Are students counting the days until school is out for the year? Distractions like these certainly do not motivate students to learn. So, what can you do to make sure your classroom keeps running until the last day?
Your students are marking those days until there is no more reading or assignments. Developing learning activities to motivate students to continue learning is not an easy task. Besides having a set of projects to support your students, take the time to reflect the lessons that worked or not.
Early Years End of School Activities
By now, you probably know that young learners develop language skills through hands-on experiences. Aside from the usual modeling clay, sand, and textile materials, refine those motor skills by using finger paint or scissors.
Strengthen Fine Motor Skills
Holding a writing tool is an essential learning skill. Young learners need to practice to master that skill by the time they enter first and second grade. Encourage writing practice by cutting letters, sight words, numbers, days of the week, and months. Use old magazines, newspapers, or print out items on construction paper.
The fun part is to have students seek their first name letter. Then, cut the letter from several materials. Once you have the first letter of each student, tie each letter in a big banner.
Next, place the banner near the board or bulletin board to remind students of the hard work throughout the school year.
Create Before-and-After Booklets
Perhaps, you do this every year. Take a picture of each student at the beginning of the year and towards the end of the year. Then, throughout the year, collect pieces of writing or spectacular drawing or sketches.
Next, make a cover for the booklets by printing name, grade, and your name on the front. Once you have a collection of items, select an appropriate day to assemble the booklets. Send these memories home for parents to cherish for years to come.
Along with these adorable mementos, use the end of the year awards to recognize hard work and achievements in the class. Select either an English or a Spanish version of this award to present at ceremonies or on the last day of school.
Build Yearlong Growth with Finger-paint
Similar to the booklets, use finger-paint to make impressions of each students’ hands. You might want to do this activity at the beginning of the school year so that you can see the growth throughout the year. However, performing this activity at the end of the school year is fine, too.
First, gather construction paper large enough to make imprints of students’ hands. If you do not have construction paper, choose materials that will hold the paint and not pass through like butcher paper or waterproof paper plates. Avoid notebook or print paper.
Next, set a station of paints with two or three different colors. In this way, children can choose their favorite color. Place colors in a tray or paper plate. Gently take each students’ hands and place it in the paint.
Then, transfer the imprint onto the paper. Set the papers to dry or hang them using a clothespin. After that, ask children to write letters, numbers or spell out words about the last day of school. This moment can also show a time to reflect on how much they have learned throughout the year.
Upper-Level End of School Year Activities
Showing movies or documentaries is perhaps not the most memorable way to end the school year. Even secondary students need the motivation to continue learning until the last day of school.
Most likely, many secondary students, in middle and high school, will take final semester exams towards the end of the semester. So, learning is the last thing secondary students think about during this time.
Class Digital Presentations
With careful planning and organization, develop a project-based lesson summarizing critical points of the semester. Then, ask students to create a presentation using slide type format.
Ideally, prepare students for the presentations with samples, previous students’ works, and rubrics. Once students complete the projects, select times where a group of students presents their work to the class.
Graphic Novel Projects
While many students are comfortable with navigating PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations, other students prefer sketching or drawing. Integrate language learning skills with creative components like comic-strip formats. These comic strips can quickly produce graphic novels.
Successful graphic novel projects entail careful planning. Make sure you establish clear and concise guidelines with templates, rubrics, and samples.
Aside from presentations and comic-strip projects, students also prefer video animation. Similar to creating videos of interviews or monologues, digital animation explores ways students can express their creativity. For instance, students use digital platforms like PowToon and Moovly to create animated cartoons to tell a story or show a concept they learned.
With many of these digital platforms, students’ imagination is endless. They can create videos, short clips, or animated stories that describe what they have learned with pictures more than words. As mentioned before, be ready with guidelines, templates, rubrics, and previous students’ work as a sample to motivate students.
Then, have fun listening to the different creations. Other digital animation platforms are Haiku Deck and Animation Paper.
Final Considerations for End of the School Year Activities
End of the school year activities does not have to involve just counting the days until school is over. Keep the learning momentum going. Use simple and hands-on learning activities for young learners to summarize and review what they learned throughout the year.
For older students, use this time to not only reflect but facilitate projects that can deepen the understanding of many topics learned throughout the semester. As with many projects, make sure to choose a day that all students are in class to minimize repeating instructions.
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