Elementary School Teachers: Top 10 Ways to Wrap Up the Academic Year

children running out of schoolIt’s hard to believe — it’s almost the end of another school year! The close of another academic year is bittersweet. After all, you’re so proud of all that your students have achieved and you’re happy to see them move forward, yet on the other hand, boy are you going to miss them!

Before you get your tissues out and part ways for the summer, check out this list of ideas to help ease the transition for you and your students, and fill those last few days with smiles and memories that will last a lifetime.

  1. Write each student a note. Here’s your opportunity to tell each student why he or she made this year invaluable to you. Write a short handwritten note that focuses on the positive traits of each child. Spend time considering the learning, development, and growth of each child over the course of the year. Perhaps this accompanies their report card home bringing attention that, although grades matter, the whole person is also important!
  2. Reiterate to parents that you care. Use the last few days of school as an opportunity to communicate with parents about their child’s learning one last time. Offer guidelines on how they can work with their child to bridge the summer gap in formal academic learning. This is a great way to show them that you are invested in their child and end the school year on a positive note.
  3. Hold a fun award ceremony. This is a sure-fire way to make each student feel special. Create an award that recognizes each student individually. Need ideas? We love this list of 50 Nifty End of the Year Awards from Teach, Train, Love.
  4. Put together a video or slideshow of photographs. You don’t have to be a professional videographer to put together a short memory video of your class. Sites and apps like Vimeo, Smilebox, or Photo Slideshow Director are very easy to use. Gather pictures and make sure to include everyone in the class. You can show the video on the last day of class and gift a copy to each student.
  5. Write a top 10 list. Gather your students into small groups and have them discuss the top 10 moments of the school year. They can also include the top things that they enjoyed learning. Have each group present their memories to the rest of the class. You may even want to take votes to rank the memories. There is sure to be a lot of laughing and reminiscing!
  6. Welcome the incoming class. Students are very excited to be moving up to the next grade. They can share their excitement by writing a letter to the students of next year’s class. Tell them to share a piece of advice or tell new students some of the things they can expect and look forward to! Hold onto these letters over the summer and present them to your incoming class in the fall.
  7. Ease fears of moving up. Help students feel less anxious about moving up to the next grade level by sharing with them what they can expect. Here are some ideas:
    • Meet and greet their new teacher(s).
    • If the next grade level is in the same school, show the students where the classrooms are located.
    • Provide an overview of new subject and units or what they’ll be focusing on learning next year. Maybe it’s learning cursive, starting a second language or discovering outer space! Whatever it is, highlight all of the new, fun, and interesting things coming next.
  8. Schedule an exit interview with each student. Schedule 10-15 minutes to discuss your student’s thoughts on learning, likes, dislikes, and what he/she thinks about moving up to the next grade.
  9. Dear future self. Ask students write a note to their (fill in the next grade) self. Give them a few prompts or ideas of what to write, have them seal the note and tell them to open it and read it the day before the first day of school or in a year from now.
  10. Celebrate! Ice cream sundaes, popsicles, or pizza party anyone? A small celebration with some educational games (perhaps a class trivia game) is a great way to wrap up the school year. Everyone will love the opportunity to relax and enjoy the last few moments as a group.

What’s on your list to help close the school year?

Share your ideas with our community of teachers in the comments section below.

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