, researching, and doing math together
*HERE are some fun writing prompts I am going to post in Google Classroom as extension writing activities.
*If you’re looking for a good math project, Jennifer Findley’s Extreme Playground Makeover looks like an engaging way to review geometry terms!
*Jennifer Findley also has an inexpensive math resource in Teachers Pay Teachers with several great review math activities for upper elementary grades.
*This post from Jennifer Findley explains how she gets her students engaged and motivated for the next grade level’s learning. While looking forward to new learning is always a great thing to do, it might be especially important this year as we want to keep our students excited about the year ahead instead of focusing on what they missed out on this year.
Remind your students of the importance of relationships
*Make a Padlet wall for each student with the focus question “What do you like about . . . ?”. Send one Padlet wall link to your students daily (through email or post in Google Classroom). Then each student can add brief notes or stories about the focus student. You can print these Padlets and either email or snail mail them to your students.
*Here is another great idea from Ashleigh on her Ashleigh’s Education Journey blog! I love the way she collects input from her students but then creates a special and memorable gift for each child. This would take more time, but it would be such a great keepsake for kids (and parents).
*Have your students interview each other about the school year and put those interviews together. Some interview question options:
~what are your favorite memories?
~what were some funny things that happened this year?
~what will you always remember? (I bet I can guess one answer to this question!)
~what did you love about this class?
~what did you love about this grade?
~what was your favorite field trip and why?
~what were some favorite books you read or heard this year?
This is another good idea for having your students interact with each other.
*If you like to present awards to your students at the end of the year, try this distance learning selfie awards activity. This looks like a super cute way to acknowledge the challenges and successes of distance learning!
Do some collaborative projects together
*Ashleigh also describes her End of Year Escape, which she has converted to digital form. It looks really fun! It’s also a great way to have your students working together, especially at this time when everyone is feeling even more isolated.
*Have your students make book recommendations on Flip Grid or Voice Thread so they can be shared with other students. You might allow students to work together on these or to add comments to each other’s recommendations.
Teaching with Jennifer Findley website is a terrific resource. She recently posted several great digital resources for the end of the school year. And they are all free!
*Collaborative class book – I love this idea because your students create the book together. This helps mitigate some of those feelings of being isolated from each other.
*I also love her A to Z memory book, which would be another great collaborative end of year writing project for your students.
Have fun together
*Try this ABC countdown to summer, which has been modified to be appropriate for distance learning. This looks like a great way to keep kids connected to you and to each other in a fun way.
*Take a virtual field trip together! See my list of possibilities HERE.
*Have a virtual field day! Here is another option on Teachers Pay Teachers.
*Host an end of the year talent show on Zoom or Google Meet. Other options are sharing your pet or sharing something you made or created.
*Jennifer Findley’s making ice cream in a bag would be an awesome activity to do if you were in the classroom. Depending upon your student’s home resources, this may be a fun activity to do together virtually, or to suggest to parents for a summer activity.
*On the last day of school, have one last meeting together but make it a virtual picnic! Have kids bring a blanket or towel and some snacks. Just sit and eat and talk and enjoy the last bit of your school year together.
Options for inexpensive gifts to send to your students
We have to bag up our students’ “stuff” for parents to pick up at school. We are thinking about good inexpensive gift options to include in the bags, along with a note from us.
Here are some options we are considering:
*we love these magnetic bookmarks with inspirational sayings!
*sunglasses with a note that says, “Have a bright summer!”
*crazy straws with a note that says, “I’m going to miss you like crazy!”
a bouquet of three freeze pops with a note that says, “you are super cool!”
*a pack of chocolate chip cookies with a note that says “You are one smart cookie! Congratulations!”
*inflatable beach balls with a note that says, “have a ball this summer!”
*emoji beach balls are fun too!
*bubble wands with a note that says, “you blew me away this year!”
*bouncy balls with a note that says, “I’ve had a ball with you this year!”
*water bottles in your school colors
*slime never gets old for kids!
*squishies are also quite popular!
Get your students’ feedback on the year
*Since the ending to this school year was so abnormal, it would be helpful to get your students’ perspectives on distance learning. God forbid that we will be in this situation again, but in case we are, I would like to know what my students found to be helpful and how we could be better prepared. Ashleigh from Ashleigh’s Education Journey has an End of Year reflection Google form for distance learning.
*Consider giving your students a Google Form with feedback for you from the year. (“EOG” stands for “End of Grade,” which is the name of our state test.)
Reflect on your year together
*This one takes a little bit of time but is well worth it. Create a slideshow of pictures taken of your students throughout the year. Our school technology facilitator does this for the entire fifth grade and it is a highlight of our graduation ceremony. This year, it will be shown virtually. But a slide show of your own class or of any grade level makes for a special event. Setting it to music makes it even more powerful which you can do with tools like Animoto or Slide.ly.
*Ask your students to select an appropriate “theme song” for your class this year. Put the songs together in a Google slides presentation (here’s our assignment) and/or compile the songs into a Spotify playlist.
*Have your students write a six-word memoir on their own slide of a class Google Presentation.
*Write haiku or acrostic poems about the class or about the year. They could share these during a Google Meet or Zoom meeting. Another option would be to put them together as a Google Presentation.
*I love Jennifer Findley’s End of Year reflection prompts found HERE. These can be used in a variety of ways. I plan to give my students a choice of two or three prompts a day and let them respond on a Padlet wall (if it’s a prompt where it’s fun to see others’ responses) or using Jennifer’s Google Slides format.
*Ask your students to write letters of appreciation to other people in the school – other teachers, resource staff, custodians, lunchroom staff, etc. They could write these letters on Google docs so that you have editing rights. You can then send these letters on to the appropriate staff member. These are always greatly appreciated.
*Write a letter of advice to a future student in your grade level. You could also ask students to do this on a Google slide and create a presentation to show next year’s students.
*Closing Thoughts on COVID-19 would be another good reflective end of year activity related to distance learning.
This has been a year unlike any other. Connecting with our students, reminding them of all the good things about the year, and sending them off to the next grade with good memories of this year are the best things to do at the end of any school year, but especially this year. I hope you found a few ideas that will work for you and your class!
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