As the end of the school year approaches, you’ll want to celebrate and review the year with your pupils, marking the end of another important year of learning and to say goodbye. However, making this time meaningful can be difficult as your pupils get excited for the summer holidays and lose focus during the wind-down of the year. We’ve put together a few ways that you can keep your pupils engaged and learning during these last few weeks of term that will leave you and your pupils feeling that the year has been properly concluded.
One of the most popular ways to send off your pupils is to host an end-of-year awards ceremony where you give each student their own award for one of their unique strengths. This could be “most helpful”, “best laugh”, “most likely to become a footballer” – whatever makes the children in your class special! Avoid “awards” that could damage self-esteem or create a negative self-fulfilling prophecy (such as “most likely to give next year’s teacher a headache” or even “tallest” – no one wants to be singled out, even if done in jest).
It can be difficult to think of something for everyone on short notice, so start planning this activity a week or so in advance – observing your pupils will help to give you ideas!
As the weather gets nicer, your pupils (and the teachers) will want to be outside, and there’s no reason not to do just that! You can arrange an end-of-year picnic where every pupil brings an item of food and you can sit outside and evaluate the year.
This is a good time to find out what students have learned throughout the year, what their favourite lessons were, what they found most challenging, or even what they’ll miss the most about their teacher!
Students can also use outdoors lesson time to write about what their summer plans are, write a poem, or do an end-of-year-inspired drawing or collage. Outdoor lessons are a great way to sneak in a bit of last-minute learning.
You can use the last weeks of the school year to revisit the learning that took place in a fun and creative way. You can recap history, for example, by letting pupils create a comic-strip set in the period you have studied during the year; make or demonstrate models based on previous geography subjects; set up an interactive science experiment; watch a film adaptation of literature you’ve studied; create a pop quiz with fun prizes; or any number of other activities designed to remind your pupils of lessons gone by. By summarising the year in this way you will help to cement the topics covered during the year in your pupils’ minds.
Especially if your pupils are school-leavers, you can use the end of the year to let the pupils say goodbye to each other and their school in a collaborative and artistic way. Creating large-scale art work together, either to celebrate themselves as a class, or a particular subject they enjoyed, is a great way to remind the children of their time together, and that their learning was a group effort rather than an individual one – an important reminder after the SATs tests!
Other group projects could be creating a song together, a story, or even a board game. Doing fun group projects is all about building memories together as well as confidence for the next year.
Another great way to say goodbye is to have the students work on something that they can all take home with them. This is a great time to have fun with crafts!
Pupils can each create their own “Year Book” that can be passed around the class for people to write compliments or memories about the person. Materials like glitter, card, and other craft products can be used to decorate the year books in ways that express each pupil. Many pupils will keep these year books for years and even decades to come, as a memory of their school years.
If you use the awards idea earlier in this post, laminate them to make sure these mementos last long after your pupils have left the year. Similarly, some teachers write a letter to their whole class and give a laminated copy to each student before they leave as a goodbye that will be remembered long past the last ring of the bell.
These activities make for great exercises to wrap up the year, and for both you and your pupils to move on to the next chapter of your school lives with a fresh and positive attitude. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the summer!
The summer holidays are undeniably one of the best perks of teaching...
The summer holidays are undeniably one of the best perks of teaching – no matter how much you profess to…