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Last Day of School Activities

Celebrate the End of Another School Year with These Fun Little Lessons

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On the last day of school, the kids have mentally checked out, the teachers aren't far behind, and there's no more time for long-term projects. But, we still need to fill the day with something productive in order to keep the natives from getting ridiculously restless and out of line.

If you're wondering how to organize the last day of the school year so that it's as fun and memorable as possible, consider these ideas:

  • Write a Letter to Next Year's Students - Ask your students to write a letter to the students you will teach next year. The kids can offer tips for success in your classroom, favorite memories, inside jokes, anything that a new student in your room might need or want to know. You'll get a kick out of seeing what the kids remember and how they perceive you and your classroom. And, you have a ready-made activity for the first day of school next year!
  • Make a Memory Book - Design a simple little book for the kids to fill out on the last day(s) of school. Include sections for my favorite memory, a self-portrait, autographs, what I learned, a drawing of the classroom, etc. Get creative and your students will appreciate a memory book of their year in your room.
  • Clean, clean, clean! - Use the power of youthful energy and elbow grease to lessen the cleaning load you face in closing down your classroom. Kids will love to scrub desks, take down posters, straighten up books, whatever you ask them to do! Write all of the tasks on index cards, pass them out, turn up the music, and supervise. A cute idea is to play The Coasters' "Yakety Yak" while they clean. It sings, "Take out the papers and the trash, or you don't get no spending cash!" Dare them to finish their jobs before the song is over.
  • Assign Impromptu Speeches - Think of 20 quick speech topics and have the kids choose them from a jar. Give them just a few minutes to prepare mentally and then call them up for spur-of-the-moment speeches. Fun topics include "Convince us to buy the shirt you are wearing now" or "How would the school be different if you were principal?" Click here for a complete list of topics. The audience loves to watch and the speakers will love getting creative in front of the class.
  • Play Outdoor Games - Dust off that outdoor games book that you never had time to use this year and pick a few activities for the last day of school. A great choice is Guy Bailey's The Ultimate Playground and Recess Game Book. The kids will be antsy anyways so you might as well put their energy and excitement to good use.
  • Organize Learning Game Centers - The children won't even realize they're learning. Pool together all of the educational games in your classroom. Split the class into small groups and designate centers in the room for each game. Set the timer and give each group a certain amount of time with each game. Give the signal and then the groups rotate around the room so everyone gets a chance to play all of the games.
  • Focus on Next Year - Give the kids time to write, draw, or discuss how things will be different in the next grade level. For example, third graders will love to imagine what they will learn, look like, act like, and feel like when they are finally in the world of fourth grade! It's only a year but to them it seems a universe away!
  • Hold a Spelling Bee - Hold a traditional Spelling Bee using all of the spelling words from the whole school year. This one can take quite awhile, but it's certainly educational!
  • Go Back to Back - Use a safety pin to attach a large index card or thicker piece of paper to each child's back. Then, the kids go around and write nice comments and memories on each other's backs. When you're all done, each child gets to keep his or her note with compliments and fun times written on it. Teachers, you can jump in, too! You just might have to bend down so that they can reach your back!
  • Write Thank You Notes - Teach your children to recognize and appreciate those individuals who helped make them successful this school year - the principal, secretary, food service workers, librarian, parent volunteers, even the teacher next door! This may be a good project to start a few days before the last day of school, so that you can really do it right.
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