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5 Activities for the Last Day of School

5 Activities for the Last Day of School

Although it may seem trivial, the last day of school can be a challenge. The work of the school year is (probably) done, and students (mistakenly) believe summer has already started. That can lead to wayward behaviors if you can’t keep students occupied. If you fall into this category and feel that using a movie would be mailing it in, here are some ideas to make the last day as fruitful as the other 175-plus days.

This year’s newspaper

Reflection is often a popular activity toward the end of the school year, with surveys and scrapbooks taking precedence. As a riff on that theme, task students with creating a newspaper of the major events of the school year, both within the classroom and outside of it. These newspapers can be as complicated as your resources and time allow. They can also be solo pursuits or require the whole class to work together.

Last-day charades

Another reflective activity, playing last-day charades provides an opportunity for students to act out memorable moments and memories from the school year without speaking. There shouldn’t be any need to make it competitive, but some treats can be used if they will help keep the students’ attention.

Letters to their successors

Students have records that follow them from grade to grade, but there is very little to prepare students for their new teachers. Ask your students to write introductory letters to next year’s students, telling them all about what to expect from you and the year in class. To make the practice more authentic, have students address their letters to future students with which they have something in common, like a first initial or birth month, then distribute the letters to next year’s students with those traits.

Found poetry

Found poetry is the practice of creating a poetic work by blacking out everything from a printed page except the words you want to be read. The products end up looking like redacted evidence from a court case and can be a great way to reuse some papers from the classroom that you would have been getting rid of anyway. The theme everyone needs to cover can be the school year, their plans for the summer, or anything else. Add some extra challenge by having students’ poems fit a form, like a haiku. This activity works for any subject area because reading materials are available that are no longer needed, and this has the added benefit of featuring subject-specific vocabulary.

Classroom cleanout raffle

The end of every school year includes the process of preparing the classroom for the next one, whether that just means some early summer cleaning or preparing to move to another room altogether. Instead of everyone fighting for your castoffs, hold a raffle for anything of value, with students earning tickets through academic performance, game rewards, or good behavior. Oddly, students will attach more meaning to something they win rather than gather for free.

Looking for more ways to keep your students learning all summer? Explore our FREE Summer Planning & Success Toolkit for free worksheets, printables, best practices, and more!

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This post was originally published June 2018 and has been updated.