The end of the year can be chaotic, to say the least. Not only are there a ton of things that have to be done, but the schedule gets turned upside down with assemblies, award ceremonies, field day… Not to mention, spring fever is in full force and even the best students turn into little wiggle worms with all the excitement that the last month brings.
No doubt about it, the end of the year is a busy time. This post is going to focus on some tips on how to make this your best end of year season yet.
Don’t Call It Quits Too Soon
Yes, the end of the year is a fun time. Sure, you’ll need to be flexible with schedule changes, special events, and all of the end of year fun, but students need consistency and structure. It’s important to avoid the temptation to call it quits too soon.
Keeping your decor up and your classroom routines in place will help your students know that they are still in school. Keep your classroom routines in place and your days filled with engaging lessons. Sticking to the structure you’ve already created helps your students know the expectations you’ve established are still in place. It’s also comforting for any students who might be anxious about the end of the year.
Embrace the Energy
Ever heard the saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them?”
Your kids are going to get the wiggles. Spring fever will hit. It’s just part of the end of year chaos. Don’t fight it. Embrace it.
This is the perfect time to build a little extra activity into the day. Some of my favorite activities for this time of year are…
- Practicing spelling words with sidewalk chalk
- Turning flashcards or task cards into a relay race (Split the class into groups. Have one person from each group race to get a card to solve with their group.)
- STEM challenges
- Art activities
- Working outside with clipboards
- Get together with your teammates to rotate kids through different science experiments
- Break out the learning games
Encourage Better Behavior
It’s no secret that kids can get a little over energetic this time of year. Plan to bump up your efforts to encourage good behavior.
Review your expectations frequently and put extra effort into noticing good behavior.
- Try working toward some new whole class rewards.
- Write a quick card to a few kids who are doing a great job. Leave the cards on their desks.
- Bust out the sticker charts, pass out some behavior awards, or extend recess when your kiddos are on point.
Being comfortable makes teaching a lot more pleasant. You’re probably going to doing more physical activity and spending more time outside at the end of the year than you usually do. It just makes sense to be comfortable.
- Dress in clothes that work well for physical activity.
- Wear comfy shoes.
- Layer it up. (The hotter it was outside, the colder the AC always seemed to be.)
- Have a pick me up stash. (I kept chocolate, coins for a soda, a pair of sandals, etc. in my desk for those days when I just needed a boost.)
Reflect And Celebrate
The end of the year is always bittersweet. There’s the excitement of summer break, but also the sadness of letting go of the kids you’ve come to love. It’s a great time to reflect on the year and to celebrate your students’ growth.
Memory books are a great end of year activity. Not only do they encourage your students to reflect on the year, but they also let you see what your students identify as the year’s highlights. Plus, memory books are great time fillers for those odd little patches of time that pop up when the schedule gets changed.
Prepare for Down Time
End of year festivities like field day, assemblies, cultural arts day, and field trips can lead to some awkward schedule gaps.
If you’ve ever been told to wait for the office to buzz you before bringing your class to an assembly, you know that it can be hard to plan for these odd gaps. It could be 5 minutes or 30 minutes.
An end of year packet of time fillers can be a sanity saver for situations like this. Students can keep them in their desks to work on whenever there is time to fill.
Let Your Kids Help
Most kids love helping and letting your kids help get your room ready to be packed up can save you a lot of time. Of course, in order for your kiddos to be effective, they will need clear directions and small tasks.
That’s where these popsicle stick tasks come in. Grab two cups and a bunch of thick popsicle sticks. Write a task on each stick and let a few kids pull a job to do whenever there is time. When the job is done, just move the stick to the other cup. You can customize the sticks with whatever jobs you feel your class can handle.
Prep for Next Year
Now, this last time isn’t exactly about making the end of your year smoother, but it will help you be ready for the start of the year. And, I don’t know about you, but I always find it easier to relax and enjoy the summer when I feel prepared for the next year.
If you know what you’re teaching next year, go ahead and plan out the first week of school. Make your copies now. Make copies of any papers you want to use for meet and greet, copy any back to school forms you want parents to fill out, first week assessments, coloring sheets, first day activities, etc.
It’s also a great time to print and laminate any decor items if you’re changing your classroom theme. The laminator is rarely busy during the last week or two. You don’t have to cut it out now, just pack it up to cut out at your convenience over the summer. (You can always add student names on top of the lamination with a permanent marker later.)
Want the Free End of Year Activity Pages?
Want More Sanity-Saving End of Year Resources?
These are my go-to recommended resources for the end of the year.
Click on the links to find out more.
- Editable End of Year Awards – 99 editable awards make whipping up your classroom awards a breeze. Plenty of options make it easy to find an award to celebrate each child.
- End of Year Memory Book – This book is great for recording memories as the year winds down. It’s a great alternative for students who may not get a yearbook.
- Almost Free Classroom Rewards – Sadly, our students often hear they aren’t smart enough, they’re not special, they can’t… But, we have the opportunity to lift them up with encouragement. It doesn’t take a lot to encourage our students. Praise is free and rewards can be free or cheap too. Check out ideas for free and cheap classroom rewards in this blog post.
Grab the Checklists Now!
- Completely editable!
- Designed for teachers!
- Type & print!